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Pros: - Great battery life (later)
- Super thin AND great battery life!
- full-size spacing on keys
- Tight integration between hardware and Windows 8 (even some 8.1 features done Sony-style on Windows 8.0)
- Screen lifts for the most part with one hand (better than I could have expected)
- brightness is decent
- Carbon fiber build seems flimsy (because it bends) but actually feels and appears to be durable (if that makes sense)
- Really light.
- Did I mention that it's really thin and light?
Cons: - Yes, there is a known WiFi issue. Supposedly, Sony is working on a fix though not all their stores and call centers are familiar with it. However, that being said, I did not experience any major issues. Just in case, I have a WiFi adapter I can use if needed.
- For me: lack of Thunderbolt port is a disappointment but I understand that Sony had to sacrifice some things for such a thin laptop. I would have preferred Thunderbolt over HDMI but that is just me and the market supports the decision to stick with HDMI right now.
- Lack of Gb Ethernet. Really wished it had this but a lot of ultrabooks are forgoing this option these days. To overcome this, I purchased a nifty Asus USB router (see below under travel)
- The large amount of flex in the build makes using the touchscreen difficult to use or at least not as "seamless" as it could be. The screen vibrates back and forth a lot with each press making for a slightly uncomfortable but bearable experience. It certainly does not replace a tablet feel (nor is it meant to so no stars deducted). It's just that it feels like the touchscreen could have been left out altogether but I must admit I still use it extensively over the touchpad (but maybe not over a travel mouse).
- The sheet battery is not flush to the device (more on that below under the "extended battery" section).
- The keyboard is a little awkward for me, but to be fair, I'm accustomed to a 12.1" netbook keyboard. The keys for me are spaced too far apart but I can still type pretty fast and it doesn't seem like it will take a lot of getting used to.
- The lights for the backlit keyboard are visible from underneath the keys when you are looking at the device. It's kind of annoying and I wish it were just the letters that were lit instead of an outline of the keys.
- Silly dedicated "assist" button launches Sony's troubleshooting and repair/recovery apps. I'd rather be able to customize a dedicated hardware button (and maybe I can?)
Other Thoughts: Extended Sheet battery thoughts:
Honestly, I have mixed feelings. Since there are really no pictures for this model, I thought I would post this so you have a good idea of what it is like. I will post a picture soon as well. For starters, it does NOT sit flush with the laptop. In other words, it adds a significant amount of depth (almost double) but at least it is a smaller footprint and not the whole side of the laptop. It serves as a stand while it is attached. One thing I do wish: the cover for the connector for the extended battery can be difficult to remove form the laptop (it has a spot to reattach to the extended batteyr to hold it in place but even that is a pain to do in a hurry. If I have to switch batteries in a hurry or switch to the extended, it can be irritating. A sliding cover would have been more practical (but I'm not sure if it's feasible space-wise)
Travel and portability thoughts:
For me, extended batteries are almost a necessity and I'm so used to just ordering them that I ordered it with the device. As I am using this, I am actually thinking I wouldn't need it if I were just replacing my netbook/laptop. Since the sheet battery adds such significant battery life, I might use it to replace what I normally defer to my Asus TF300T tablet for (notes, travel, work on airplanes/trains, etc.).
I will update this review soon--I have ordered two different MacBook Air cases and will see how they fare.
I also ordered the Asus WL-300NUL pocket WiFi router. This can be used in much the same way as the Sony part I mentioned above with the added benefit that it can also be used as a USB ethernet adapter and standard WiFi adapter as well.
For travel, I also ordered a USB combo mini outlet surge protector and an inline surge protector which should arrive soon.
I was really hoping for a Haswell ultrabook convertible that would double as my desktop via a nice Thunderbolt dock for two monitors, GbE, USB 3.0 drives, etc. I was hoping for said ultrabook to also double as a tablet and take advantage of Window 8 handwriting recognition with a digitizer (this does not have a digitizer). In the end, while this may have been a purchase out of frustration in waiting or the "perfect" device to come along, I think I am happy with it. The near-instant on feature is nice so that certainly helps in pushing the case to replace my tablet. I can still think of a need for a decent tablet with digitizer (perhaps a future "mini" Windows 8 tablet with Bay Trail?). I thought about the Sony Duo 13 as well but the limited one angle kind of was a dealbreaker for me. In retrospect, it might be more of what I was looking for. The trackpad is becoming more and more of an after-thought for me as I use the touchscreen more so the fact that it is much smaller on the Duo may not be bad. At least it isn't behind the keyboard like on the recently announced Samsung device.
This review is from: GeChic On-Lap 1302 13.3" HD LCD Portable Monitor VGA HDMI Minidisplay Port
-Perfect for travel
-Bracket can be removed (but not meant to, so it looks slightly odd without it)
-Fits in a neoprene 13.3" case
Cons: -Bracket should have been meant to be removed and not an integrated part of the monitor
-No touch (not advertised as such so I'm not knocking points off...I just wish it was!)
Other Thoughts: I have a 12.1" netbook so this monitor is actually larger than my main screen so I end up using this as a primary screen often with an external mouse and sometimes even a bluetooth keyboard.
As a second screen for use while traveling, it is perfect and has great video quality. Some people have complained that the VGA cable has had some syncing issues but I cannot comment on that since I have only used the HDMI. This seems to work better than some of the other USB-only "DisplayLink" monitors out there. As an added bonus, I can use this for my phone and tablet in addition to the laptop since those are not DisplayLink-capable but have provisions for HDMI output (tablet is direct, phone is with an MHL adapter)
Case: I bought a MacBook 13.3" Samsonite neoprene case but it unfortunately it really tight--almost as if it will rip through the neoprene. However, it has enough space (width-wise) to also allow my netbook to fit in there. Other than being tight around the corners, this might work. I might also try to exchange it for a slightly larger case though, for a 14" laptop.
Screen protector: Since the screen is exposed and the "case" it comes with is really more like packaging material, I am trying to find a decent screen protector for it but have not had much luck.
Stand: Skip the "Stands Bricks I, II or whatever else" If you are planning on using it as a stand-alone second screen to one side of your laptop, get a tablet stand like the Arkon Portable Fold-Up Stand (IPM-TAB1). This works very well.
Integrated bracket: I find the bracket awkward and obviously it won't fit my 12.1" netbook since it is meant for 13.3" or larger. The bracket is also metal and has some rough edges. With the netbook in the tight case, it would have certainly scratched it. Thankfully, with some careful maneuvering, the bracket was removable with a mini screwdriver. It also reduces the weight a bit (it's very light as it is to begin with).
Bottom line: Quite possibly the best portable travel second screen setup there is; very light/very thin.