Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
January 16, 200811:39 PM

Apple MacBook Air Versus My Sony Vaio

In yesterday's post - MacBook Air - Apple Does It Again... And Me Wants - I was all hot and bothered by Steve Jobs from Apple and his announcement about the new Apple MacBook Air - an ultra-portable laptop. As you can read by the comments, plus the general reviews available all over the Web, Apple does what it does best - creates a brand that people either love or loathe.

I think I can add a different perspective to the current views because I am the owner of a Sony Vaio VGN-TZ160C. I owned the older version of the Sony Vaio ultra-portable laptop and, ultimately, I'm a huge fan of these types of laptops.

What do I look for? Good memory, speed, long battery life, keyboard and the screen.

Now, let it be said, I have been looking for the right reason to switch from PC to Mac. I felt like it happened yesterday with the launch of the MacBook Air, but I'm having second thoughts for these reasons:

- After two hours of using my Sony Vaio yesterday, I still had close to seven hours remaining according to the battery indicator. The way I travel and the flight delays I have been stuck in, the battery is a huge priority for me. So, although the MacBook Air claims a 5 hour battery, it's still not even close to the Vaio.

- Form factor. The thinnest part of the Vaio is the thickest part of the MacBook Air. That may seem like a lot, but the Vaio is really, really thin and I'm willing sacrifice that extra thickness for my built-in CD/DVD drive. When I need to install software, when I want to watch a DVD on a flight, I'm always happy to have the drive available. While the promise of Remote Disc sounds good in theory, I'm hardly around other systems to install software on, and then remotely link them to get a CD install going. It's simply not convenient for me. I know Apple is also selling an external drive, but I moved to the Sony from the original Toshiba Portege's to avoid exactly that.

Other than that, the specs are pretty similar. Both screens look great. I prefer the smaller screen of the Sony Vaio (simply because the entire laptop takes up less space), and they both have a built-in camera at the top of the screen.

If Sony could steal the awesome multi-touch feature of the trackpad, the backlight on the keyboard and the instant-on function, it would be the perfect laptop.

As for the, "yeah, but you have to deal with Microsoft Vista" comments, I don't have an issue. I've been on a PC forever and I quite like the Windows platform. I've even resolved any major Vista issues by using the ReadyBoost function to add ghost memory via a SD Card.

That all being said, I do have my gripes with Windows, but by following the Blogosphere, it's nothing more (or less) than the complains and strains people are having with Apple's OS.

So, what's the final verdict? I want to actually play with the MacBook Air before passing final judgement (and buying one), but from checking out the Apple site, watching the Guided Tour and flipping through a bunch of other Blog postings, it seems like my Sony Vaio still suits the job. Plus, if I can't use my Podcast production software (CastBlaster) on a Mac, that's anther showstopper for me.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by steve clayton
    Mitch Joel

    totally agree with you - the TZ would benefit from the backlit keyboard but that aside it's an awesome machine.

    with 2GB RAM I don't use ReadyBoost and also switch Superfetch off to improve perf.

    Reply
  • Posted by Denis Canuel
    Mitch Joel

    Are there any other backlit keyboard laptops other than the Macbook and the Dell XPS 1730 out there?

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    As for CastBlaser: I now purchased Ãœbercaster and I quite like it, I guess it's what's close to CastBlaster.

    Of course you can also use Parallels to emulate Windows and use it nevertheless.

    You might be right about the other points. Add to that maybe a missing Ethernet plug and only 1 USB port. I actually have a Macbook Pro and for me that's all I need for most times.

    For blogging and some browsing e.g. in a cafe it might be nice to have a lighter laptop but I now ordered a Eee which should do the job and is far cheaper than the Air.

    Reply
  • Posted by Shai Idelson
    Mitch Joel

    I agree with Mitch; the Air may not provide a good enough value to warrant such a high price but I personally believe that by discussing the machine itself, we may be missing the main lesson that we can learn from the past few days.

    The fact that the blogsphere and the traditional media have been obsessed with the keynote in general and with Air specifically is far more important than the actual quality or value of the product.

    Apple's ability to get us all to talk about Air is what's remarkable here.
    They have gone "social" without even trying to go social.

    This shows us that a truly powerful brand can transcend any specific media tool and can exert its influence across many different channels.

    Think about it: would we even be having this discussion about a new HP or Dell product?

    The questions I have been asking myself is, why?
    Why does Apple have such an influence?
    The easy answer would be: because it has many brand evangelists.


    I think there's more to it than that.


    What are your thoughts?
    why are we having these conversation about a laptop that 95% of us are never going to purchase?

    Reply
  • Posted by Len Edgerly
    Mitch Joel

    I have a Vaio TZ, also, Mitch, and I've loved it, although I switched to Mac two years ago on the basis of another Keynote, when The Jobs introduced the MacBook Pro. The TZ weighs 1.8 pounds compared with 3 pounds for the Air, but I have to say, having held an Air in my hands at Macworld, it's got an X factor that makes the Vaio seem like yesterday's big new thing. Simply put, it's gorgeous. It looks gorgeous, it feels gorgeous, it nearly SMELLS gorgeous. And, finally, it's a Mac, so I can take all my podcasting tools with me in a svelte package (I don't use Castblaster), and look forward to causing a scene at my local Starbucks the way the Vaio TZ used to.

    Reply
  • Len, your comment is the exact reason I'm holding judgement until I can play with it. There's always that X Factor of actually feeling what it can do.

    Christian, I'll take a look at Ubercaster as well.

    I use my Nokia N810 - it's an Internet Tablet, but because it is only wifi, it does have limitations, and while I'd love to be in a truly wireless world, I can't tell you how many times I have been presenting using both a wired and wireless connection and I have to revert back to the wired link for optimal performance.

    That's an issue too.

    Reply
  • Posted by Go-Gulf
    Mitch Joel

    I am on my MacBook right now (black, 2.2 GHz with the 160 gig HD) and I have to say it is one of the best purchases I have ever made. It does everything I want it to do. I edit photos, music, and movies on it. Type papers on it. Even play games on it, most stuff shy of counterstrike and some other fps online games. I love it and highly recommend it. I don't know why people complain about its performance because I can have something like 8 high demand programs running at the same time and it works fine.

    Reply
  • The way to do this is through updates and upgrades usually.
    The 13 inch laptop that we received looked even slimmer.
    Alternatively, download and install more compatible drivers from the manufacturer.

    Reply
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