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Vaio SX14 Review

I by no means concept I might evaluation a Vaio pc. But right here I’m with the SX14 ($999 beginning, reviewed at $1,999), an ultrasleek pocket book that has exceeded my expectancies. The SX14 is only a few missteps clear of bringing the Vaio identify to the heights it by no means reached with Sony. This 14-inch ultrabook has a surprisingly light-weight but sturdy chassis, a vibrant 4K show and speedy efficiency. However the principle spotlight is the trade pc’s complete collection of ports.

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If the SX14’s battery lifestyles and touchpad were not so unhealthy, it might be a real choice to most sensible laptops just like the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Till then, the SX14 is a superb pc, however one most of the people must skip.

Worth and Configuration Choices

The bottom style Vaio SX14 (to be had best in silver) with an FHD show, a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD generally prices $1,299 however is lately on sale for $999. An improve to 16GB of RAM boosts the cost to $1,299.

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Content material creators who want the most productive show will wish to spend $1,699 for the 4K style with a Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. Our topped-out evaluation unit with 1TB of garage capability prices $1,999.

Design

The SX14 is without doubt one of the lightest 14-inch laptops round. At 2.three kilos, it is lighter than even the featherweight LG Gram 14 2-in-1 and a few 13-inch ultrabooks, together with the HP Spectre x360 13 and Dell XPS 13, two most sensible notebooks that won reward for his or her transportable chassis.

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The SX14 appears like a hole prop whilst you select it up, similar to the shockingly light-weight Acer Swift five (2.2 kilos). Alternatively, not like that gadget, the Vaio seems and appears like a top rate device. That is for the reason that SX14 has a robust magnesium-alloy base and carbon-fiber lid with a black-on-black colour scheme have compatibility for trade executives.

With a slender design and stealthy paint activity, the SX14 is undeniably sexy. The emblem might not be owned by means of Sony anymore, however there may be nonetheless one thing nostalgic in regards to the wavy brand decorating the SX14’s lid. The shiny branding is hid towards a coarse matte-black floor that is defined by means of a clean black border.

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You can understand one thing extraordinary taking place to the Vaio whilst you open the pc’s lid. As a substitute of resting on a flat backside panel, the Vaio sits raised on two nubs situated at the pc’s again edge. This raises the again of the deck and angles the keyboard downward for a extra relaxed typing revel in. We’ve got noticed this mechanism on a couple of different laptops, however the impact hasn’t ever been this pronounced.

With a slender design and stealthy paint activity, the SX14 is undeniably sexy.

At the proper facet of that shiny black deck are a small fingerprint sensor and a inexperienced LED-lit energy button, whilst the left facet has extra delicate Vaio branding. The SX14’s show bezels are slender on all 4 facets, and there may be simply enough space at the most sensible shelf for a webcam and microphones.

Ports

The SX14 is the one pc I have reviewed whose standout function is its ports. Severely, wanting a CD/DVD slot, there may be each and every connection it is advisable to ask for and a few you’ll be able to most likely by no means use.

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I’m going to get started with the previous: a VGA port at the proper facet of the pc. If the “Vaio” emblem wasn’t nostalgic sufficient, this old-fashioned video enter is taking me again to my formative years. Who buys a $1,000+ pc and nonetheless makes use of a VGA port? Do not inquire from me.

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Additionally at the proper facet of the pc is an Ethernet port, an HDMI enter, a USB three.1 Sort-C port, a USB three.1 Sort-A port and an SD card slot. At the left facet, you’ll be able to discover a lock slot, two USB three.zero ports and a headphone/mic jack subsequent to a DC-in jack.

Show

The SX14 has probably the most perfect shows of any ultrabook. Shiny, shiny and intensely sharp, the 14-inch, 4K matte panel is easiest for enhancing footage or binge-watching your favourite presentations.

The SX14’s panel is so sharp small drop of blood dripping down two interlocked arms used to be visual within the trailer for the horror movie It: Bankruptcy 2. In an amusement park scene, lighting fixtures woke up the evening sky with neon sunglasses of indigo blue and lime inexperienced, whilst the maroon splashes of blood throughout the toilet partitions regarded all too genuine when trailer turns from pleasure to terror. There have been just about no reflections towards the matte show, which failed to lack any of the punchy colours you generally to find on shiny monitors.

