Vaio SX14 assessment
The Vaio model was once one of many largest laptop computer names round earlier than Sony unexpectedly exited the market in 2014. That wasn’t the top for Vaio, although. The enterprise was bought to a Japanese firm, and Vaio machines have been bought in Japan ever since – alongside occasional forays into Brazil and America.
It is taken till now for Vaio to make a European comeback. The agency is diving again into public consciousness with a brand new laptop computer, the SX14, which has loads of expectation on its shoulders – regardless of a weight of only a kilogram.
Value & Availability
The are quite a few Vaio SX14 fashions obtainable, and for the time being there’s not a lot in the way in which of choices apart from buying instantly from Vaio. Within the US, you will discover the laptop computer on Amazon and within the UK it is obtainable from Scan.
The most affordable model prices £1,699 and features a Core i5 CPU with a 256GB SSD, 8GB of reminiscence and a 1080p display. It’s not potential to purchase the Core i5 mannequin with a 4K display. Oddly, this identical mannequin within the US is simply $1,299 which is a lot better worth and is $999 by way of the above Amazon hyperlink on the time of writing.
If you would like the mannequin reviewed right here, with a Core i7 CPU and the identical 1080p display, it’ll price £2,149. And, if you wish to improve that machine to 4K, it’ll be £2,249. Within the US, the fashions are completely different with a complete of 4 skus to select from, not together with colors, with the SSD going to 1TB at $2,199, though an additional $100 if you’d like the shiny crimson color.
Each machines can be found in brown, black and silver, and all fashions have a two-year collect-and-return guarantee. The crimson mannequin appears unique to the US market.
The Dell XPS 13 and Huawei MateBook X Professional (2018) are the Vaio’s key opponents – they usually’re each cheaper. If you wish to replicate the Vaio’s specification in a Dell XPS 13, it’ll price £1,549 with a Full HD display or £1,649 with a 4K panel. The Huawei is available in at £1,499. Then there’s the Asus ZenBook 14 which is simply £1,199.
Take a look at our chart of one of the best laptops you should purchase.
Design & Construct
Vaio laptops all the time appeared good, and the SX14 is not any exception. The mannequin we have reviewed makes use of Vaio’s copper brown end, and it is obtained refined, minimal design all through – so it’s going to match into probably the most trendy of places of work. The facility button is a tiny slot of sunshine, and the Vaio emblem on the lid is sensible.
Nearer examination reveals attention-grabbing design touches. The lid of the laptop computer is bigger than the bottom, as an example. That gives a lip on the entrance that makes it simpler to open. And, when the gadget is open, the rear part of the display extends downwards, which elevates the again half of the machine. This pitches the keyboard ahead a bit of, enhancing the typing place.
It is good, satisfying design, and the Vaio continues to impress. Many of the base and lid are comprised of carbon-fibre, with aluminium used for the wrist-rest. The reliance on carbon-fibre signifies that the Vaio solely ideas the scales at 1.01kg, and it’s 17.8mm skinny on the thickest level.
That weight is spectacular, even when in comparison with extra established rivals. The Dell XPS 13 is available in at 1.23kg, and the Huawei Matebook X Professional sits at 1.33kg.
The lighter weight undoubtedly seems good on the spec sheet, however in actuality it’s just a few hundred grams of distinction – not a life-changing quantity. Equally, the Vaio’s thickness of 17.8mm is a few millimetres greater than each of these rivals, however there’s not a lot in it.
The Vaio’s tiny weight means it feels disarmingly gentle – virtually prefer it’s hole, and that it could be straightforward to interrupt.
Nevertheless, hands-on testing reveals sturdy construct high quality. There’s hardly any give within the carbon-fibre and aluminium base. The display flexes a bit of, however that is to be anticipated, and the fabric by no means feels flimsy.
We might nonetheless retailer the Vaio in a sleeve when taking it out of the home, however we might do this for any costly, light-weight laptop computer – if solely to protect the end. However now we have no considerations in regards to the SX14 being robust sufficient to outlive life on the street.
Keyboard & Trackpad
The Vaio is a slim laptop computer, which implies the inevitable chiclet keyboard. It has an affordable quantity of journey contemplating the scale, and the buttons are gentle, quick and constant. The Vaio’s design additionally helps by pitching the keyboard in the direction of the person as talked about above.
