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Item#: N82E16834127584

SONY Laptop VAIO SA Series VPCSA3AFX/BI Intel Core i5 2430M (2.40 GHz) 4 GB Memory 500 GB HDD AMD Radeon HD 6630M 13.3" Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit

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  • Intel Core i5 2430M (2.40 GHz)
  • 4 GB Memory 500 GB HDD
  • AMD Radeon HD 6630M
  • 1600 x 900
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
  • DVD±R/RW

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  • Overview
  • Specifications
  • Warranty & Returns
  • Reviews

Learn more about the Sony VAIO VPCSA3AFX/BI

Warranty, Returns, And Additional Information
  • Warranty
  • Limited Warranty period (parts): 1 year
  • Limited Warranty period (labor): 1 year
  • Read full details

Customer Reviews of the Sony VAIO VPCSA3AFX/BI

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5 out of 5 eggsLove it

Pros: I bought this laptop for the form factor and the price, First thing i did was wipe the OS and fresh install, Sony Support was extremely helpful (Suprisingly) and helped me fix a couple minor issues (The keys beep when you use the FN keys, they told me how to fix it). Runs SC2 and lasts through a full day of classes. 1600x900 screen resolution makes it actually be useful for working on papers and other things where you want multiple windows available. Back lit keyboard is automatic, having a physical graphics switch is actually nice because there is no messing around with software configs for switchable graphics. The HD3000 is good for everything you would need outside of gaming and possibly adobe stuff, depending what you're doing

Cons: the 4gb of ram is integrated into the main board, but i knew that going in. the two top corners on the lid are kind of sharp.

Other Thoughts: I want to take out the optical drive, put in an HDD caddy, run the 500 gb drive as a storage drive, and an ssd as a boot drive. I'll have to wait a bit because I don't want to pay $50 for the special adapter so i'll have to make my own when i have time.

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  • David R.
  • 2/24/2012 6:07:23 AM
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week

4 out of 5 eggsA couple more details...

Pros: I just wrote another review of this laptop, but I ran out of space before I got to cover all my points.

A few other quibbles:

The webcam. To me, a webcam is a webcam, and after tweaking the settings a bit, it doesn't look too bad. However, it's certainly not the best webcam I've ever seen.

Also, the bezel surrounding the display is quite wide; I wonder whether they could have either made the machine smaller or put in a 14" edge-to-edge panel a la the Sammy Series 7 Chronos.

Connectivity is fine for the most part, but I kinda miss having Firewire and Expresscard (although I never used them anyway on my last laptop). Also, to my knowledge, the headphone jack is output-only, so you'll need a USB adapter to hook up a mic. Finally, I have no idea why Sony still puts Memory Stick slots on their laptops.

The keyboard, while very comfortable, can be noisy.

Cons: It might sound from all my small complaints that I'm unhappy with this laptop, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. I'm just something of a perfectionist (as a computer engineer myself), and the reality is that no machine is perfect. However, this machine comes darn close, covering all the major points. If I could change one thing, it would be the trackpad--I do miss my Synaptics--but it's a small trade-off.

I was initially thinking of waiting for the Ivy Bridge ultrabook lineup for four reasons: faster CPU, faster GPU, more models with high-res screens, and longer battery life. After seeing this machine, I decided that it basically does all that--after all, a stock voltage Sandy Bridge paired with a dedicated GPU will kill a low-voltage Ivy, even with faster integrated graphics, and with a sheet battery, this laptop lasts longer than ultrabooks, too. The VAIO SA may not be quite as sleek or popular as an ultrabook, but I'm very happy with my decision.

Other Thoughts: I just ordered a HDD caddy for the optical bay (Google "VAIO SA optical bay caddy"), a 128GB Sammy 830 SSD, and an extra 4GB of RAM. I plan to take out the optical drive, move the 500GB disk into the optical bay (better airflow), and then stick the SSD in the hard drive bay (SATA III connector in there, but not in the optical bay). Sadly, I'm told that the latest BIOS release disabled SATA III, but hopefully I can come up with a workaround. If not, it's not a dealbreaker--the SSD will just saturate the SATA II bus.

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  • David R.
  • 2/24/2012 5:47:12 AM
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week

4 out of 5 eggsThe closest I've found to a perfect laptop...

