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Event Coverage

Hands-on with the new Vaio S13 and S11 notebooks (Updated with pricing details)

By Kenny Yeo - 20 Aug 2018,6:00pm

Hands-on with the new Vaio S Series notebooks

Note: This hands-on was first published on 28th June 2018, and was updated on 16th August to include more details on local pricing and availability.

Return of the Vaio

Vaio notebooks are making comeback in Singapore soon and we got the chance to handle them recently at a special event. The official launch will take place in early August and headlining their return will be the S series. The S series is more of a commercial notebook, but their sturdiness and versatility mean they are ideal for regular folks like you and me too. Two models will be available at launch  - Vaio S11 and Vaio S13 - and here’s a closer look at the two of them.

 

Vaio S13

At just 1.07kg, the Vaio S13 is one of the lightest 13-inch notebooks around.

The Vaio S13 is so-called because it comes with a 13.3-inch IPS display. Only Full-HD resolution is available and, unfortunately, touch inputs won’t be supported. The Vaio S13 isn’t super slim by today’s standards. It is about 15mm thick but that’s mostly down to the connectivity options that it offers. In terms of weight, it is remarkably light at just 1.07kg. Very few 13-inch notebooks can match it for lightness. This is achieved using lightweight materials such as aluminum and carbon fiber in the chassis. The S13 will come in black and silver.

The Vaio S13 comes with three full-size USB 3.0 Type-A ports.

It even has an Ethernet jack and VGA port.

Speaking of chassis, the Vaio S13 offers a wealth of connectivity options that is unseen in most modern ultraportable notebooks. To begin, it has three full-size USB 3.0 Type-A ports. It also has a full-size HDMI port, an Ethernet jack, and an SD card reader. The Ethernet jack uses a clever drop-jaw mechanism. It even has a VGA port. However, there’s no USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports to be seen, which is understandable given that notebook is targeted at commercial use.

Speaking of which, the Vaio S13 was designed to be sturdy and rugged too. According to Vaio, each notebook has to undergo no less than 50 tests to ensure that it will withstand the rigors of daily use. This is similar to Lenovo’s ThinkPad notebooks, which are also subjected to stringent tests. Some tests that a Vaio S13 will undergo include a water spill test, a drop test from a height of 90cm, a corner impact test, and pressurized vibration test.

In terms of specifications, here’s what you can expect and their corresponding prices based on a Windows 10 Home operating system pre-installed (add S$100 to all configurations if you need Windows 10 Pro instead):-

Vaio S13 specifications
Display 13.3-inch IPS Full-HD
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 620
Battery life 8 hours
Processor Intel
Core i7-8550U
(1.8GHz)
Intel Core
i5-8250U
(1.6GHz)
Memory 16GB LPDDR3 8GB LPDDR3
Storage 512GB PCIe SSD 256GB PCIe SSD
LTE connectivity Yes ---
Price S$2,999 S$2,899 S$2,399 S$2,199

 

Vaio S11

The smaller Vaio S11 comes in funkier colors. This is pink.

You guessed it, the Vaio S11 comes with an 11.6-inch IPS screen. Again, no touchscreen is available and only Full-HD resolution is supported. Like the Vaio S13, the Vaio S11 is about 15mm thick. But because it has a smaller display, it is even lighter at just 850g. Nevertheless, it is made out of the same premium materials, such as aluminum and carbon fiber, as its larger sibling. Presumably, because the S11 is targeted at the fairer sex, it will come in more colors - black, silver, brown, pink, and white.

The more compact Vaio S11 also sports full-size USB 3.0 Type-A ports.

Even the compact Vaio S11 has an Ethernet jack and VGA port.

Amazingly, despite the Vaio S11’s compact size, it still comes with the same ports as the larger S13. You get three full-size USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a full-size HDMI port, an Ethernet jack (drop-jaw mechanism), an SD card reader, and a VGA port. Unfortunately, there is no USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 to be seen here either. Like the Vaio S13, the Vaio S11 is subjected to the same suite of 50 tests to ensure durability and reliability.

In terms of specifications, here’s what you can expect and their corresponding prices based on a Windows 10 Home operating system pre-inst

Vaio S11 specifications
Display 11.6-inch IPS Full-HD
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 620
Battery life 11 hours
Processor Intel
Core i7-8550U
(1.8GHz)
Intel Core
i5-8250U
(1.6GHz)
Memory 16GB LPDDR3 8GB LPDDR3
Storage 512GB PCIe SSD 256GB PCIe SSD
LTE connectivity --- Yes --- ---
Price S$2,999 S$2,799 S$2,599 S$2,299

 

First impressions

The Vaio will make its official comeback later this year in August.

The Vaio notebooks of the Sony era were known for their sleek, stylish designs and portability and it is good to see that the new Vaio notebooks will uphold this tradition. Despite being targeted at commercial and enterprise customers, the S series notebooks won’t look out of place in a hipster cafe. However, the lack of USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports could be a stumbling block for most users. That said, these notebooks look promising and could appeal to users seeking portability and durability above all else. It will be interesting to see how these new notebooks are priced and what configurations will be on offer, but we will have to wait until August for that.

Update, Aug 16:

Hong Kong-based Nexstgo Company Limited, licensing partner of the Vaio Corporation in Asia, has announced that the Vaio S series will be available exclusively at the Vaio shop at Bugis Junction and the Vaio Showcase at Clarke Quay Central (to be opened in September 2018). As listed above, the Vaio S11 starts from S$2,299, while the Vaio S13 starts from S$2,199.

To celebrate Vaio's return, the company is running the following promotions:

  • Early Bird Special – Customers who purchase the S11 or S13 stand to receive free gifts worth up to S$500 (while stocks last).
  • Extended Warranty – Customers who purchase the S11 or S13 from now till October 31 will get 24 months of warranty.
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