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A Closer Look at Sony's First Ultrabook, the VAIO T

A Closer Look at Sony's First Ultrabook, the VAIO T

A Closer Look at Sony's First Ultrabook, the VAIO T

Today, Sony announced the launch of four new VAIO series notebooks, among them, its first Ultrabook, the Sony VAIO T. Sony is one of the last major notebook manufacturers to hop on the Ultrabook bandwagon, but with the unveiling of the VAIO T, you can now consider them fully on-board.

Available in 11 or 13-inch form factor, the Sony VAIO T offers all the usual selling points we've come to expect from Ultrabooks (such as a low-voltage Intel processor, and 32GB SSD drive), combined with excellent connectivity options and Sony VAIO styling, all at a very reasonable price of S$1299 - yes, both the 11 and 13-inch models will retail for the same price.

Both models will utilize the same specs: an Intel Ivy Bridge i5-3317U (1.7GHz) processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB 5400RPM SATA HDD and 32GB SSD. Screen resolution on both sadly remains at 1366 x 768 pixels.

Connectivity is fairly comprehensive too: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, VGA, HDMI, RJ-45, multi-card reader and a headphone/microphone combo are available on both models.

The 11-inch model weighs 1.42kg, while the 13-inch comes in at 1.60kg. Picking up the 13-inch model confirmed that, while still light, it's definitely one of the heavier Ultrabooks out there. 

Upon flipping up the VAIO T's screen, we found a one-piece magnesium alloy interior with a chiclet keyboard and clickpad. Interestingly, where most manufacturers opt for a glass or similarly smooth finish on the track pad, Sony has gone for a textured finish. In our brief hands-on, it felt a bit rough, but seemed to track accurately. We did think it could have been a bit taller though.

Sony has also added some interesting software to the VAIO T. One nice addition is gesture control, which lets you control the computer with hand movements (think Microsoft Kinect).

With the software enabled, swiping from left to right in front of the web camera will flick through images or web pages. Pulling downwards will pause videos or slideshows, while rotating left or right will increase or decrease music volume. You probably don't want to be gesturing wildly in front of your computer in public, but we gave the feature a go and it's a nice addition that seemed to work well.

Overall, our first impressions were positive, although, we couldn't help think that with Sony's history of design, especially on the VAIO line, they could have done something a bit more inspired than the MacBook Air lookalike for their first Ultrabook.

We did see some nice touches, such as the accent strip of mirror-finished metal at the base of the lid, which also serves to hide the joint between the lid and base, but overall, it's impossible not to make any MacBook Air comparisons.

We would have liked to see a higher screen resolution, as well as an all-metal chassis (the plastic base somewhat detracts from the premium look of the lid), but for its price point, the VAIO T certainly looks like a worthy entry into the Ultrabook market.

Of course, we'll give you a more comprehensive answer as to whether the VAIO T is worth your money when we get our hands on a review unit, so look out for our full review coming soon!

The 11-inch Sony VAIO SVT11113 will be available for S$1,299 in mid-June, with the 13-inch SVT13115 (also priced at S$1,299) at end June.