Saturday, August 24, 2013

Preliminary review of the Sony Vaio Pro 11

I've been using my new computer pretty steadily over the last couple of days.  I still have a lot to learn about it, especially since it's my first time using any operating system newer than Windows XP, but I have a few observations to make already.

1. The battery life rocks.  I tested the battery for the first time last night and this morning, using a handy-dandy timer app to keep track of how long I got.  I ran it right down until it hibernated at 5 percent, and I got 4 hours and 9 minutes -- without doing anything to conserve power.  I was browsing on the Internet, with lots of apps and programs up and running, the screen set only a hair dimmer than I usually would have, the backlight on the keyboard on, and no other changes to make it conserve power.  The result was better than I was even hoping for.  With the screen dimmer, the keyboard backlight off, and the processor set to conserve power, I'll bet I really could get close to that 6+ hours they claim it gets.

2. The size and weight rock.  I spent today looking for a new laptop case, since my Averatec and Asus are both just slightly smaller -- meaning the cases I have on hand don't fit, all except for one, which is more of a sleeve (no handle or strap, which makes me nervous).  I did use the sleeve and a book bag to take my computer to a writers meeting with me last night, though, and I can't say enough about how nice the light weight is.

3. The touchscreen rocks.  I discovered last night that without the wrist support I use at my desk at home, my hands brush the touch pad constantly as I type.  Since I don't usually carry a mouse with me, I had to turn it off to get any decent typing done, in which case the touch pad was really handy.  But even without that in mind, I find the touch pad very useful, and I use it more than I thought I would.

4. The apps rock.  I have already found several free productivity apps that are extremely handy: a timer app (to encourage me to be more productive, but also to help remind me when it's time to get something else done) and a time sheet app that I may eventually use to replace the time sheets I keep by hand, depending on how much I like it.  Best of all, Windows 8 allows you to snap them to the side of the screen, so that I can see the timer while I work.

So far I have very few complaints.  I like how the keyboard feels while I type, I like the speed of the processor and the wireless, and so on.  I do need to finish installing programs and find alternatives for some of my older software and peripherals, and I want to test the battery some more, both in high performance and low performance (i.e., just writing) situations.  I am sure I will have more to say about it soon!

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