Review: Sony Vaio F Series Laptop

By Branko Miletic

Sony is a company that has been at the forefront of tech innovation for quite some time – think of the Sony Walkman, a product that in the late 70s literally changed the way we listen to music as much as the iPod has in the past 10 years.

But the Sony Vaio F-series 3D laptop is not an innovation I will be dreaming about in the future. Now before I start handing out brickbats and the odd bouquet I have to say this: the 16-inch is a top-of-the-range piece of mobile technology. And yes, it does all the things you want a laptop to do and then some. However, it is being marketed as a mobile home entertainment, with great sound, top class graphics and 3D HD Blu-ray viewing.

In terms of specs, it doesn't get any better than this: Processor: 2.0-GHz Intel Core i7, 8GB of RAM, 640GB HDD, 1920 x 1080 16-inch screen, NVIDIA GeForce GT540M/1GB, Blu-ray, HDMI port, Ethernet, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, headphone, VGA connections, Windows 7 Ultimate and that's just for starters.

All-in-all the Vaio F-series is for gamers and tech heads what the XR8 Turbo Ford Falcon is for petrol heads – a real blast.

So where is the sticking point? Well, it’s the battery of course, or if you want me to use the car analogy again, imagine taking the 68-litre petrol tank out of the XR8 Falcon and replacing it with the one from your lawnmower.

The battery life is woeful. After charging up the laptop and running it to set up the internet and check my email and do all those standard checks and balances one normally does with a new piece of tech gear, I figured, why not view that Blu-ray that Sony included with the unit.

After loading the disc and putting my rather chunky 3D glasses, there I was watching Johnny Depp do his best Mad Hatter impersonation in Alice in Wonderland 3D.

All good you say? Well, the movie was OK, but about 10 minutes after I had finished watching the film, the laptop battery died. By my calculations it lasted less than three hours.

Now I know this is a big beast that sucks up a hell of a lot of juice, but imagine if I was watching something a bit longer than a two-hour movie? Say I was watching Dances with Wolves or Schindlers List or God-forbid, that I wanted to watch the entire Star Wars box set- what then? Sure you can always plug the Vaio into the wall socket and all will be well in the world of Blu-ray remakes, but what’s the use of that? That's not mobile computing, its computing on a leash.

If you need to be plugged into a wall socket, then you may as well watch your movies on a TV as far as I am concerned.

That seems to be the only major flaw that I can find with the Sony Vaio F series – however when you are marketing a laptop for just under $4,000, specifically and mainly for Blu-ray watching and game playing, this issue of battery life almost takes on a whole new life for itself.

Pros: great screen, fast boot-up, huge storage space,
Cons: Battery life

3 Shacks out of 5