Pros: - Fast. CPU breezes through basically anything I throw at it. Switchable graphics means I can play all my games with decent settings and at native resolution

- Portable. Very slim and light, even with the sheet battery (included in the version I got). I also get at least 10 hours of solid use out of it with the sheet battery, set to nearly full brightness and used for continuous web browsing and word processing. This means I can get through an entire day without my charger. I'm sure I could get another couple hours by throttling down the CPU and dimming the display

- The screen. I am slightly obsessed with resolution, and this machine is one of the very few sub-14" notebooks out there with a 1600x900 panel

- The keyboard. Supremely comfortable, almost Thinkpad-esque. Plus it's backlit, which, as a touch typist, is way more useful than I ever expected it would be

- Overall excellent build quality. Magnesium/aluminum construction feels pretty sturdy, with minimal fl

Cons: - The touchpad. It's an ALPS model, and while it's not terrible, it's not great, either. Coming from a laptop with a Synaptics pad, both the drivers and the digitzer are inferior (think stair-stepping). The stock drivers lack any kind of two-finger scroll function, and the included gestures are weak. I ended up getting version 7.106.2015.1104 for the Acer 1830T, which gave me two-finger scroll and two-finger swipe for browser navigation. Sadly, the two finger swipe was limited to IE and *Netscape* (what is this, the 90s?), so I had to attack the driver with a hex editor to get it to control Firefox. Still working on getting it to work with Windows Explorer. At least it has actual buttons

- The speakers. Pretty poor, with OK volume, but no bass whatsoever. Got a small external speaker which sounds much better

- The charger. For an ultraportable, they could have come up with a less clunky transformer brick. That said, I never have to carry it with me due to the excellent battery l

Other Thoughts: Build quality is good overall, but on my unit (black), the paint on the left and right edges of the palmrest has flaked off in a few tiny areas after only a day or two of use. This is hardly noticeable (probably even less so on the silver unit), but it shouldn't happen on a new machine

Some people complain about the fan noise; I find that the machine is quite quiet overall. The fan only really becomes loud during heavy processing, and even then it's no louder than my last laptop. The machine doesn't stay ice-cold, but it doesn't get scorching hot, either, which is a major accomplishment for a machine with this size/spec combo

Screen is overall very good, esp. given the res. As some people have mentioned, the viewing angles aren't phenomenal, but it doesn't bother me when I'm working. If you think the display looks bad, try turning off Intel Power Saving Tech; it messes with the image quality to save a tiny amt of battery. Also, the hinge seems fine to me, if a hair loose

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Charles D.
  • 2/9/2012 12:03:07 PM
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

2 out of 5 eggsgood laptop for gamers

Pros: see other thoughts

Cons: see other thoughts

Other Thoughts: it games. all this device does it is run games. and actually i thought the performance would be excellent webbrowsing ms word or ppt. unfortunately i came across frequent crashes from plugins from google chrome and irritating freezes that would takes 30 seconds just to refresh. i thought it was a good laptop looking at the specs. in reality.. its just an avg laptop with a good graphics card. bought it for school and for fun... i rather just all out in school and return this junk

0 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Jun Z.
  • 1/29/2012 3:07:55 PM
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggsExcellent Machine

Pros: -Good deal at $749
-Lightweight and solid build

Cons: -Slightly subpar viewing angles

Other Thoughts: Don't believe all the one stars reviews. The fan noise is fine when doing normal tasks. Put it in silent mode in the Vaio Control Center and update the bios. My SA is nearly silent when web browsing.

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  • Jonathan S.
  • 1/29/2012 11:43:40 AM
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsLove It!

Pros: On average I travel about 20,000 miles or so per year for business and usually carry two laptops with me; my personal one and my business laptop. My laptop bag usually weighs a good 30lbs easy because of this. Also my old Toshiba was starting to die on me so needed a new replacement. This fit the bill.

1) Weighs incredibly light compared to my Dell E6400 and Toshiba Satellite (can't recall the model)
2) Installed extra 4GB RAM when I bought it; simply flies! Photoshop and Lightroom can both be going full speed with zero noticeable drain on CPU/RAM.
3) Perfect size for traveling and carrying around town.
4) Has a HDMI connection to hook into the TV when staying out of town (for movies)
5) Has BlueTooth connectivity built-in making it easy to sync media between the laptop and my Android phone (using WinAmp).
6) Has a docking station available for it which is great for when I am at home (I have a separate monitor for duel-screen setup)
7) Battery life is simply amazing!