These attributes make for a satisfying typing expertise, and we actually had no issues getting on top of things. You may get used to most keyboards after some time.
There’s a tad extra journey right here than on the Dell XPS 13, however there’s little or no in it – each keyboards are quick, shallow and satisfying. We favor them each to the Huawei Matebook, which feels a bit of clunkier.
The Vaio’s keys are actually giant sufficient, and their secondary capabilities are illustrated clearly. Nevertheless, the keyboard does have inconsistencies. The return-key is an ungainly single-height button, and there is not any numberpad. The cursor keys are small, and the backlight cannot be manually turned on or off, which is uncommon.
The trackpad is inconsistent. Its floor is responsive and has full gesture assist, but it surely’s tiny – far smaller than the pads on rival machines. That makes it tough to make use of, particularly with gestures.
The 2 discreet buttons are gentle and straightforward to make use of, however they take additional house away from the trackpad – they usually’re simply not as slick because the built-in buttons included on different machines.
The trackpad is usable, however its tiny measurement signifies that it is not fairly as intuitive because the on different gadgets.
The SX14 is obtainable with 1080p or 4K IPS screens, with costs various accordingly (see above). Fortunately, each variations of the display have a matte end. They’re 14in in measurement, because the mannequin title suggests.
Our pattern comes with the 1080p display, which is ample for many work – you are solely going to want the elevated decision if you wish to play 4K media or want additional actual property for a number of home windows.
The panel’s brightness measurement of 310cd/m2 is ample, and the black stage of zero.29cd/m2 is first rate. The previous consequence signifies that the display stays punchy and visual open air and below shiny lights, and the latter determine ensures darker areas have good ranges of depth.
These preliminary outcomes create a distinction ratio of 1,068:1. That’s good: excessive sufficient to ship loads of vibrancy. It’s simply sufficient to make movies, pictures and video games look as their makers supposed.
The SX14’s colors are extra strange. The temperature of 6,890Okay and the Delta E of two.96 are fantastic, however neither are wonderful. They preclude the SX14 from getting used for colour-sensitive work. The sRGB protection of 84.9% is barely mediocre, too.
Fortunately, the Vaio’s display is well adequate for less-intensive work and for day-to-day computing due to the stable colors and distinction. This display won’t be adequate for skilled work, but it surely has no main flaws.
The Vaio’s display is actually pretty much as good because the Dell’s panel, and it matches the Huawei for high quality too – even when the latter has crisper photos due to its 3000 x 2000 decision.
Specs & Efficiency
Two completely different SX14 specs can be found within the UK. The mannequin we have reviewed is the beefier of the 2. It deploys a Core i7-8565U processor, which is a low-power mannequin that makes use of Intel’s Whiskey Lake structure.
It is obtained 4 cores with Hyper-Threading, which bodes effectively for day-to-day work and multi-tasking, however its low-power designation signifies that it would not have the grunt to do something extra demanding. It runs at 1.8GHz, with a Turbo peak of four.6GHz.
The Core i7 CPU is paired with 16GB of reminiscence, a 512GB SSD and Intel’s built-in graphics chipset.
The cheaper Vaio fashions can be found with the Core i5-8265U. It is obtained the identical core depend and structure because the Core i7 chip, however lesser inventory and Turbo speeds – it runs at 1.6GHz and three.9GHz. The cheaper mannequin additionally has 8GB of reminiscence and a 256GB SSD alongside the identical built-in graphics.
As talked about within the value part, the skus on supply within the US are a bit of completely different. With the i7 mannequin coming with 256GB of 1TB SSD choices.
When plugged in, the SX14 makes use of its Efficiency mode as customary. On this mode the Vaio delivered a Geekbench rating of 14,397 and a PC Mark 10 results of three,984. That’s near-identical to the Dell, which had the identical elements.
Nevertheless, the Huawei scored 17,160 within the Geekbench multi-core check – no shock when that machine augments the identical elements with an Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU.
The Vaio scored four,651 within the 3D Mark Sky Diver check. That’s on the identical stage because the Dell, however about half the tempo of the Huawei. Under you’ll be able to see the scores, additionally with the Asus ZenBook 14 and MacBook Air the place potential.
