Sony now updates the VAIO S series by introducing a new member to the series–one with a bigger, 15-inch screen and a decent graphics card. What is particularly interesting with this laptop is not only that it’s 3 capable (without glasses) but that it weighs just over 4 pounds (2 kg). It’s not half bad on the inside either. It ships with a Sandy Bridge Core i5 or i7 CPU, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, a 640GB hard drive and an AMD Radeon HD 6630M card, which is unfortunately one of its weakest links in terms of gaming. It is similar the HD 6650 but with lower clock speeds–possibly because this unusually thin VAIO would overheat otherwise.
Engadget has already had time to review the VAIO S and it produced a 3DMark 06 score of 6,898, which is about half of what you can achieve with a GeForce GT 555M. This means that it just barely qualifies as a gaming laptop. It should be capable of most if not all current games but will no doubt run into trouble once you start turning up the detail knobs. Engadget gives it a decent 7 out of 10 overall score but concludes that its $1,000 starting price is more expensive than an Acer with the same specs. No surprises there, though, since the VAIO S is a decidedly more “premium” laptop than any that Acer produce.
In order to keep the weight to a minimum, the VAIO S uses magnesium and aluminum, which also has the side effect of making it a bit more durable, and the screen hinges are neatly hidden in order not to take attention away from what is shown on the screen. It also comes with a nice-looking backlit chiclet keyboard. The 15.5-inch screen has a full HD panel on all models and uses Sony’s usual image enhancements. To make up for lost battery time compared to its 13-inch cousins, the 15-inch VAIO S can be equipped with a separate battery slice that more than doubles the battery life, but on the other hand this will bring the weight up to par with a more average 15-inch laptop.