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Masking 113% of the sRGB colour gamut, the SX14’s show is masses shiny; on the other hand, the XPS 13 (119%), the MateBook X Professional (124%) and the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (201%) all have extra saturated panels. The typical top rate pc reproduces 132%.

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An outstanding height brightness of 428 nits lend a hand punch up the ones colours. Simplest the brightest pc shows, like the ones at the MateBook X Professional (458 nits) and the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (477 nits), outshine the SX14. The XPS 13 (375 nits) and the class reasonable (347 nits) are greater than 50 nits dimmer.

There is not any touch-screen style of the SX14, which is a bummer whilst you imagine its value.

Keyboard and Touchpad

I’ve a brand new favourite ultrabook keyboard.

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In spite of having simply 1.1 millimeters of commute, the SX14’s keys are very relaxed to kind on. A part of the reason being that the island-style backlit keyboard is angled downward, which places much less rigidity on my wrists.

One more reason is that, with a perfect 61 grams of actuation power, the keys really feel cushy but they have got a nice clickiness. The entirety else is ready reasonable: the keys are not too large or too small, and they are spaced in order that even the ones with large arms would possibly not really feel cramped.

I’ve a brand new favourite ultrabook keyboard.

I hit 122 phrases consistent with minute with a 94% correct price at the 10fastfingers.com typing check. The ones effects are sooner however relatively extra error-prone than my conventional 119 wpm, 95% accuracy rankings.

However my pleasure with the keyboard is greater than offset by means of the bleak touchpad beneath it. At simply three.1 x 1.nine inches, this is without doubt one of the smallest touchpads we now have noticed on any pc. Including insult to damage are the tiny and stiff discrete clickers beneath the touchpad. Precision Drivers lend a hand with responsiveness, however the touchpad is so small that I had hassle pulling up the Motion Middle the use of Home windows 10 gestures.

Efficiency

I will’t keep in mind the remaining time I examined a pc shrugged off my real-world efficiency assessments because the SX14 did. 16 RAM-hungry Google Chrome tabs had been loaded in a snap, and there wasn’t even a touch of lag once I performed two YouTube movies, a Twitch circulation and, in honor of Ninja’s wavering allegiance, a Mixer circulation, every at 1080p answer.

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Feeling defeated, I then opened a separate Chrome browser and pulled up 12 extra tabs, just for the SX14 to in an instant load them as though it had been simply getting warmed up.

If I might taken a more difficult take a look at the SX14’s benchmark rankings then I shouldn’t have been so shocked by means of its speedy efficiency. The SX14 overwhelmed our assessments, scoring a 14,887 at the Geekbench four.three benchmark, which tops the 14,692 class reasonable. The MateBook X Professional (13,769, Core i7-8550U) and the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (14,517, Core i7-8650U) fell wanting that mark, whilst the XPS 13 (14,936, Core i7-8565U) simply edged out the Vaio.

The SX14 prolonged its lead over the contest in our video-transcoding check by means of changing a 4K video into 1080p answer in simply 16 mins and 46 seconds. No longer best does that overwhelm the class reasonable (22:38) nevertheless it additionally outpaces the MateBook X Professional (27:18), the XPS 13 (19:20) and the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (18:38) by means of a just right margin.

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It will get even higher from there. The 1TB PCIe SSD throughout the SX14 transferred four.97GB of mixed-media information in a gold-metal time of seven seconds for a price of 727 megabytes consistent with 2d. None of its competition — the MateBook X Professional (282.7 MBps, 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD), the XPS 13 (565 MBps, PCIe SSD) and the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (508.nine MBps, NVMe SSD) — or the class reasonable (559.6 MBps) were given just about that form of tempo.

Graphics

As one would be expecting of a pc with built-in UHD 620 graphics, the SX14 is not supposed for avid gamers. That mentioned, older video games and graphic design device mustn’t reason the SX14 any issues.

