Sony VAIO Pro review

Design: 6% Keyboard : 7%
Touchpad: 6% Display: 9%
Performance : 7% Battery life: 9%
Software: 8% Overall rating: 0%

You can’t beat the MacBook Air without being insanely thin and light, so Sony made sure the Pros were both. The 13-inch model weighs just 2.34 pounds, and is 0.68 inches thick – it’s exactly as thin as the comparable Air, and more than a half-pound lighter. The 11-inch Pro is equally thin, but weighs an astonishing 1.92 pounds — when I first took it out of its box I hunted for a battery, because I figured there was no way it could be as light as it is. Given everything inside the Pros, from a touchscreen to an impressive set of internal specs, these laptops are incredible feats of engineering.

Thin and light takes a toll, though. Both Pro models feel flimsy and breakable — every time I picked my Pro up by its corner, its carbon fiber body flexed a lot more than I’m comfortable with. The lid gives backward when you tap on the screen; the whole tray moves downward as you type. The problems are far worse on the 11-inch model than the 13 — the 13 flexes a little while the 11 appears to be on the verge of coming apart at all times — but in both cases I have this nagging fear that I’m either going to break off a piece of the computer or accidentally press straight through it and come out the other side. The Air feels much more durable, as does Toshiba’s Kirabook, which is probably the VAIO Pro’s most direct competitor at the moment.

Update: I initially believed there was only one color option for each Pro model. I’ve changed my thoughts here and in the keyboard section (the color affects the keyboard, believe it or not), and changed the score to reflect what’s really going on.

Each size comes in one of two colors, a chrome silver or chrome black. I much prefer the black, not least because it disguises the scratches and dings the laptops seem to pick up very easily. (My silver 11 already looks like my iPhone 5, with tiny blemishes littering its edges.) It’s also just a sleeker, cooler look, with the big reflective VAIO logo shining on the otherwise dark, almost ominous device. The matte keyboard tray and brushed-metal palmrest give it a unique two-toned look I quite like. My review units each have two blue stickers on the palmrest, but Sony says they’ll be black or silver to match your computer — I’d rather them be gone, but at least they’ll match.

The wedge-shaped sides taper toward nothingness, ending in a tiny, sharp corner that digs a bit into your palm as you hold the Pro by its corner. The corners dig into your leg, too, if you use the Pro on your lap — the screen rotates slightly down below the base, propping the keyboard at the slightest of angles, and the sharp corners might either catch your jeans or scrape your bare legs. Between that and the build-quality problems, you’re definitely better off using this laptop on your desk.

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