Sony Vaio VGN-FS115Z Review

As some readers may already know, I recently acquired a Sony Vaio laptop. If you could shape my impression of it with a graphic where Y would be my satisfaction and X the time I’ve been with it then it would be shaped as a V.

As soon as I booted it up and the system first started I noticed a stylish side-bar, Office 9X style. Sure it was cute, not cute enough to take around 100px of my width or my limited memory. As for the laptop itself, it’s the closest thing to a Powerbook I’ve ever seen, in terms of design. Some of the readers at this point would probably find this debatable but this part of the review and the final will be personal remarks.

Originally when I intended to buy a laptop I was thinking of something smaller and lighter with lighter specs but the alternatives I could find for a small powerbook with Windows weren’t good enough, the one that got me the closest to buying was the T Series Vaio but the high price and the Intel video graphics card drove me away from it, So I chose something bigger, and closer to a typical notebook, on to the review…

Design: *****

As I’ve said, design is one of the best things this laptop has, everything feels correctly placed, from the power button to the memory stick slot. Basically they divided the laptop in three distinctive areas: One for media (CDs/DVDs) and network, the other for add-ons (USB, Memory Stick, PCMCIA) and power. Side ways the laptop is very thin, and many friends complimented that as soon as they saw it.

Keyboard: ****

I’m not sure of how I should rank this because I normally don’t judge keyboards too much. But I decided to give it 4 stars because from the moment I started using the laptop, I’ve very rarely needed to look at the keyboard to find a particular key like a Portuguese character. It has two “S” (Special) keys that you can configure, however the things you can configure it using the “Vaio Control Center” application are *very* limited so in reality I’m only using one of them to mute sound whenever I need to talk to someone or something. You can however configure it to open applications.

Sound: ***

Nothing special here, slightly better than some Acer’s I’ve seen, but nothing “wow” about them, you’re better off with headphones with any laptop I presume.

Specifications: ****

The components of the machine are nothing special compared to what the competition has to offer:

* Pentium M 740, 1.73 Ghz (Sonoma)
* 512 Ram (333 Mhz – 2 * 256)
* HDD 100 GB
* LCD 15.4″ X-black (XBrite in America) TFT (1280×800)
* DVD-RW (DL) Drive

The two things that stand apart are the new Pentium M, codenamed Sonoma and the LCD. The LCD has amazing quality, having a 2 year old Samsung LCD at home and staring at this monitor you can tell a difference, the quality is superb, the viewing angle, color balance, everything. Let’s just say it gave “new life” to my photo galleries (which I already thought looked good enough).

The processor is very nice, I haven’t tested the laptop “on the fly” yet, but at most of the time I won’t hear the fans working comparing to other Pentium M’s I’ve seen, it seems to do a better balance and I’ve got the power saving settings off but this thing just remains utterly silent.

Software / Technical Support: *

This was the laptop’s biggest downfall, basically what Sony does is this: you buy a laptop, and it comes with no CDs whatsoever, it has a utility to make a backup of your system settings and programs (only the factory ones). Since it came with XP Home, I created the recovery DVD (You can choose from either 8 CDs or 1 DVD), removed the partitions and formated the drive and installed normally as I would.

After that I installed most of the drivers from the DVDs but some of them were not in obvious folders or I had to search for hours for them on the Internet since Sony doesn’t let you download some specific programs and drivers even though you already identified your laptop with it’s serial which is very annoying, Sony Japan lets you download any program you need from their support site. I found all the things I needed to download on their Japanese site, but not on the European or American ones.

Overall: ****

The specifications are average, the only thing that lifts it above the average mark is really the design and screen. I’m satisfied with the machine but I’m frustrated at how Sony handles the support issue. For me that issue explains very well why Sony are never very successful with their laptops outside of Japan/Asia.

Another thing that is a bit bothering is that when I mention I have a Vaio people are likely to say “those are too expensive”.

But when I show it to one of them they just brag it, so somewhere, even if it’s not very visible, I feel like I got my money’s work. As soon as I can surpass the barrier that is Sony Support and have everything I need and want, I think I’ll like it even more.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know

or Comment Below

Gaming Trailers

More Like This
Pokémon TCG: Sword & Shield | Lost Origin
Latest Trailers
Inscryption | Accolades Trailer

Got a tip?

Let us know