At the 3DMark Ice Typhoon Limitless check, the SX14 landed a rating of 82,254, which is simply shy of the consequences from the XPS 13 (88,472, UHD 620), the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (85,477, UHD 620) and the class reasonable (85,746). Supplied with a GeForce MX150 GPU, the MateBook X Professional (116,359) predictably triumphed in this graphics check.

Our Filth three rally automobile drifted round corners at 33 frames consistent with 2d at the SX14. Whilst that is safely above our 30-fps playability threshold, the sport performed a lot smoother at the MateBook X Professional (117 fps), XPS 13 (88 fps), the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (64 fps) and the typical top rate pc.

Audio

The ground-firing audio system at the entrance of the SX14 are vulnerable and sound hole. The midrange and vocals in From Indian Lakes’ “No One Else” had been skinny and shrill whilst the low-end drum kicks lacked any form of oomph. Probability the Rapper’s “Sizzling Summer season” sounded transparent sufficient however the audio system failed to present the up-tempo track any power and so they could not fill a medium-size room, even at complete quantity.

Battery Lifestyles

A slender, light-weight pc with a shiny 4K show and a U-series processor? You’ll most likely bet what this implies for battery lifestyles. Sadly, the SX14 pulled off no miracles on our battery check (steady Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness), lasting a pedestrian four hours and 27 mins, which is sort of part the top rate pc reasonable (eight:15).

We do not be expecting laptops with 4K shows to remaining just about so long as 1080p fashions, however there is no different solution to lower it: The SX14’s runtime is unacceptable for an ultraportable pc. Competing machines, just like the XPS 13 with a 4K show (7:50), the MateBook X Professional (nine:55) and the ThinkPad X1 Yoga (nine:07), be offering close to or greater than two times the battery lifestyles.

Webcam

It is higher than any nosecam we now have examined, however that is about all I will say in regards to the SX14’s 720p webcam. My beard used to be a neat, undetailed black blob, however an erroneous depiction of my unkempt facial hair.

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There used to be additionally a large amount of visible noise within the symbol, even because the midafternoon daylight streaked into our dimly lit administrative center, giving the lens quite a lot of gentle to paintings with. The lens did a good activity taking pictures the pink of my T-shirt however there used to be noticeable persistent aberrations, or a blue glow, round items.

Warmth

The SX14’s lifted deck no longer best makes typing extra relaxed, nevertheless it additionally is helping cool this slender ultrabook. The keyboard heated to a relaxed 78 levels Fahrenheit once we performed a 15-minute complete HD video in complete display screen. Different places, like the middle of the keyboard (85 levels) and the ground panel (96 levels), had been somewhat hotter, however no longer scorching to touch.

Device and Guaranty

There are not all that many systems preinstalled at the SX14. Vaio packaged the entire gadget controls right into a program known as Regulate Middle. Right here, you’ll regulate energy and battery settings, alternate your enter software and select whether or not to stay the USB port charging peripherals when the Vaio is off. There may be additionally a glitchy clipping instrument that is no higher than Microsoft’s Snip & Cartoon app.

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At the matter of Microsoft apps, the SX14 has a lite model of your conventional Home windows 10 Professional bloatware, despite the fact that you’ll be able to nonetheless run into a couple of Sweet Weigh down video games, LinkedIn and Netflix.

Vaio ships the SX14 with a one-year guaranty.

Backside Line

I did not know what to anticipate when this Vaio landed on my table. The emblem had modified arms because the remaining time I might noticed a pc decorated with that iconic brand, and I did not know a lot in regards to the new proprietor. However with the SX14, the Vaio emblem feels love it’s rounding a nook.

The SX14 is as sexy as any ultrabook available on the market, each aesthetically and for its portability. Mix that graceful design with a beautiful 4K show, speedy efficiency and a relaxed keyboard, and the Vaio identify has our consideration as soon as once more. However it is the loopy collection of ports at the SX14’s tiny chassis that leaves us bewildered but inspired.

Sadly, the SX14’s quick staying power and tiny touchpad stay it from being a real competitor to main notebooks, just like the XPS 13 or the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Alternatively, I am stunned at how shut it got here and excited to look what comes subsequent.

Credit score: Pc Magazine

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