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Sony Vaio S270/S380 or Dell D610?

by mm24mm24 / April 11, 2005 1:57 PM PDT

I'd like a reliable laptop thats 4-6 lbs max, reliable, but has an internal optical drive, and a reasonably sized keyboard since i have larger hands. I would use it for MS Office apps and internet surfing. I liked the vaio screen and seems to have good performance reviews, but have a dell desktop which has been great. Any suggestions?

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I just bought the Dell D610 for a few reasons
by Sleipner / April 24, 2005 8:23 AM PDT

I had read a few reviews of the S380 that said it sucked battery like nobody's business, and some reviews of the Go 6200 that said it was a kinda crappy chip...the shared memory ate up bandwidth & slowed down the whole system.

The S360 prepackaged model ended up becoming my main Sony choice for those reason, but I would have had to upgrade memory (I wanted 1 gig), and the graphics card was older (9700 instead of X300). Plus it was only a 1.7 GHz with an older processor & slower memory & bus.

A silly but important selling point for me on the Dell was the little pointy keyboard mouse...I can't stand touchpads. That plus the X300 graphics card, though not great for 3D gaming, is at least capable of (slowly) playing pretty much any modern game.

Plus last week when I bought my Dell they were having a $280 discount, throwing in the $80 CD-RW/DVD for free, and tossed in a free printer for good measure. The configuration I bought ended up being about $1700 including tax, for a 1.86 GHz with 1 gig of RAM, and the 3 year mail-in discount warranty.

Another machine I had looked at was the Acer Travelmate 8104, but that was considerably more expensive and heavier, and had that freaky curved keyboard. I checked it out primarily because it had an X700 graphics card...but I decided that I wouldn't worry about heavy gaming on the laptop, that's what my desktop is for Wink

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Sony issues
by ikenfixit / April 24, 2005 11:31 PM PDT

Just informative.. The S-series Vaios are surfacing issues similar to RAM slot solder joints.. (I noticed a post By Joe hardware analysis).. This guy is very well respected in the Vaio community and knows his stuff. Sonys are dead last for CS as well and unless an extended warranty is opted for you will be stuck with a repair bill down the road. Of course the Dells are also showing signs of failure so I cant really give them an excellent rating either.

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Experience with S380
by mpdo / April 25, 2005 3:42 PM PDT
In reply to: Sony issues

I just purchased an S380 and thought my experience might be helpful. The first unit arrived with a single dead pixel on the right side of the screen. I reported it immediately via email and received a response the next day (from Sony support in India). It included basic instructions to correct the dead pixel (wipe the screen). The second email provided me with a case number and a detailed explanation as to how the LCD works and how a dead pixel may arise along with a disclaimer that should I decide to return the unit there is no guarantee the new one wouldn't arrive with a dead pixel as well.

The next call was to customer support via toll free number somewhere in the US. They were excellent. They explained that I had 30 days to return the unit. I decided to return it and purchase a new one so the customer support rep emailed me a link to generate a FEDEX label along with an RMA number and detailed instructions on how to send the unit back.

I was then transferred to Sony Styles order center where they credited my card for the return laptop and placed an order for a new one.

The new one arrived 5 business days later ... and had a single dead pixel...but this time on the left hand side. I am using this unit to post this message.

My experience with the unit so far has been mixed. The size and weight are exactly what I want. The screen is ultra-bright (so much so that I dim it for general use). The keyboard feels great with my fat fingers and the wireless network has very good range. The placement and size of the trackpad is also well thought it. It is large enough to provide a nice surface area but small enough where it doesn't get in the way while typing (and I prefer a trackpad over the eraserhead). The far right side of the trackpad also provides a convenient scroll function for reading web pages and large documents.

On the downside, there is that dead pixel and a few other things. The battery does not lock in securely like most laptops. It kinda rattles around a bit which is somewhat disconcerting. The right handrest gets quite warm with normal use. Not sure why this is or if it's a big deal but I've heard others mention it as well. I'm also not crazy about the covers for the LAN and modem jacks and USB and firewire connectors. They snap down and pull out but the design for me just feels strange.

In summary...I've always considered VAIOs to be sexy...yes, I called a computer 'sexy' ... and you also pay a premium as well. I didn't get the service but I may since I have a year to decide. I am still undecided as to whether or not I'll keep the unit...

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