Sony VAIO P (Update) Screen, Speakers, Keyboard and Touchpad

February 14, 2011 by Amber Riippa Reads (96,743)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 9
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 4
    • Usability
    • 7
    • Design
    • 10
    • Performance
    • 4
    • Features
    • 5
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 4
    • Total Score:
    • 6.14
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Screen and Speakers
The new VAIO P again has a vibrant, glossy, 8-inch LED backlit display that is easy to love if set on a fairly high brightness. The native screen resolution is an impressive 1600 x 768, but you can set it to the lower resolutions of 1280 x 600, 1024 x 768, or 800 x 600 if you have trouble reading text on the small screen. You can still use the magnifier tool to enlarge your desktop 25% bigger by pressing the “fn” and “F10” keys simultaneously. Since the screen is glossy the netbook reflects both indoor and outdoor light, but those reflections aren’t too problematic in terms of visibility.

Horizontal viewing angles are very good, only appearing somewhat washeded out at drastic angles; but vertical viewing angles appear more than just somewhat washed out or inverted on the top and bottom when viewed from those respective angles. Even so, watching a film or TV show with someone should not be hindered by the angles.

New to this edition of the VAIO P is the ability to change the screen orientation (just like most smartphones can do now) by moving the netbook on its side. The orientation will switch from landscape mode to portrait mode within one or two seconds. This is handy for people who wish to use the netbook for reading documents or even full-sized ebooks in portrait mode instead of landscape. And, because the netbook weighs a mere 1.3 pounds, it isn’t cumbersome for most people to pick it up and read with it on its side as if it were a book.

The built-in speakers are still quite weak, but bearable, in this version of the VAIO P. The two speakers are less than a centimeter in length and are located directly above the keys on the left and right sides. The audio is Intel High Definition Audio. Even with the volume set at 100% the speakers do not get very “loud” — only bearable. Even so, most people will be able to hear spoken words if watching a movie or TV show if the volume is set at 100%, but external speakers will be in order if you want to really enjoy a film on the Vaio P with someone else.

With this version of the VAIO P Sony has included “noise canceling” headphones in an effort to make up for the lack of built-in audio quality that the speakers have to offer.

Keyboard and Touchpad
Not much has changed to the keyboard from the original VAIO P, except for the addition of a couple new quick launch buttons and a nice little touchpad with mouse-click buttons on the left side of the screen. The chassis is still very thin in size so there isn’t enough room for the keyboard to flex under the weight of typing hands. Hunt-and-peck typists and home row typists should both be fairly satisfied at the size and spacing of the keyboard/keys, but for some, an external keyboard may be in order. There is still a tiny bit of space in between each of the keys like before—a new concept to some; but this will help most people grow more accustomed to using a small keyboard.

As mentioned, there are new additions to this keyboard. Sony added (or changed) the three keys to the right of the three mouse-click buttons: from the left to the right they are “assist” key, “change resolution key,” and “web launch” key. If pressed, the assist key will launch a Sony Care program, an all-in-one application that allows you to maintain the health of your netbook and resolve any known issues with it as well.

The second key can be helpful. If this key is pressed, it will automatically change the display resolution within a second or two–but only if it is already on either the 1600 x 768 or 1280 x 600 resolution setting. If it is on a lower resolution, pressing this key will do nothing. If pressed, the third and final quick launch key will open your default web browser within a second or two to the homepage if you have the “display homepage” option enabled in your default web browser.

Sony has added another cool feature–a small built-in touchpad located on the bottom right corner of the screen and a pair of two-click mouse buttons located on the bottom left corner of the screen. Although this feature is arguably neat, it might not be utilized by some because of the location and size of the touchpad. When using the tiny touchpad you may find it is more of a chore than using the tiny trackpoint located in the center of the keyboard, not only because of its location, but because it is so small. It will invariably require you lift your finger up and then put it back down quite frequently in order to move the cursor where it needs to go on the screen. If you plan on using this as a home or office netbook quite a lot, you might want to plan on using a normal mouse as well.

It’s also worth mentioning that pressing down on the trackpoint is like clicking the left button on a mouse; a useful feature in and of itself. So, really, you have three left-click mouse buttons built into this model—four if you include pressing down on the touchpad another left-click option—regardless, it’s nice to have options.


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