Vaio S series reliability and feedback

Discussion in 'VAIO / Sony' started by Theking1, Dec 24, 2011.

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  1. Theking1

    Theking1 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi,
    I'm planning to buy a reliable and lightweight (13-14") laptop for university. I was looking at Vaio S series and Toshiba E305. I have never used any Sony laptops before.

    1) So, what do you guys think of Sony laptops in terms of reliability and customer satisfaction?
    2) Also, how do they compare to similar Toshiba and Dell models (14")?

    PS: My usage would be light-medium university-related.
    I'm planning to buy ASAP, so a sooner response would be appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops MY FRIENDS CALL ME JEFF!

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    You might get better and more diverse feedback if you posted this question in the "What Notebook Should I Buy" forum here. You fill out a questionnaire that helps you think about what's important to you and helps people advise you as to which models they think would suit you and why - and some will gladly tell you why NOT to get certain models!

    As for Sony's reliability and customer satisfaction, there are two ways to look at it:

    1) Surveys, done by publications like laptopmag.com, in which Sony usually scores mid-pack in customer support, reliability and customer satisfaction

    2) Read through a dozen pages of the Sony forum you are in and see the many bitter complaints Sony owners post about their experiences dealing with the company when their computers have problems. I won't say it's a majority of all owners, but a majority of owners who have had to deal with Sony for warranty repairs, customer support, etc have found the company to be very difficult, providing poor service, poor customer support and, in too many cases, refusing to provide warranty service at no charge, blaming owners for having damaged their own computers when clearly there is a defect in them.

    I love my Sony Z1 series, but I would never recommend it for university duty. It has been very reliable, so I have been spared dealing with Sony. The S series has had quite a bit of praise for both it's value and for at least decent build quality. That said, you're still dealing with a Sony product and I, for one, would never consider sending my son or daughter off to school with one of them. Though I'm not fond of these personally, Apple notebooks are by far and away the most reliable. Lenovo Thinkpads are extremely durable if not quite as reliable as Apple. Samsung has lately been getting very high praise for quality and value, and there support is better than average. Toshiba has a mixed reputation and part of it depends on which of their many, many lines you purchase. Dell and HP, in their Consumer models (the kinds you'll see at Best Buy and such places) have the greatest variety available, but the worst overall reliability reputation. On the other hand, their Business Class models (see below) are as different as they could be from the consumer lines in terms of quality, durability and, especially, customer support.

    Recommendation: (in addition to posting in the What Notebook Should I buy?" forum) - Get an Apple Macbook Pro, a Lenovo Thinkpad or a "business class" computer from HP (ProBook line) or Dell (Vostro or Latitude line). You can get great deals on closeouts and refurbished units from the online outlet stores each of these companies maintain and can consider them every bit as reliable and long-lasting as the newest model sealed in its original carton.

    I hope I haven't overwhelmed you! Most of this was taken from an email I wrote to a friend who asked the same question about buying a computer for his son about to enter university. (He got a Lenovo Thinkpad T420). Good luck.

    EDIT: If your school has a department that supplies and services laptops for students, take a look at what they are offering and give strong consideration to buying from them. They usually offer the kind of computers I have recommended - Apples or business class models of several vendors, particularly Lenovo, and, most important, they offer immediate and very responsive service right on campus. Most of these departments have loaners for anytime they can't repair your computer the same day and some offer good deals on 4 year service contracts to cover you for 4 years of college. They are not the least expensive way to buy the given models, though, so you may even want to find out what models they support and go buy one on your own at the manufacturer's Outlet store; the on-campus repair services will usually provide you the same service - as long as your computer is under manufacturer's warranty - whether you buy it from them or not.
     
  3. Ryuma

    Ryuma Notebook Enthusiast

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    I agree with the previous comment stating that you should check out the section wich notebook should I buy.

