I had one of the first Vaio's - I know this because the serial number on the battery was 000000020! For 12 months, I was one of the smuggest laptop users around. Sony was new to the laptop game, and rather than go for the traditional no-frills black-box approach of Dell or Compaq, they'd invented something that was as much a design peice as a working computer. It was beautifully finished in mauve and metallic finish grey. It had a 14.1" TFT screen, function buttons for sleep, powersave etc., inbuilt modem, DVD ROM, and even an i-Link port, which is fantastic for connecting up digital camcorders (see my other reviews!). It even came preloaded with a whole array of software, including a quality caputure suite for downloading video and stills from a camcorder. My company was so impressed with the kit, that they went out and bought 10 of these laptops, all similar spec. It was a joy to use, quick, easily upgradeable, and I got on well with this unit for about 12 months. As did the other users... then the Sony Vaio experience went very wrong. One day, I opened up my laptop in front of a customer, to hear an awful "crack" noise, and the screen came away from the laptop - the hinge had busted. Bad luck for me, or so I thought, until over the coming 3 months, EVERY SINGLE vaio we had busted their hinges also (despite much lubricant being used on the rest after the first two had broke!). Being slightly over 1 year old, Sony kindly advised us that they were out of warranty, and would be repaired as follows: £80 for them to look at it £200 for a new hinge £40 courier fees to/from Switzerland where their repair centre is. PER LAPTOP! So we decided against this, and battled on, but slowly these machines simply self destructed. On two, the touchpads gave up the ghost, meaning that a mouse had to be plugged in, three had keyboard failures, where some keys stopped working either intermittently
or completely, and one had a complete port failure, meaning it could not be plugged into a printer, mouse, monitor, keyboard etc. For that one, Sony quoted us £900 for a new motherboard to be fitted. It stikes me that Sony didn't do their research very well into what day to day toils a laptop must withstand. It also strikes me that once their kit is out of warranty, they simply don't care, and instead want to charge you the earth so that they can obtain extra cash over an ongoing period. The fact that all of our laptops developed the same fault would not convince Sony that there was a design fault, that should be rectified for free. We eventually gave up on the Sony's and simply trashed the lot of them. These were 18-20 month old laptops, that had cost us nearly £2000 when new, they gave us little over 1 year's service, and were simply thrown in the bin at the end, as they were simply not worth fixing, or selling in such a broken state. We could not even have made one good working one from all the remnants of the others. As such, we now all use very basic Dell & Toshiba models. They don't look as good as the Sony, and they don't offer as many frills, but my Dell is now nearly 4 years old, and still goes strong, despite all the abuse it has to withstand being lugged the length and breadth of the country. I hope Sony has designed their newer ranges more carefully - but for now, my advice to anyone looking to buy a laptop is, don't under-estimate the tried and trusted names of Dell, Compaq and Toshiba. They've been making laptops for donkeys years, and know what is needed to make reliable mobile computers!
I had had many desktops before I decided to go for a laptop. I chose the Pentium 3 750Mhz with a DVD-Rom and a 15" screen. Although it was very expensive, it looked great and the 15" screen was an extremely valuable asset. As laptops go, this computer is at the top end of the spectrum and although it was a nice machine, for what I paid it wasn't the be all and end all of laptops. The first thing I noticed was that it was very heavy. I know the big screen adds much weight, but it it was still heavier than similar models with other companies. The charger broke within 8 months of purchasing it and this was a bit of a hassle to get repaired. The machine itself worked perfectly and I have had no problems there. Overall I would say that it is very good but also very expensive and not good value for money.