back to article Sony Vaio SB 13.3in notebook

Not everyone wants to lug a 15.6in notebook around - even less a 17-incher - so the 13.3in category has always appealed to folk keen for plenty of performance without the bulk. Sony has long offered 13.3in machines, the latest being its SB series, part of its broader S series. Sony Vaio SB 13.3in laptop Available with a non- …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a shame that you have to go to rather-warm, i7 powered SA version to get a display on-par with the Air's 1440x900 res. Though even then, you actually get 1600x900 because Sony haven't figured out that 16:9 is The Wrong Shape (TM) yet.

    I'm still fawning over the wallet-busting Vaio Z though.

    1. AdamWill


      yup. Vaio Z is where it's at. I love mine. ;)

      I'm not a huge fan of the 2011 model, though, still happy with my 2010 vs that one. Wish I'd got the 1920x1080 screen option, though.

      I've always figured with Sony computers it doesn't make any sense to buy the cheap ones. The cheap ones are just rebadged ODM crap like everyone else's cheap laptop, only you pay an extra hundred quid for the Sony badge. If you're going to buy a cheap laptop anyway you might as well go to one of the cheaper brands, the hardware quality's going to be about the same. High-end Sonys, on the other hand, cost a bundle but you're actually getting something for your money. The easy rule of thumb is that anything with a Sony badge but made in China is not worth bothering with, if it's made in Japan it's probably good stuff.

    2. N13L5


      sorry, a non standard 1440x900 is not the right format... movies look crappy on it, just like the dumb iPhone screen ratio.

      And neither of the competing macs come anywhere near packing the gear the Sony SA models have. And these are as light as the macbook air, but pack more power than a macbook pro.

      Sony just didn't try to be retarded and make it so overly thin that you could tie it to a handle to use as a hatchet.

      Still, I hate Sony, even when they make good gear... look at the conniving limitations in their online configurator. Of course, Apple has no configurator at all, they got the one size fits all attitude.

      1. Rich 30

        apple hate = dull

        Apple have a thorough configurator on their site.

    3. Agent Weebley

      I have been using a Vaio Z for 1.66345 years now, and it was great, up until the battery began to lose capacity. I have it on for about 18 hours per day, but I don't always look at it, as I do other things, like work and eat and sleep, but not during the day, so the sleeping part doesn't really count. Come to think of it, the working part doesn't count either. I like to surf.

      Anyway, once the battery began to lose capacity about 0.32615 years ago, the fan began to go full bore all the time . . pushing the machine over to the right, causing me to mis-type all the time. I hav e sntt rt back to Son wrh a kpybtg prblw . . . hopefttty undwr warntty.

      It is very light too; I accidentally forgot it was in my armpit while unlocking and opening my vehicle the other day . . . with a key, I might add, as I am not the tekkie type that must have keyless entry. The Z did a major header on the ground, denting the casing and causing me to think that the new carbon fibre Z would be good for my diet, and my daughter could definitely use another hand-me-down.

      I hope Sony doesn't notice the dent.

      Oh, and the 128 gig SSD . . . way too small. Gotta get the 512 on the next one. Oh, and one last thing: you need 2 hands to open the lid, because it is so light, the keyboard follows the lid on the way up. Very irritating. And at $2000, it begs to be a business write-off, as a personal buy, as $2000 is a little over the top.

      Agent Weebley

  2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Not a replacement for my ageing SZ

    until AMD/Radeon gets its Linux drivers sorted. Pity really

  3. Anonymous Cowbard

    There’s no mic jack, so you can only connect a pair of headphones.

    Or any of around 1000 USB mic/headsets?

    1. N13L5

      headphone jack is a combo jack :P

      If you noticed, a lot of notebooks are starting to use the combined audio jack type used on smartphones, so you don't have to fiddle with a Y adapter anymore to hook your headset into a computer.

      So yes, there is a mic jack. But if you want to use an older PC headset, you'll need to use an adapter now, combining your two plugs into one.

  4. Marvin the Martian
    IT Angle

    Speed switch: between "incredible" and "ludicrous" or "11" and "11+"

    If you are going to have a silly hardware switch, at least give it a cool couple of names. Ask the sales people, they might find something.

    But it seem software would be the better judge of whether speeding up is needed or not: "Hm, this Photoshop thread asks the sharpening of a 10Mx7.5M pixel image... should I do it on "slow"? Perhaps not!". Let it be human-overridable if you want, but leave it at that.

