PROS / This laptop highly-portable with its slim and lightweight design.
CONS / The Sony VAIO SR Series has a smaller display screen than many other laptops.
VERDICT / The Sony VAIO SR Series gives the user both quality performance and dependability.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been replaced by another product. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Sony is well known for its top quality across the spectrum of consumer electronics and the Sony VAIO SR series of laptop computers carries on the tradition. A first glance at the elegant and lightweight magnesium alloy housing tells you that you’re looking at an exceptional product. The understated elegance continues to the ultra slim profile which measures just 1.33 inches thick at its deepest point when closed and the color choices of Night Black, Titanium Gray, Alpine White or Champagne Gold. It’s true that Sony products tend to be somewhat pricey compared to their nearest competition but the cost buys a lot in terms of reliability and performance.
While we admit to being captivated by the elegant look of the Sony VAIO SR, there’s more to its alloy body than meets the eye. It provides a stronger exterior than the typical plastics that comprise most laptop computers and that coating hides trademarked G-Sensor Shock Protection technology to protect the computer and the valued data it houses.
The housing isn’t the only eye catcher on this great little computer, either. It has a stunning High Definition backlit LED screen that produces remarkable images. There’s also an HDMI output allowing the HD video to be viewed on other devices such as a HDTV in all its 1080p glory. While it’s true that the 13.3-inch, diagonally measured, screen is a bit smaller than the competition, we can’t help but feel that the quality more than makes up for the size difference.
But enough for the eye candy. As with any computer, it’s the internal workings that are most important and the Sony VAIO SR series of computers has an impressive selection of hardware. The included processor is an Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 running at a very respectable 2.2 GHz. It has a 2 MB L2 cache and 800 MHz front side bus. There are five processor upgrades available culminating with the lightning fast Intel Core 2 Duo T9900 with a 3.06 GHz clock speed, 6MB L2 cache and 1066 MHz front side bus. Upgrading that much is expensive and not likely necessary for most users but would be a good idea for serious gamers or those doing lots of video editing.
The base computer in the VAIO SR series comes with 4GB of DDR2 RAM. That’s upgradeable to 6MB or 8MB. The basic unit includes a 250GB, 5400 rpm hard drive. The largest hard drive available is a hefty 500GB and runs at 7200 rpm for faster data retrieval. Available also are a 128GB or 256GB solid state drive. Though capable of holding less data and being substantially more expensive than the typical hard drive, these drives have no moving parts so are less susceptible to damage operate faster. This can be an important feature for a portable computer that will inevitably be subjected to some jarring and is a nice complement to the protection afforded by the magnesium frame.
Standard on the Sony VAIO SR series laptop is a CD/DVD player and burner. As an option, there’s an available Blu-ray Disc player and burner. It’s a high priced addition but it’s what’s necessary to realize the full video potential of the computer. If upgrading to the Blu-ray drive, it would also be a good idea to include the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570 graphics improvement as well. That upgrade is necessary anyway if you choose any color other than black for the exterior so there’s an additional benefit to making that leap.
The Sony VAIO SR laptop ships with the 64-bit Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium operating system or the Professional edition for $50 extra. Microsoft Works is also included in the price. Other preinstalled software is available at additional cost.
In every regard, the Sony VAIO SR series of laptop computers are strikingly impressive. They absolutely ooze the quality and sophistication for which Sony is well known. The down side is that it all comes at a cost. For mobile business professionals, students or home users, you can’t go wrong with this computer if the budget permits.