enjoying the vaio

Last Thursday, I ordered a Sony VAIO Y Series laptop (VPCY118GX, to be exact) to use as my new “work” machine. Basically, I’ve got a few weeks of travel coming up in the next month, and I was not looking forward to the prospect of carrying around my large HP laptop with the potential of the fan (re-)busting up again. After searching high and low (mainly high, since I wanted a high-end PC) for about 2-3 weeks, I finally settled on the offering from Sony. This was a perfect combination of style and performance, in my opinion. It was delivered on Tuesday (just 3 business days–amazing!) and I’ve been setting it up to pace over the last few days.

My initial thoughts are that I love it! Here are the specs:

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 1.30GHz
RAM: 4GB DDR3 800MHz
HDD: 500GB 5400rpm
Screen: 13.3″ Widescreen LED with max. res. of 1366×768
Weight: 3.90lbs

The laptop itself is not shiny, but unassumingly sleek. Complete opposite from the HP, which is a fingerprint magnet. It is extremely lightweight… I can hold it under 1 arm for more than 5 minutes without notable fatigue! And the battery life is ridiculous. It came with 2 batteries–the standard 8-cell and the extended 12-cell. The 8-cell has a max-advertised battery life of… 8 hours. The 12-cell has one of 12 hours. Ridiculous, right? If I took both of these on a full charge, I’d be able to make it all the way to India without needing to take my AC charger (of course, I wouldn’t be able to use the laptop for anything useful, and would be in a bit of a pickle once I reached).

From my personal perspective, battery performance is more than adequate. I have brought the laptop in the last 2 days and it has easily managed to stay alive the whole work day. This, despite me doing resource heavy tasks like synchronizing 11,000+ files from a remote server, being on VPN the whole day and building LabVIEW on it. In fact, I’ve run it for about 7.5 hours already, today, and it still has 29% remaining.

I’m guessing this extra battery life is coming from a lower-clocked CPU and thus expected lower performance, but this is not the case. Running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, this easily blows my Windows XP on a Core 2 Quad out of the water. All in all, a great purchase, in my opinion!

One problem I do have, thus far, is with the keyboard. Obviously, this is smaller than any keyboard I have used (the smallest laptop I owned before this was a 14-incher) and hence I will have a few gnawing pains as I readjust my wrist-flexing angles. The keyboard is also a bit too loud for my taste, but not enough to take away from the rest of the experience!

windows 7 launched!

I’ve been following a lot of tech news sites of late and feel like it would be worthwhile writing my responses to them on my blog rather than lost forum posts. 🙂 This one’s in response to Five Ways Windows 7 Could Become another Vista on PCWorld.

Actually surprised to see one of few articles on PCWorld that isn’t glorifying Apple at the expense of Windows 7. It seems most people ignored the whole “devil’s advocate” section of his article just so that they could come here and show off their virtual biceps.

With regards to UAC, I was one of the few who was happy to have it from Vista itself. I always feel better knowing exactly what’s going on with my system files and who wants admin access and why. The result being that I’ve gone nearly my whole life and definitely my whole life on Windows Vista+ without getting a single virus. People keep attacking Windows for being insecure, but the fact of the matter is that you have to do at least a stupid thing or two to expose a hole that cannot be easily patched by Microsoft.

Regarding drivers, with Vista being around for a couple of years, most driver development has been geared towards that platform, and hence will be compatible with 7. With MS dropping XP support in a couple of years, it would make sense for device developers to focus on the Vista/7 target platform.

I disagree with the point about performance improvements. I think at least between Vista and Windows 7, Windows 7 has been much faster and much more stable all the time. I ran Vista and Windows 7RC off the same machine to test this, in a dual boot environment. Even with the Windows 7 install booting off an external HDD through eSATA, it was far and away mindblowingly faster than Vista. In fact, after two months of using both, I realized the majority of my time was spent on Windows 7 so I went ahead and upgraded my Vista installation to the RC. I’ve been using the RTM edition since around September and just got done installing it on my powerful new build. The boot time is literally on the rate of seconds right now, which is ridiculous. Of course, this is because its a new computer, but compared to a clean install of Vista, the difference is absolute and large.

Windows 7 is indeed expensive and I would feel the bite if I wasn’t an MSDN subscriber. It would be nice for them to make the price lower. But you’ve got to see at the same time that Microsoft cannot contend with Apple in the OS pricing model. Apple knows that for 99% of the purchases made for their OS, they will have made a hardware sale. Apart from the few Hackintosh builders out there, OSX only runs on Apple hardware. So they can afford to drive the price down really low because they’re going to be making a sale of a MacBook, iMac or Mac Mini. Compare this with Microsoft, who will make very few retail sales of the OS since the vast majority of the PC market purchases pre-built computers. Microsoft has made most of its money from OEM sales to the likes of HP, Dell, etc. and these prices are low so they won’t recover the costs of development. Retail buyers will feel the pinch. However, look at any professional software and you will realize that Windows 7 isn’t that ridiculous. If users are willing to shell out thousands of dollars for the Adobe Creative Suite and other specialized applications, the price tag of just about $130 on an OS doesn’t seem to ridiculous.

Direct upgrade from XP was never going to be possible and Microsoft was adamant about this from the beginning. Users who thought that MS were just joking around really shouldn’t have and should have prepared for a migration well beforehand. They can continue using XP, of course, but I would personally migrate while Microsoft still supports the XP platform since it’ll likely be a lot harder later.