back to article Sony Vaio M Atom 2.0 netbook

The new Vaio M is the first Sony netbook to be pitched at the increasingly common £300 price point and it is also the first to use the now equally common 1024 x 600 resolution screen. This display choice suggests that – after the highly desirable but horrendously expensive P Series and the cheaper but still unpopular hi-rez W …

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Keyboards

"In fact, it looks and feels very similar to the keyboard fitted to the original Acer Aspire One, which was fine on a machine released two years ago and costing £200 but the game has moved on."

It has? I guess I need to try out an N140 keyboard then. I remember the Aspire One getting plaudits for its great keyboard on release, and I've always been very happy with mine. It's certainly better than that chiclet-style rubbish that seems so popular these days.

As for Sony's netbook, it just looks like more of the same to me. I've yet to see a model from any manufacturer that convinces me I need to spend £300 on a machine that's essentially the same as the one I spent £200 a couple of years ago.

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Crapware

While I agree that crapware is the bain of my life (and probably many others' lives too), it doesn't matter for the kind of people this machine is aimed at.

For people who are likely to read The Reg, they will always shop around to find a machine that is the best of breed, fully capable and best value. This Sony will not come into the radar for these shoppers so crapware won't be a problem.

For the average PC World/Currys/John Lewis shopper, the only thing they're looking for a good looking machine. The Sony fits that bill, and is priced similar to other models, so they will see they can get a Sony machine (and of course Sonys are of higher value than other brands, because it's Sony) for the same price as anything else, and they will just use whatever crapware Sony ship with it, because, well they don't know any better. They don't care that their videos, music and DVDs open in VAIO media gate or whatever, just that they open. Then they'll install iTunes with QuickTime to go with their iPod/iPhone and all of a sudden you'll have conflicts between 3 media apps and their techie friend will get a call and have to spend 3 hrs of their own time untangling the whole mess all the while cursing Sony's name under their breath.

Not that it's ever happened to me before, no.

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WTF?

@No way macros undo

"Then they'll install iTunes with QuickTime to go with their iPod/iPhone and all of a sudden you'll have conflicts between 3 media apps and their techie friend will get a call and have to spend 3 hrs of their own time untangling the whole mess all the while cursing Sony's name under their breath."

3 hours just to uninstall 2 media players??? There friends cant be very techie then can they ??

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70% seems high

The bar charts show these are all essentially the same machines, but that poor battery life, crapware and low RAM should put this out of the running.

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USB ports

"Sony has opted to put all three USB ports side-by-side on the right edge of the machine...[which] appeals to my sense of order."

Well, yes.

Until you end up sitting somewhere where USB devices on the right side of the laptop are bound to be destroyed by passers-by, such as the edge of a desk or the 'C' seat on a 737. Headphone sockets on the front are not so very clever for similar reasons, but I usually have my USB headset adapter with me anyway.

e.g.: I like having USB ports in different places around the machine. It's practical.

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Unhappy

Or you have a USB dongle,

that is too wide to allow access to the next socket.

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well out of the running

even before the first page was over I knew that the main runners are still the Dell mini10 and the samsung N220.

this Sony device brings nothing new to the table and is a quick and ill-judged plan. pity...i had high hopes that Sony could deliver a new touch to this sector

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Dodgy Review Ratings

I Just dont get your review rating criteria Reg, and never have, you give such high marks that seem contradictory to what you say in your review. Based on what you have written I would guess at 60% max. but its rated at 70%, which i would say is pretty ok.

the Verdict is a great example:

Verdict

The combination of a specification at the top end of the scale with Bluetooth and 802.11n wireless included, a price on the right side of £300, an attractive design and peripheral features usually found on more grown up laptops should have made the Vaio M strong competition for the slightly more expensive Samsung N220. However, the Vaio M's failings are just too many and too glaring to overlook. As it stands Sony's first attempt at a bog standard netbook is a decent enough effort hampered by a poor keyboard, weak battery and, evidently, no option to upgrade its 1GB Ram. ®

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Status LEDs...

So the Sony, having 1 less status LED than a Samsung NC10, is a good compromise compared to a LED-less Dell? Funny compromise!

Actually, while we're on the subject of status LEDs... I've never understood why the NC10 has a backlit power button AND a power status LED on the front too, why not just have the power button one... which could have also changed colour when the charger is plugged in too, that would have been neat.

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FAIL

dumb design

The 3 USB ports on one side are fine for USB cables, but as soon as you use a dongle of any sorts, then goodbye to two USB ports.

Also the memory restriction is simply perverse, netbooks can be made to fly with more ram and dedicious use of RAMDISK.

Sorry but the Sony Viao label and paintjob aren't enough.

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Alert

@ AC 10.45

Not so sir, I slotted two broadband dongles and a chunky old Xporter 32GB USB key into the M's USB ports and they all fitted with room to spare. The space between the three USB ports on the M is actually rather more than between the two adjacent USB ports on either my N140 or Dell Mini 10v.

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