Sony released 11- and 13-inch Vaio Pro ultraportable PCs, and they were reviewed this past week with considerably different results in two different tech media outlets. This one of the first ultraportables released using just-launched fourth-generation Intel Haswell processors, which are expected to bump battery life over third-generation Intel chips by 50% or more on laptops, tablets and convertible Windows 8 PCs.
The Verge rated the 13-inch Vaio Pro a seven rating out of 10 and sounded even more negative about the 11-inch model, while CNET gave the 11-inch ultraportable four out of five stars.
“Sony's close, but the Vaio Pro 13 lacks the polish required to really take on the Air,” says The Verge. “For $1,249, I want a computer that doesn't feel like it would break in a stiff breeze, and one without the jumpy trackpad that sometimes makes me wish for a stiff breeze.”
Then The Verge review panned the 11-model of the Vaio Pro. “The 11-inch model is worse” says The Verge. “The even-smaller, even-thinner body only exacerbates the build quality problems, and coupled with a touchscreen that's probably too high-res for this screen size, it just falters. Battery life is great, but performance lags a bit behind the larger counterpart — and when the 13-inch Pro is so thin and light anyway, it's hard to think of a reason to buy the 11-inch model unless you're desperately trying to save $100. If that's the case, you're probably better off just looking elsewhere, or saving another $150 and buying the 11-inch Air.”
In contrast, in a review headlined, “Lighter-Than-Air Ultrabook Winner,” CNET said of the Vaio Pro 11: “The superthin, superlight Sony Vaio Pro 11 is everything we expect from an excellent ultrabook.”
This reviewer used to be a big fan of Sony Vaio laptops and I owned several over the past decade. Over the last few years, however, I had to send in three Sony Vaio Z laptops for repair or replacement because the processors overheated and the computers would spontaneously shut down. The last ugly episode occurred this past February and it took Sony six weeks to decide to replace the machine. Moreover, the company repeatedly failed to respond to emails and calls requesting information about the status of the repair or provided incorrect information, telling me at one point a replacement unit was shipped out when it had not been.
In contrast, by the way, I recently bought a desktop computer from Dell and received great customer service, including surprising follow-ups after my purchase to make sure my new computer was received and then make sure it worked right.