Cons: 1) Speakers are very poor quality in my opinion.
2) Screen does bleed some-what.
3) Has some bloatware (like all companies provide)
4) Smudge/finger print magnet

The cons are not enough for me to reduce the overall rating. The only time I am not using my earbuds is when I am at home and connected to my home stereo system (via docking station).
Also the screen bleed is not enough to really make a huge difference to me.

Quality of the screen is good enough for quick/simple photo editing. Best to leave the high quality work for a dedicated IPS monitor though. Movies play beautiful even with the slight screen bleed.

Other Thoughts: Highly highly recommend installing a 2nd stick of RAM the moment you buy this. I bought this + a 4GB of RAM (G.SKILL) and had both delievered to the hotel where I am staying at. Used it with just the stock 4GB of RAM the first night and installed the RAM the next day at work when I had access to a Phillips screw driver (needed to remove back panel).

The difference is simply night and day. Photoshop loads easily 3x as fast with the extra RAM and I can be exporting 100 TIF photos from LightRoom and running an automated preset/script in Photoshop on 50 large TIF files without any drag on the laptop. Love it and do not regret buying this laptop.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

1 out of 5 eggsWorst ever laptop

Pros: -Lightweight

Cons: - Battery life is very bad
- After using for 30 minutes it became very hot and also fan is too noisy
-Performance is extremely poor

Other Thoughts: Don't buy if really need good performance or less noisy laptop

0 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Mircea C.
  • 1/19/2012 10:13:01 AM
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
  • Verified Owner

2 out of 5 eggsKind of disappointing

Pros: Fast laptop.
Switchable between high/low performance graphics.
Integrated decent graphics card.
Back lit keyboard.
Removable DVD writer.

Cons: Screen quality is disappointingly low. Not only the image is washed out, but the viewing angles are bad. Compared to a Dell Vostro 5 years old (!) it is so much worse. It also has the worst blacks I've ever seen, making it the worst LCD screen I've seen.

Screen bezel feels unreasonably wide for the size class of this laptop.

Other Thoughts: I had my doubts about Sony from before, but this made me decide to not buy from them again.

0 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Gabriel R.
  • 1/18/2012 3:41:50 PM
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
  • Verified Owner

3 out of 5 eggsNice. But SATA is cripled now.

Pros: Great form factor.
1GB graphics -- and hybrid switchable!
Nice battery life.
Lit Keyboard.
Perfect size for traveling.

Cons: Sony has just crippled its SATA 3 capabilities down to SATA 2 in the last couple BIOS updates.
The keyboard buttons don't work very well. The left click is significantly more difficult to push than the right click.

Other Thoughts: The SATA problem is immensely disappointing to someone who regularly edits CAD files up to 300MB. I feel obligated to tell people about the SATA III problem because I would have looked elsewhere had I known.

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  • Carol C.
  • 1/14/2012 10:37:04 AM
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

3 out of 5 eggsI want to love this laptop

Pros: -Small and light
-Intel WiDi works almost flawlessly except you must be in stamina mode to run WiDi which means you can't really play many hardware intensive games while having a TV or movie on in the background.
- Backlit Keyboard is helpful
- High resolution display
- The laptop looks great if you are a fan of matte black. I hate gloss.

Cons: - Switching from stamina to speed/performance mode is bothersome, you have to close down most of your running programs and currently I am having trouble getting it to switch, going to clean install to fix it.
- So much useless bloatware or programs that need to be told to shut the hell up
- No mic input! I don't know how I missed that when reading about this laptop but I feel I missed a lot of info when reading up on it.
- On board mic is useless because its next to some fan in the case so if you want to talk to a friend while playing a game, good luck.
- The vertical viewing angle is terrible. The horizontal viewing angle is fine. You would think if they had to make some sacrifices they would sacrifice horizontal instead of vertical considering it's a laptop.
- Battery life in no way hits 7hrs even on Stamina mode with screen brightness turned down and all peripherals off. I've been able to get 4 hours which I have no problem with if they would just advertise honestly.

Other Thoughts: I enjoy Sony laptops. I still have sony laptops that are 10 years old and running and I like this laptop enough not to sell it but it certainly has some drawbacks that keep me from loving it. Also make sure you make a backup of your laptop when you get it so you don't pay Sony 60 bucks for the recovery discs. I haven't bought a laptop in so long I forgot to do this, stupid mistake. Overall this laptop has not been a smooth ride. I had some weird blue screen issues when installing AVG and other problems.

0 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

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Item#: N82E16834127584
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