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Sony MacBook???

Side by Side

My mom's previous notebook, a Sony VGN-A130, gave up the ghost a few weeks back and I was tasked with either fixing it or just finding a new one for her. Since it was out of warranty and it wasn't the RAM or the HD that was causing the problem, having it sent back to Sony for repair would most likely have cost over $700. In light of that, I figured it made more sense to just get a new one.

Stacked

For the price and specs that my mom had in mind, I decided on the Sony N series (VGN-N150P/B to be exact) which Gizmodo had done a brief writeup on, saying that it was Sony's stylistic ripoff of the MacBook. Maybe if you were half-blind and standing across the room from both units.

Left View

As is customary, I figured I'd take some comparison shots between the Sony N and my MacBook Pro. Stylistically, the N is a huuuuuge letdown, especially since it's a Sony, who are usually regarded (at least by me) as the Apple of the PC laptop world (style-wise that is). The design of the N is so basic and uninspiring it's almost downright criminal. And what is up with the color brown that's popping up in electronics now here and there? One of the N models also comes with a brown lid and there's a brown Zune as well. Guys, I don't care what excuses you make, brown does not a good gadget color make. EVER. Unless your case is made of wood, I don't wanna see it.

Right Side

Anyway, back to the Sony N, although it does have pretty good specs for the price: 1.6Ghz Core 2 Duo, 1GB RAM, 100GB 5400RPM HD, 802.11a/b/g; you can really tell that they skimped on the design. Besides the black lid and "VAIO" emboss on the lid, everything else on the unit is cookie-cutter PC laptop. All plastic, all straight edges. I guess it's good if all you want is a basic, no-frills laptop but c'mon Sony, you can do better than this. The graphics card is also the built-in Intel integrated graphics crap but in this case that's just fine since my mom ain't exactly gonna be playing F.E.A.R. or Oblivion. Available ports are basic as well: 2 USB 2.0 (side-by-side so that's a plus at least), 1 of those non-powered Firewire ports, an Expresscard 34 slot, VGA output, and the standard Memory Stick slot.

Back View

Despite both the N and the MBP being 15.4" machines, the N is significantly larger than the Apple, being a little bit wider and much deeper and thicker. It's not really a fair comparison since there's a $1000+ price difference but you do what you can.

Keyboard

Unfortunately the keyboard on the Sony N also seems to have regressed a little as the truncated right shift key is back. It's not tiny but it's not full-sized either. Otherwise, functionality is no better/worse than previous models.

Open View

So overall, the N-series has been a bit of a disappointment. If I had to do it all over again I'd tell my mom to pay a bit more and pick up the Sony FE series instead. But she's just happy to have a laptop to use at home again so bottom-line, that's all that matters.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 12, 2006 11:12 AM.

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