In the world of laptops, one name that we haven’t been hearing for a while is VAIO. I used to remember that they were really popular once. Back in the day, the brand was better known as Sony VAIO. Now, however, the Sony name has dropped out of the mix and we have an interesting product on our hands. It’s called the VAIO SX12 and it has some pretty interesting features to offer.
Does this new rebranded device have what it takes to stay ahead of the competition? It does seem to have some features that make it unique in this day and age. But do those features make it better? Let’s find out.
The VAIO SX12 features a fairly subtle design. Unlike the previous Sony VAIO laptops which were rounded off, this has a fairly angular design. Same is the case with the finish and materials. Previously we had plastic build along with a glossy finish. Now, it’s aluminum with a matt finish. It seems as if VAIO has turned things around with Sony out of the way and for the better in my opinion.
Open the clamshell and you’ll be presented with the 12.5″ screen and the webcam on the upper portion. Other than that, there’s nothing particularly interesting there. I do, however, like the hinge design. It opens up in such a way that an elongated part of the clamshell props the keyboard up to make things a tad bit more ergonomic for you.
Move further down and you’ll come across the keyboard. Owing to the overall size of this device, the keyboard is fairly compact. However, it doesn’t compromise the typing experience. In no way did I feel that things were cramped while typing, which is an impressive feat from VAIO. It doesn’t end there, the key travel and feedback are much better than what most modern laptops with chicklet keyboards offer, which is an added bonus. Below the keyboard, you have a small trackpad along with a square fingerprint sensor.
Turn the laptop around and you’ll see the back. Things have been kept fairly clean here except for the huge VAIO logo in the center. It the same logo that we all know and love from the old days and I’m glad VAIO didn’t change the font style and size. Apart from that, you only have a small horizontal accent line passing towards the top. Overall the SX12 is a small package and weighs less than 2lbs.
You can spec your SX12 with 2 processor options to choose from. The base model will have an 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-8265U CPU. Pay a little extra and you can get yourself an 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8565U CPU. Regardless of your CPU choice, you’ll get it paired with an Intel® UHD Graphics 620 GPU. Both these combinations will get the job done and will power through heavy applications. However, it would’ve been better if VAIO offered a dedicated graphics card option.
As far as memory and Storage are concerned, VAIO has kept things safe. The base model comes with an 8GB RAM but it can only be upgraded to 16GB and no further than that. While it may be disappointing that you can get a 32GB RAM variant, you are better off with storage. The base storage is a 256GB PCIe SSD. Upgrade it and you can get 512GB and even 1TB, which seem to be adequate for any type of use.
Come to the display and it’s a 12.5″ 1920×1080 IPS panel. It does not have any touch functionality and has a matt finish. There are several pros and cons to a matt finish display. You can use outside or with a window in the background without being massively annoyed by the glare. However, matt displays aren’t usually that vibrant and tend to have slightly worse viewing angles.
Lastly, we have the battery. VAIO hasn’t specified the capacity of the battery inside the SX12 but we do know that it is a Lithium Polymer unit. Something else that we know is that VAIO claims a total of 10 hours of light to medium usage. Now that isn’t particularly much and what’s worse is that testing has shown the SX12 to last around 6.5 hours. Needless to say that the battery life of the SX12 is sub par.
This is the part which makes the VAIO SX12 a unique modern laptop. This laptop just has too many ports. You have a USB Type-C™ (3.1) w/power delivery and DisplayPort, a SuperSpeed USB (3.1), 2 SuperSpeed USB (3.0), an HDMI, a VGA1, a 3.5mm headphone/mic jack, and a Network(LAN) ports.
Additionally, you also have a slot for reading an SD card, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi and a Bluetooth® 4.1. It looks like the SX12 is the perfect laptop for an IT specialist who needs all sorts of I/O in their life. However, to a normal person, most of these ports will never even be used.
Price & Verdict
Starting at $1199, the VAIO SX12 is an expensive machine considering it’s not that great compared to others. It has mediocre specs especially in the base model and you don’t have many options when it comes to speccing your device. It’s just absurd that you have to say this sort of money for a VAIO, a brand which most people have either forgotten or don’t even known about. If I were looking for a small laptop which is worth this type of money, I’d go for the 13″ HP Spectre x360.