  5. I'm Brian and so's my wife

    What's going on with the Vaio keyboards?

    I almost bought a Vaio last year. Then I tried the keyboard and was horrified. I opted for a slightly heavier Lenovo instead.

    1. N13L5


      This one types pretty well. Not as good as my Logitech Illuminated Keyboard, but rather very well for a small 13.3 incher. very spacious and well arranged. The pressure point isn't fantastic, but better than the rotten mushroom feel a lot of other notebooks offer. The keyboard bends just a little, not the sagging trampoline you get on a lot of other laptops. Travel is short, but at least the key don't produce weird slapping noises as they hit the bottom, like Dell's Vostro series.

      As for Lenovo, they still do have good keyboards, but also no comparison to what they were like when IBM was making Thinkpads.

      With Lenovo, of course, you get your keyboard in a fairly ugly ABS-plastic box, with usually nothing but Intel's integrated GPU in the smaller ones.

      Usually, Sony is an awful laggard too, when it comes to using no GPU or 2 year old GPU's in today's premium offerings, but they install AMD's HD6630M GPU in the SA series, which is just a few fps away from an Nvidia GT540M.

      For a notebook of this weight, that's unique in the market.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My old AR21S also has a top surface mounted eject button.

    As above!

  7. David Hicks

    Me, I use the fingerprint thingy

    I use the fingerprint thingy on my old SZ, because it saves typing in (or remembering) a logon password.

    It irritates me that Win 7 only seems to pick up that it's there about 2 boots in 3 though, and I have no idea how to rig it up to work with linux so it's mostly not used I guess.

    Looks pretty, probably not going to buy one due to it being a Sony, and also that I reckon on heading back to the land of the customisable, cased PC instead of another laptop.

  8. John 62

    16:9 screen?

    16:9 screens must die!

    Yes, I have used them. 800 pixels vertically is about the limit of usefulness, but also, on a thirteen inch screen, photos (which are still mostly 6:4 aspect) are terribly small.

    1. Fuzz


      16:9 is a stupid ratio on a small screen unless you're only using it to watch films. And if all you're doing is watching films then you can buy a portable DVD player for much less money.

      If 16:9 is good because it's better for films then maybe we should be using 1:2.35 screens on our laptops.

      A 3:2 aspect screen would probably be a good ratio. The most important thing is that it's possible to buy screens with a sensible number of vertical pixels. Modern software can make use of high resolution screens. Windows has DPI settings so that the gui appears the correct size. Websites can be zoomed to make them readable but everything is nice and sharp.

      My phone has a 3.7" screen with 800x480 resolution, I want that kind of DPI level on my laptop.

      1. cloudgazer

        There are technical problems taking the higher DPI of mobile phone screens to laptop sizes - for starters you have a simple mathematical problem with yield. Quality standards for LCD screens may be able to tolerate a few dead pixels, but even a single hot pixel is generally reason to reject a panel. Quadruple the pixels on a display, you quadruple the rejection rate.

        It will come eventually, but the problem isn't with the systems builders, it's with the panel makers..

  9. Rich 30
    Thumb Down


    the keys make the whole laptop look too much like a MacBookPro rip off. Not for me, thanks! (Especially black keys, silver laptop)

    1. cloudgazer

      Sony have been using chiclet keyboards for as long as Apple, maybe longer. This keyboard has a significantly different layout to a Mac, and the recessing is about as different as it could be.

      There seem to be plenty of reasons in this review to not buy this laptop (90 minutes battery life!), but looking too much like an MBP really isn't one of them

  10. dajames

    What is it with all these crappy low-resolution screens?

    Back when 4:3 was the norm (and 5:4 for 1280x1024, of course) it was easy to get a laptop with "SXGA+" (1400x1050) resolution. Nowadays almost nothing -- apart from a fairly small number of high-end models and 3kg+ behemoths that only weight-lifters can pick up -- has anything better than "HD" 1366x768 ... which may be "high definition" for a telly, but is anything but for a PC.

    We also get stuck with stupid wide-screen formats, which are fine for spreadsheets and cinema but crap for text and programming, which invariably make the unit wider and heavier than a proper 4:3 screen would.

    16:9 ratio and less than 1k pixels vertically is a FAIL.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like