Isn’t she lovely: Sony’s ultra-light VAIO Pro 11 reviewed

The display also measures 11.6 inches, and yet packs in an impressive Full HD resolution of 1920×1080, much higher than the 1366×768 in the 11 inch MacBook Air, and on par – at least from a resolution point of view – with the 11 inch Acer Aspire S7, which won’t actually be available in Australia this year.

As a result of these combined technologies, you’ll find the 11 inch screen here is sharp, bright, and very well balanced, and thanks to the Triluminos technology used in the BRAVIA TVs made by Sony, images look excellent.

In areas with a lot of light, you might find the screen a touch reflective, but it’s an area that can be overlooked as the display is just that bright and easy to look at.

We do think the screen hinge could do with some tightening, as every poke and prod on the touchscreen results in a fair amount of shake, but it’s not a detriment to the operation of the laptop.

Also worth noting is the display which, when opened, raises the slope of the laptop slightly. People who prefer typing on a full flat surface will be a touch disheartened here, but it’s actually quite comfortable with this rise.

Under the hood, there’s a new processor and chipset technology to play with.

Our review model was the Intel Core i5 model clocked at 1.6GHz, which should be more than enough for most people to work with. As such, we didn’t have any problems jumping between apps and running multiple browser tabs, though we’d have taken an increased supply of memory, as 4GB might not do the laptop justice over the course of a couple of years.

Likewise, the 128GB storage should be plenty for most work on the go, but we’re less enamoured with the amount of bloatware on this machine, with only half the storage amount present when you finally switch it on.

The Intel Haswell launch gave us a preview of the new Iris graphics in the new chipset, but that’s one area that hasn’t improved dramatically in this model, with a slight improvement on last year’s HD4000 graphics in the form of HD4400.

We don’t expect the Sony VAIO Pro 11 to be used for loads of gaming, but you probably won’t get an amazing boost here if you choose to.

We’re fans of the decent supply of ports Sony has provided in the tiny 11 inch size, with two USB 3.0, one HDMI, and a combined headphone and microphone jack, with an SD card slot at the very front, a feature Apple doesn’t think is needed on the 11 inch MacBook Air.

The wireless support is also decent here, with Bluetooth 4.0, while the Near-Field Communication sits under a logical place: the trackpad. This makes it easy to pair devices supporting NFC, with a simple wave over the touchpad starting the wireless handshake.

WiFi is also here, though we’re a touch surprised Sony didn’t include the latest communication technology, with no ac support, though 802.11 a/b/g/n is here.

Kudos also goes to Sony for seeing that the battery charging power supply needed a redesign. On the VAIO Pro range, it’s now easier to carry with a slightly smaller brick design, and even arrives with a USB port on the other side of the brick so you can simultaneously charge your smartphone while your recharging your laptop.

Sony also makes a wireless access point that can plug into this USB port, sharing a wired Ethernet connection (like at a hotel) with lots of devices, but this is an optional purchase.

On the negative side of this laptop are areas which aren’t terrible, but aren’t as impressive as you’d expect a fairly high end computer to be.

Over in the keyboard section, the keys provide enough travel to work with, but they’re so springy that it’s impossible not to feel that you’re typing on a cheap input device, and even brings to mind the lesser writing experience one could find on the old Windows netbooks.

It’s not that you won’t get any typing done on the VAIO Pro 11’s keyboard, but it just won’t be as satisfying as other keyboards out there.

The mouse is equally lacking, although you do get a very good touchscreen for your troubles. The trackpad is more of a spare, as if Sony is providing it in case of emergency. Unfortunately, that emergency will be laden with frustration as clicks often go unregistered, even though gestures seem to work perfectly.

With Intel’s latest Core processors (fourth-generation), the battery life is supposed to be better than good, it’s supposed to be awesome, and worthwhile on an overseas trip.

In the 11 inch VAIO Pro, battery life is a mixed bag.

Our first test revealed that the on-board battery barely survived a life of roughly four-ish hours, and that was while writing documents, surfing the web, checking email, and doing the regular work schtick many of us will be doing.

Later on, though, the laptop worked its way up to a more impressive seven-ish hours, which is more than reasonable, especially if you plan on taking a trip overseas and you need to get some work done.

Whatever life this laptop offers, Sony has made an optional battery pack that will bring you an extra few hours and comes with the added bonus of not costing you an arm and a leg.

It also raises the slope of your laptop a little, so factor that in if you plan to do some typing.

Conclusion

Despite a few flaws, Sony’s VAIO Pro 11 is one of the more impressive machines we’ve seen, creating a proper PC experience in one of the lightest designs yet.

It’s also nice to see that Sony is competing with the prices of other Ultrabook manufacturers, and with a starting price of $1299 and featuring an excellent screen, decent processor, and amazing weight, the Sony VAIO Pro is a top choice. Recommended.

Overall
Features
Value for money
Performance
Ease of Use
Design
Reader Rating0 Votes
The lightest laptop we've ever felt; Bright and colourful screen, and one of the best we've seen on a laptop this size; Backlit keyboard; Laptop charger has been redesigned and now even charges a USB device at the same time; Supports an optional battery pack;
Keyboard is a little too light; Trackpad barely registers touches properly; Screen hinge needs tightening; Only a little over 60GB of storage left on the drive;
4.4