Dropping the Vaio right down to its Normal mode didn’t make a lot distinction to CPU pace – its Geekbench rating dropped to 14,337. The GPU pace is clearly reigned in additional right here: in Normal mode the Sky Diver consequence declined to four,230.
In Silence mode, the Vaio’s Geekbench consequence dropped to 13,225 however its Sky Diver consequence was revised to three,464.
These declines drop the Vaio additional behind the Huawei, however they don’t have a huge effect on day-to-day efficiency. Workplace functions and net browsers will run simply in any mode. And, regardless of which mode you choose, video games and media-editing instruments won’t ever run effectively on this machine.
The completely different modes have extra impression on thermal efficiency. In Silence mode, it doesn’t matter what we did, the Vaio lived as much as that mantle. Within the Normal mode, the laptop computer might solely be heard with an ear towards the chassis – a lovely consequence provided that this mode affords sufficient efficiency.
Fan noise was noticeable in Efficiency mode, but it surely was nonetheless fairly quiet, and the modest pace adjustments between the completely different modes imply that this feature received’t have to be used all that usually.
The temperatures had been fantastic in all of these modes, and the Vaio’s exterior by no means grew to become too sizzling.
Connectivity & Audio
The Vaio is slim, gentle and appears good. On prime of that, you get extra port versatility than virtually any rival.
On the right-hand facet the Vaio serves up a full-size USB three.1 Gen 2 port and a USB three.1 Gen 2 Kind-C connector. On this facet you will additionally discover an HDMI output, a Gigabit Ethernet connector and even a VGA port. These two latter connectors are rarer than ever, however necessary for enterprise – the place wired web connections are nonetheless used, and projectors usually require VGA. The best-hand facet additionally has a full-size SD card slot.
On the left-hand facet you will discover two full-size USB three.zero ports alongside an audio jack so this laptop computer bucks the fashionable pattern of needing a dongle.
The Dell XPS 13 has Thunderbolt and USB three.1 Kind-C, however no full-size USB ports, no HDMI output and solely a microSD card slot. If you would like the Vaio’s versatility on that machine, you’re going to be surrounded by dongles.
The Huawei Matebook has Thunderbolt too, but it surely solely has one full-size USB port and no card reader or HDMI.
The Vaio has extra versatility right here, however the port choice is just not flawless. The Kind-C port can be utilized for charging, but it surely’s not fast. And, whereas the 2 USB ports on the right-hand facet of the machine sit alongside the Thunderbolt image, neither of them truly assist this customary.
On the within dual-band wi-fi and Bluetooth four.1 – and a uncommon microSIM slot must you need cellular knowledge like your cellphone.
The audio system are unhealthy. They’re not massively loud, they usually haven’t any bass. The high-end is tinny, and the treble is flat. We’d all the time use headphones.
It is a vital space the place the Vaio falls behind the competitors. The Vaio’s energy pack is a 38Wh unit. The Dell has a 60Wh battery, and the Huawei’s energy pack sits at 57.4Wh.
In our video playback check with the display at 120cd/m2 the Vaio lasted for 9 hours and 36 minutes. That’s virtually two hours behind the Dell, and miles behind the Huawei’s fourteen hours.
That is nonetheless a very good consequence contemplating the burden of this laptop computer, although. You’ll actually get a full day of use out of the Vaio if you happen to’re cautious with the display brightness and don’t push the elements laborious, however it will possibly’t match its opponents and can wrestle to make it via a day if you wish to ramp the display proper up if that is necessary to you.
The Vaio SX14 exhibits promise, however inconsistencies all through imply that this previous model doesn’t make a completely profitable return to the laptop computer market.
It seems good and has spectacular construct high quality, and it weighs lower than its rivals. The keyboard is stable, display high quality is first rate, and there’s sufficient energy to deal with day-to-day computing and work. It’s cool and quiet, too, and has a great deal of ports.
Nevertheless, the Vaio isn’t as fast because the Huawei and its discreet GPU, and its battery life is a bit of behind. The trackpad is hard, and the audio system are poor. The SX14 can also be dearer than both rival.
For those who want a light-weight machine with a very good keyboard and a great deal of ports, then the VIAO might justify its price – however for most individuals the Dell and Huawei machines shall be higher and extra reasonably priced all-rounders.