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Sony Vaio K415B

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      13.11.2011 18:45
      Very helpful



      A well designed laptop

      I needed a new laptop that was cheap and would be able to handle a number of tasks at once as I rarely just have one window open. When I saw this I figured it would suit what I needed as it has a good processor and it was a Sony laptop so I knew it would be well designed and built.

      Processor: Intel Celeron D 345/3.06 GHz
      Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
      Screen: 15.4" TFT
      Graphics: ATI Radeon IGP345M Shared Video Memory (UMA)
      RAM: 512 MB (installed)/1 GB (maximum)
      Hard drive: 40GB
      Disk Drive: DVD±RW (+R double layer)
      Wi-Fi: Yes
      Card Reader: Yes
      Battery: 1.8 hours
      USB: 3
      Weight: 3.7 KG

      The laptop is silver in colour and looks really good. The screen is 15.4" and at 35.7 cm x 27.8 cm x 5.5 cm it's about normal size for a laptop, although perhaps slightly deeper than most.

      It has a small catch at the front to keep the lid and base together and this can easily be slid to the side to open the laptop up. The screen and area around it is black and the screen is reflective while the edge is dull. Even though it is reflective when off there is no reflection when the laptop is on. The base is silver with a black keyboard. The speaker and fan are at the back with a button to the far right to turn the laptop on. In front of that is the keyboard and then the mouse is in the centre in front of that.

      The DVD drive is on right hand side. My first laptop had it at the front so you had to make sure it didn't hit you when you opened it, so having it at the side on this laptop was much better. At the front it has a memory card slot and a switch that says on/off for the Wi-Fi. The fan is on the left hand side so all the hot air goes out the side, which is the best place for the fan in my opinion. There are also other ports such as the USB slots, audio, Ethernet and card reader on the left hand side and back of the laptop.

      The laptop is well designed and the only thing that really lets it down is the weight, which is 3.7KG.

      I tend to run a number of programs at once and sometimes quite big programs too so I needed a laptop that could process everything. With a 3.06GHz processor I figured this should be able to handle a number of tasks at once and it does, although when used for a long time it does seem to get slower but that's the same with many computers/laptops.

      RAM (memory):
      It comes with 512mb of RAM, but can be upgraded to 1GB, which mine has been. This is fine for running XP or below, but I wouldn't recommend trying to run Vista or Windows 7 on it. While 512mb is fine for running XP and programs on it well I'd suggest upgrading it to 1GB as it makes quite a bit of difference.

      Hard drive:
      I have a habit of saving many files to my computer so I wanted a good sized hard drive, but with a 40GB hard drive it's not really enough for me. However, if you don't have many files or only really have Microsoft Office files like Word documents then a 40GB hard drive will last a while and you can buy external hard drives or memory cards really cheap now if you do need more.

      The battery isn't very good, although it depends exactly what you are doing on the laptop. On average for just surfing the Internet or using Microsoft Office it lasts about 20 minutes. I've never know it last longer, but I didn't have the laptop from new. However, according to the specification it only lasts for 1.8 hours which isn't great. It gives a warning when it only has 10 minutes remaining which is helpful as it gives you chance to plug it into the mains before it turns off.

      The keyboard is easy to use, but it felt like it was set a bit far back to start with and took some getting used to. Typing on the keyboard was fine, but when I first got it the keyboard had slipped slightly under the edge so when I pressed the F keys at the top they often got stuck. Pressing other F keys next to the stuck one sometimes pushed it back up, but once I did get the F5 key stuck so it kept refreshing the page over and over and it took a minute to get it back out. After moving the keyboard to where it should be I didn't have that problem, but the top buttons are still very close to the edge and I tend not to use them.

      The mouse is very responsive and the pad is a good size. The pad is silver like the rest of the base. The touchpad dips in slightly so you can clearly see where it is. It then has two buttons underneath like a normal mouse. These work well, although I have found that the left hand button doesn't press properly in the corner and you have to press it closer to the centre usually to get it to work, but I think that's just because I always used to just click it on the edge.

      You can buy this laptop from ebay from upwards of about £80, depending on condition and whether it's been upgraded.

      I have since bought a new laptop as I needed a better specification and decided it would be easier to buy another rather than upgrade this, but I do spend a lot of time on the computer and use many media files so it would probably be better for someone who doesn't spend so much time on it. Overall this laptop looks great and it has a much faster processor than most laptops.


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