December 19, 2011
- Slim, attractive design
- USB 3.0 & Bluetooth connectivity
- High-quality 1080p HD display
- USB ports are all on one side
- Mediocre graphics performance
The Sony VAIO S Series (VPCSE13FX/S) has an attractive and portable design that will please most users. While it may not have the best performance out there, it does offer good performance for the money. The 15.5-inch display has excellent quality that makes this laptop one to consider.
The Sony VAIO S Series comes in two colors, black and silver. Our unit was black and we really liked the plain, matte finish that resisted fingerprints. The chassis is thin with squared-off corners to create a fairly simple and minimalist design. In total, it measures 15.0 x 10.1 x 1.0-inches (wdh) and weighs about 4.4-pounds, so it can definitely be considered portable with no hesitation. Our only reservation about the design is the display's hinge, which sticks out slightly and feels cheap.
On the interior, the deck is matte black and surrounds a black Chiclet-style keyboard and a touchpad with two discrete buttons. The backlit keyboard provides a good typing experience with no problems with oddly-placed or sized keys. The touchpad is multitouch enabled and gives you a spacious, smooth surface to work with.
Sony includes a 15.5-inch LED-backlit glossy display with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080-pixels on the Sony VAIO S Series, so it's full 1080p HD. The screen has really great brightness levels and a very crisp image. It has decent viewing angles too, so two people should easily be able to watch a movies without a problem.
In terms of ports, the Sony VAIO S Series has one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI-out, VGA-out, the usual audio ports, gigabit ethernet and two memory card slots (Sony Memory Stick & SD Memory). We applaud Sony for including USB 3.0, but were disappointed when all three USB ports resided on one side of the laptop. This may cause users to feel cramped on one side if they connect many peripherals, especially since the left edge of the laptop has plenty of open space.
The internal specifications of our review unit had a second-generation Intel Core i5-2430M CPU (2.4GHz), 4GB of RAM, a 640GB 5400RPM hard drive and AMD Radeon HD 6470M graphics with 512MB of dedicated video memory. There is also a dual-layer DVD+/-RW optical drive, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and support for Intel's Wi-Di wireless display technology. The graphics system in this laptop is switchable, meaning that it also has integrated Intel graphics in addition to the discrete AMD graphics.
Performance with the Sony VAIO S Series was average or slightly above average. It does not have the fastest processor or the most memory out there, but for most users, it will do the job well. We had no issues streaming HD video from the Internet or doing moderate multitasking.
Despite having switchable graphics, this isn't a graphics powerhouse by any means. If you're looking for a computer to do 3D gaming, look at another computer, particularly a desktop replacement laptop if you want something portable. You can, however, switch graphics systems by pressing a button located above the keyboard. Using the integrated graphics will reduce your performance slightly, but it will extend your battery life by a significant amount.
Battery life is quite good at around 5.5-hours, which is at or slightly above most other 15-inch laptops.