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Sony VAIO C: Colour meets power

tech-reviews Updated: Aug 25, 2011 01:12 IST
Roydon Cerejo
Roydon Cerejo
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Sony’s latest series of trendy notebooks, the VAIO C, comes in many colours including red, orange and black. The outer shell of the notebook is primarily made up of translucent plastic, making it look more like a kid’s toy than anything else.

The lid has a bit of flex, but the screen is sturdy and doesn’t ripple when its edges are pinched. The chiclet-style keyboard is backlit, but the best part is that the ambient light sensor automatically turns it on or off, according to the lighting conditions.

Horsepower:
The notebook may look like a toy, but it packs in serious horsepower. Intel’s Core i5-2410M takes centre stage, running at a speed of 2.3GHz with the ability to turbo up to 2.9GHz. There’s a single 4GB DDR3 memory stick, so you can add another one later. For storage, you get a 500GB hard drive spinning at 7200rpm. The C series makes for a decent gaming laptop as well, with AMD’s HD 6630M and dynamic switchable graphics.

The 14-inch LED backlit screen sports a resolution of 1366x768, which is good enough for general and multimedia playback. The 1.3MP webcam also features Sony’s ‘Exmor’ video engine for a clearer picture. The Core i5 processor is a capable performer for everyday tasks and copes well even under stress. Games run fairly well too.

Keyboard is great:
At 2.45kg, you’ll definitely feel the VAIO’s weight in your backpack. That aside, the keyboard is a dream to use with great play. Even while charging, the notebook only gets a bit warm, which is impressive.

Switchable graphics:
This is one of the first notebooks we’ve come across which has a dynamically switching graphics card. The new option called ‘Switchable Graphics’ that lets you configure which programmes use the dedicated graphics card and which ones use the onboard hardware.

Channel audio:
Razer, a precision gaming brand, brings pinpoint positional audio to gamers with the Razer Tiamat headset range — the world’s first discrete 7.1 surround sound and 2.2 stereo gaming headsets. The Tiamat 7.1 packs a total of 10 discrete drivers, five in each circumaural ear cup. The 10 drivers represent the seven surround sound channels plus subwoofer. The Tiamat 2.2 is outfitted with a total of four discrete drivers, two dedicated especially to bass to give your head that rumbling sensation every time you calmly walk away from an in-game explosion.

Surround sound effect:
Creative has announced the launch of its new line of Tactic3D gaming headsets featuring THX technology for an immersive 3D experience. The Creative Sound Blaster Tactic3D Alpha, Sigma and Omega wireless gaming headsets are the first to feature customisable profiles, for precise surround sound. The technology uses proprietary algorithms that allow sound to be recreated all around the gamer, surpassing the limitations of typical 5.1 and 7.1 headsets. Pricing for the headsets is Rs. 3,599, Rs. 5,399 and Rs.10,999 respectively.

Average battery life:
Under average usage, you get 2.5-3 hours with ‘Power Saver Mode’ on and brightness level set to medium.

What we like
Good choice of colours
Powerful Intel Core i5 processor
Easy to install a new hard disk or memory

Verdict:
At Rs. 55,990 for the model we tested (VPCCA15FG), the VAIO C is a good buy given its features and performance. Funky looks apart, it has ample firepower. Highlights include the auto-switchable graphics, auto-backlighting of the keyboard and a comfortable keyboard. It can also handle DX10 games pretty well. Just watch out for so-so battery life and the weight.