- Editor's Rating
- Excellent Battery Life
- Portable Design
- Solid Performance
- Restrictive Viewing Angles
- Quiet Speakers
- Keyboard Flexes
The Sony VAIO Pro 11 offers excellent portability with dependable performance and a long lasting battery.
The Sony VAIO Pro 11 is the ideal travel companion. The slim 11-inch ultrabook redefines ‘travel-friendly’ with its compact 1.9lbs. frame. Featuring a full-touch 1080p display, 128GB SSD and a fourth-generation Haswell Intel Core Processor the Pro 11 packs considerable performance and battery life into its slim design.
With its small frame users can expect a few concessions; but the lightweight build, dependable performance and exceptionable battery life make the Sony VAIO Pro 11 an alluring choice for any Road Warrior.
Build and Design
The outer shell of Sony VAIO Pro 11 features a black (a silver variant is available) carbon fiber protective casing complete with a horizontal striation design. The lid showcases Sony’s stylistic “VAIO” logo in metallic lettering. That same silver finish adorns the back-edge of the display case, which slants down towards the device’s chassis. Similar to the Sony VAIO Fit 15 the slanted back-end of the display case serves to prop up the keyboard when lifted, providing a more accessible typing angle.
The Sony Pro 11’s deck is comprised of a similar carbon fiber material, though it offers a much more textured feel than the device’s smooth outer casing. Directly below the keyboard the device offers a brushed aluminum hand-rest. The brushed aluminum is an odd choice for a wrist-rest because it easily succumbs to streaking when touched; luckily the carbon fiber holds up much better retaining the device’s clean aesthetic.
Measuring in at 11.2″ x 7.76″ x 0.68″ and weighing in at a practically non-existent 1.9lbs., the Sony VAIO Pro 11 is one of the most portable utlrabooks on the market.The Sony VAIO Pro 11 is able to remain weightless largely thanks to its carbon fiber construct. While the Pro 11 is comparable in dimensions to the 11-inch MacBook Air (11.8 “x 7.56” x 0.68), it’s considerably lighter (2.4lbs.). The Pro 11’s minuscule form factor make the device ideal for travel, as it’s able to fit in almost any carrying device without adding strain to the user.
The Sony VAIO Pro 11 affords solid durability (especially for its portable form factor), but there are a few weak-points in the design. The carbon fiber brushed aluminum chassis proves to be resilient combo, as the chassis easily held its form to incoming pressure. More worrisome was the keyboard, which provided noticeable flex when pushing down. The display case also flexed considerably and noticeable rippling did appear on screen. However, the durable hinge design of the Pro 11 assures that the ultrabook is capable of standing up the normal wear and tear of travel.
Ports and Features
As expected the slim Sony VAIO Pro 11 takes a considerable hit to connectivity. The device is devoid of ports on the left side and houses an HDMI, two USB 2.0 ports and an audio jack on the right side of the chassis. The notebook also offers and SD card reader on the bottom portion of the front-end of the chassis. While the lack of ports is understandable it would have been nice to see Sony offer a USB dongle to afford additional connectivity, such as the ability to use an Ethernet connection.
|Left: Vent||Right: HDMI, two USB 3.0, audio jack|
While the Sony VAIO Pro 11 is sans dongle the unit Notebook Review tested was equipped with onboard NFC connectivity. NFC allows users to transfer data directly from their smartphone to the laptop. The added connectivity does not come cheap however, as the feature adds $150 from to the base model price of $1,050.
Display and Sound
The Sony VAIO Pro 11 features an 11.6-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS touch-enabled display. The screen is equipped with Triluminous technology, which according to Sonny helps the display provide more natural colors. Sony VAIO Pro 11 offers crisp clear image with 165 nits brightness and sharp color contrast. Notebook Review noticed that the display does a fantastic job detailing bright hues while admiring the vibrant skyline in a gameplay stream of Ryse: Son of Rome. However, the display struggled with darker colors, especially deep blues and purples which were easily muddied when adjacent or placed near a black backdrop. Additionally, display’s ten-point touch controls worked completely as desired, responding quickly to various inputs and gestures with no noticeable lag.
Unfortunately the viewing experience is easily tainted by the display’s limited viewing angles. From a straight-on angle the VAIO provides a clear crisp image, but tilting the device even slightly to the side causes images to become faded. The notebook faces the same issues along the vertical axis as well. The restrictive viewing angles are made more pronounced by the screens sensitivity to light. In direct or heavy lighting conditions the display becomes extremely reflective, with background images becoming clearly visible onscreen.
The VAIO Pro 11 houses a pair of speakers located at the back-end of the chassis near the device’s display hinge. The speakers provide modest sound levels that are suitable for a single person, but will struggle to provide audio for multiple users. While the speakers aren’t exceptionally loud they do provide solid quality, as the Pro 11 was able to accurately detail an orchestral piece without any noticeable distortion. Still users will want to opt for headphones or an external device for an optimal audio experience.
The Sony VAIO offers a LED backlit Chiclet style keyboard. The rounded square keys offer a smooth glossy finish. As expected from the device’s small frame, key-depth is limited. But the Sony VAIO Pro 11 alleviates its shallow key travel distance with responsive tactile feedback, as each key quickly snaps back into place after being struck. The bigger issue for the device is its propensity to flex. The keyboard has considerable give (especially along the top two rows of the keyboard), it’s not necessarily enough to impede productivity, but it can be uncomfortable and distracting. It’s not a huge problem, but issues like this can seriously impact your comfort while using the device for an extend period of time.
Located to the bottom right of the spacebar the notebook houses a modest sized keyboard. The touch utilizes a smooth surface that allows for frictionless travel affording added control. Equipped with Synaptics drivers the pad is devoid of mouse buttons instead opting for multi-finger controls along with designating the bottom right-hand corner of the pad to act a right-mouse click. Similar to many other devices that employ this method, the pad does not offer a graphic, making it difficult to tell exactly where the right-click portion of the mouse is. However, despite that one caveat the touchpad works like a charm; as each swipe, click and multi-finger gesture immediately results in the desire response.