This follows on from this
thread. The laptop I ordered has arrived.
To recap the specs:
It is a Sony E series custom configuration.
15.5 inch 1920x1080 screen
ATI mobility HD5650
320GB 7200 rpm hard disk
Gloss black body
It wasn't my original desire for this form factor, but looking at what was available in smaller sizes, the price/performance trade off was excessive so I gave in and went for the 15-inch typical size instead.
The box it came in was rather minimal in contents. You got a local mains cable, power brick and the laptop itself. Apart from that were the usual bunch of guides, warranty/support info and accessory brochure.
The laptop looked damn nice, even better in reality than web images. I went for the gloss black scheme since the only colour I wanted, purple, wasn't an option on this model. It's not just shiny plastic. There's translucent bits and textures adding depth. But it has the standard drawback of any gloss surface - greasy fingerprints appear in no time and it would be a losing battle to keep it clean.
I plugged it in and fired it up. The screen looks great. I was a little concerned the relatively high pixel density might result in an eye test, but it is clear and sharp. The gloss finish of the screen I'm not a fan of isn't bad either. In an indoor environment, you can hardly see any reflections unless the screen is particularly dark, or you're reflecting a light. I haven't done any stress tests on it as such, but the few images I put up on it look good. Sharp, nice contrast and colour balance. There's a bit more brightness variation moving my head in the vertical direction than I like, but it is minimal in the horizontal direction within the width of the screen at typical viewing distance.
After starting up it went through the usual random configuration options and stuff, and I was on the familiar Win7 desktop. Mostly. Sony added their own launcher bar which seems a bit like duplicating effort. Maybe it has some neat tricks but the Win7 taskbar works for me regardless.
It wasn't long before the million pre-installed utilities started bleating on about updates, configuration and activation. I'll have to uninstall that later.
The keyboard feels good. There's nice separation between the keys so pushing two wont be any more of an issue than I have on a full sized desktop one. And a first for me, this has a dedicated number pad! Finally, laptop I can play Civ2 on comfortably... (yes, I'm that old...) Likewise the touchpad feels nice. A little unsual perhaps, it is implemented as a textured bump surface rather than the smooth ones.
Not uncommon in this age, it didn't come with recovery media, so I have to create my own. The guide recommends doing a Sony software update first, which was fine apart from timing out the first time, and going really slowly the second. Fortunately food distracted me long enough for it to pick up to sensible speeds and the remaining bits downloaded and installed quickly enough. Creating the recovery disks requires 3 regular DVDs or two DL ones. Just as well I got a pack of DVD-RW recently. This is in progress as I type... I really wish they supplied the option of buying it or even better including it as standard.
Once the recovery disks have been made, I'll finish uninstalling the excess crap, and configuring it how I like it. Then I'll start benchmarking and using it with real applications. That reminds me, where did I put my Photoshop CDs?...