A stylish multimedia companion - dressed in Electric Purple. Sony has earlier offered this model, available in Liquorice Black, Cotton White, Caramel Cream, Spicy Red, Coral Pink.
Note that the CS-21Z series is being offered with Blu-ray Disc™ Combo drive, with the exact same specs as the CS-21S.
This model belongs to the "Lifestyle" line of Sony Notebooks, along with the P series. Others are "Mobility", "Multimedia", Vaio Professional" - give and take on terminology depending on the countries.
I came across this Electric Purple in late February 2009, whilst on projects in Hamburg, Germany. I was intrigued by the colour setting, influenced by the passion of my fiancée - thus a must-have present for her cancer fight. A call to a friend in UK led to a surprise learning that it was no so readily available, due to its "colour", and since I needed a UK keyboard (the lady still has issue with the weird German letters ), a wait of 3 weeks was in order to chase down the unit.
Pricing at 900Euro-ish, this machine is very competitive in price with its packed specifications. As a previous owner of many Sony models, the latest one being a business model SZ71 series, I was in for a nice surprise.
First impressions are a sleek design, light weight and pretty machine. Sony lives up to the reputation of take&go machines for the addressed users.
Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium
Microsoft® Windows® Service Pack 1
. Intel® Centrino® processor technology
. Mobile Intel® PM45 Express Chipset
. Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor T6400, Supports Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology
. 2.00GHz, 2MB L2 Cache
. 800MHz FSB
. Number of Cores: 2
. 4GBMemory Speed (MHz) 800
. DDR2 SDRAM (2x2GB)
. Max. Supported Memory: 4GB
. 320GB S-ATA 5400rpm
. DVD+-RW/+-R DL/RAM
. Write: CD-R x24, CD-RW x24, DVD-R DL x6, DVD-R x8, DVD-RW x6, DVD+R DL x6, DVD+R x8, DVD+RW x8, DVD-RAM x5
. Read: CD x24, CD-R x24, CD-RW x24, DVD x8, DVD-R DL x8, DVD-R x8, DVD-RW x8, DVD+R DL x8, DVD+R x8, DVD+RW x8, DVD-RAM x8
. X-black LCD
. 1280 x 800
. NVIDIA® GeForce® 9300M GS GPU
. Total available graphics memory of Approx.1510MB* with dedicated Video Memory of 256MB
. 4 Pin i.LINK™ (IEEE1394), 400 Mbps 1
. DC in 1
. 1 x Memory Stick™ Slot Type Std / Duo, PRO Std / Duo, high speed data transfer
. 1 x SD Card Slot
. 1 x Audio out Stereo Headphones/Speakers Jack
. 1 x Microphone Jack (Stereo)
. 1 x RJ-11 Direct Port (Modem)
. 1 x RJ-45 Direct Port (Network)
. 3 x USB Port, 2.0, Connector type A
. 1 x VGA Connector for Monitor
. 1 x Express Card Slot Type 34mm
. Built-in Modem V.92/V.90
. Integrated Wireless LAN, Max. Date Rate (Mbps) 300 (RX)/150 (TX), max. 100m Range, 802.11a/b/g/Draft n
. Integrated Bluetooth (Version) 2.1 + EDR, 10m Range
. Ethernet network 100 BASE-TX/10 BASE-T
. Intel® High Definition Audio compatible
. Built-in Stereo Speakers
. Windows® Sound System Compatible
. Built-in 'Motion Eye' Digital Camera
. Frames per Second: max. 30
. Image Sensor (Mega Pixels) 1.3
. Motion Picture Function
. Motion Pictures max. Resolution (pixels):1280x1024 (SXGA)
. Touch Pad 1
. Power button, Wireless switch, AV buttons, AV Mode, Capture
. Auto Resolution: Plug and Display
. Built-in Microphone
. Kensigton Lock
. Me&My VAIO
. VAIO Music Box, Windows Media Player 11, SonicStage Mastering Studio 2.4
. VAIO Content Importer / Exporter, WinDVD BD 8 for VAIO, DivX Player & Converter, VAIO Movie Story
. Adobe Photoshop Elements 6, Picture Motion Browser, VAIO Movie Story
. Easy Media Creator 10, Click to Disc/Editor
. VAIO Media Plus
. Adobe® Reader® 9, Adobe Standard 9, Microsoft® Works 9.0, Microsoft® Office Trial 2007 (60 days Try & Buy)
Security & Other McAfee® Internet Security Suite (with 60 days free virus update), VAIO Recovery Utility 2.6 - HDD recovery (hidden partition), Google software package
. AC Adapter
. Battery Lithium-Ion battery (VGP-BPS13S)
. Battery Life (min): 170
. Battery Charging Time (min): 210
. Power Cord
. Depth Main Unit (mm): 245
. Height Main Unit (min – max in mm): 29 - 39.8
. Width Main Unit (mm): 335.8
. Weight with Supplied Battery and Supplied Drive (kg): 2.6
What's in the Box:
. AC Adapter
. Power Cord
. Manual, quick setup
Looks & Design
Sony is known for its stylish design, the CS-21S/V is no exception. The lid is being accentuated by a slick metal band, which brings forward the colour without making it so busy. There is no latch for the lid, but the rounded front makes it easy to lift it open, though one must use another finger to hold the base down, to leverage for the opening.