    Nonetheless, my Sony VAIO experience has been great so far, never been disappointed, I owned an Z11 for 4 years, never had any issue, my dad has an VAIO X CTO, it is still fuelling like hell. At my dad's home there is a VAIO F21 and my brother baught himself a VPCCB3C5E and he reports his entire satisfaction, for study purpose and light gaming. I recently bought myself an VPCSE1C5E from Sony Online Shop in Belgium and I am very happy with it, I even managed to extend the battery life on Stamina mode up to 4,5 hours (admitted, only after changing the HDD to an SSD)

    I would personally, if the notebook is only for study purposes, some internet stuff etc...go for a VPC-SB. It is cheaper than SA and with i5 - 4GB Ram - Radeon 6640m every student is fully and largely equiped for study purposes.

    Like every other notebook manufacturer, you have some production flukes and some really great stuff. On paper, VAIO is very well build and well thought by the Sony engineers.

    Edit:
    As for the service, it really depends on the country. I can only speak for myself, so Germany and Belgium, and they handled my request correctly and swift each time. I had the 'y' key on the Z11 being loose, I called them up, they told me to go to a local store, provided me with the adress and 2 hours later it was fixed. In Belgium I can even go directly to the Sony guy's as there are not far from where I live.
     
  4. jeremyshaw

    jeremyshaw Big time Idiot

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    Vaio SA has a higher res to count, too, which is useful for some people ^^

    The GPU is just an added bonus (was for me, but I don't really play games, either
     
  5. Theking1

    Theking1 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks guys for your detailed feedback and personal feedback. Appreciate it.

    After talking to a few friends of mine, I ordered Sony S 15" online, mainly due to it's light weight. Because I remember carrying my Dell Studio XPS 16 and Toshiba A100 in backup and it was too heavy on spine after a while. I really hope I do not have to contact customer support. Sony was giving a free extra battery sheet with it for $920 Canadian total pre-taxes.

    Happy holidays and new year!
     
  6. xplane9

    xplane9 Notebook Enthusiast

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    I also decided to puchase a Vaio SA after owning an Elitebook 8560p. The 6 pound weight was far too heavy. In addition, Newegg is offering a $799 deal on the silver SA :D .
     
  7. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops MY FRIENDS CALL ME JEFF!

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    Congratulations to both of you on yor decisions and your exciting purchases. It would be really useful to others, I think, if you periodically reported on the reliability and Sony support for these products. Though I advised caution using Sonys for the "harder" lives they lead doing student duty than they do, say, living primarily on a desk and being transported with some caution and care. Still, from my with several Z1s to those of friends with E models and everything in between, I concur that the products are designed well pretty well built and, if properly maintained and cared-for, can deliver years of great service.

    Just treat them like the precision instruments that they are, not quite as well protected from physical shocks and intrusion by th elements as, for example the [barkin ugly!] Thinkpad line and the heavier business class models from HP and Dell.

    Finally, I strongly recommend you consider, if you are planning on extending your warranty at all, that you look into 3 year protection, including ADH (Accidental Damage from Handling) from Square Trade, a very highly regarded (and I can vouch for them with 3 items under their coverage) third party warranty provider (exclusive for eBay and primary for Amazon) with a policy of repairing in 5 business days, or you get a check for your original purchase price. There have been some pretty grueling stories about very poor service and support from Sony (google it and you'll get a lot of owner reports from NBR and elsewhere), with weeks' delays for simple repairs and, worse, denial of warranty service with a claim of "owner abuse" for things that were well documented defects in certain products.

    I'm sure you'll make good decisions, but I thought you might benefit from the perspective. These are two great laptops you purchased. Best of luck - with school and the computers!
     
  8. boatbod

    boatbod Newbie

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    I purchased a Vaio SA in October, and sadly it's currently back at Sony for repair. It seems it bricked itself during bios update.

    No complaints about warranty service so far - they sent a box and pickup tag on their dime. Turnaround time supposedly 7 to 10 business days. We will see...

    Other than that I've been very pleased with it. Good performance and plays BF3 at medium settings.
     
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