The layout is pleasing to the eyes. With the keyboard sort of blending in (down), it gives a good proportioning feel to the notebook. At power on , the front leds on the base flashes in slow and long burst. Battery led is present when being charged, and is off when full.
It is of medium disappointment that Sony does not offer a better screen resolution than the standard 1280x800, on the 14.1' display. Side viewing angle is good with no distortion. Picture presentation is gorgeous and cool, but can easily be distracted with its glossy screen surface picking up light from background objects
For a Mac user, the keyboard comes as a nice familiarity, with its panned blast-in-the-past chiclet IBM keyboard. It is nicely gapped, making easy for clumsy fingers like mine to miss and double strike. The key touches/press are soft, yet firm, responding to every keystroke nicely. There is no flex to be felt anywhere on the whole layout. With its sunk-in position, there is virtually a flat surface across the top case.
It is of simple design, straight square/rectangle with 2 rounded flat looking buttons (rounded flat - yeah, oxymoron, I know). Navigation, scrolling and clicking are of light touches, as well as good response to firm dragging. It is not in the way of the keyboard and easy to access when switching between typing, scrolling and clicking.
Located on top of the keyboard, a Capture button for the Built-in camera, forward, backward, volume controls. Simple and straightforward to use
Good connectivity, with its ability to quickly find and connect to the home network. Bluetooth performance is great with mouse, handy (cell phone), keyboard connectivity.
The double layer supporting DVD drive performs flawlessly and quietly. What impresses me the most is the resting base of the tray, at its face plate. This makes the putting in place a CD/DVD much more solid and not putting pressure on the internal connector. This is a best mod I see so far on a notebook
Good clear sound, but as with any other notebooks, headphone and external would be a good investment.
Heat and Noise
What noise? I ran this machine at full blast, and cannot hear a thing. The exhaust vents - one at the side, one at the back - locating at the upper left corner produces somewhat warm air during heavy processing, but nothing one would need a cooler for. Migh be good for winter days/nights, when notebook-ing away with the machine on one's laps.
I will update the review in this area shortly, but one cannot expect much from the 9300M GS.
Input and Output Ports
Surprisingly pleasant with the full 2 Bourne dvds (VLC), too bad it did not go for the full set of 3. And this with some background apps still running. Normal surfing gave me close to 3 hours. Battery warning has been disabled during this test. Whilst the specification calls for long charging period, I have experienced a full charge within 30 minutes and less
. Nice and stylish
. Good screen performance
. Good system performance
. Good battery life
. (Very) Quiet Operation
. Screen resolution can be better
The Sony CS-21S/V is an eye-catching and capable notebook, at a competitive price. I would like to see a better screen resolution, but would settle with the current one. There is nothing you cannot throw at it (ok, games are different things), its performance is a snap for a "lifestyle" notebook. I won't be using it much, but I am sure that my fiancée definitively will make good use out of this asset.
For college and university works, this Sony would make an impressive 1st notebook to lug around. The battery life is good enough for a good 1/2 day of class study, recharged during breaks.