Sony Vaio VPCSE13FX/B
I own a Sony Vaio VPCSE13fx/b. on paper, it is awesome. it has a nice 1080p IPS display. it is also very light for a 15" notebook. this is why I purchased it to begin with. in reality, it is awful. the sad fact here is that much of what makes it awful would have been easy and cheap ($50?) to get right. but sony's execution is so bad that I won't buy another sony notebook again. instead, I will probably switch back to apple macbooks in the future.
- the keyboard touch is mediocre, but livable. a bigger problem is that the backlit keyboard always turns itself off after a few seconds. no way to keep it on.
- the trackpad is terrible. inconsistent. the buttons are really mediocre, too---sometimes they are needed, sometimes double clicking works. the buttons are mushy. two-finger scrolling is not easily enabled. even after I figured out how to get it to work, using the device driver from the trackpad manufacturer, it barely works.
- the bottom of the computer gets hot. I mean really unpleasant hot. this is despite the fan coming on pretty quickly and pretty loudly.
- the speakers are pretty awful and not directed towards the listener.
EDIT: The computer is more bearable if you leave the bottom right (fan) a lot of extra space. not perfect. tough to hold then. but livable.
beyond these killer problems is another biggie: the computer feels slow---it shouldn't be, given that it has an i5. my samsung chromebook ARM for $250 feels as fast. what's going on here? I have no idea. is it windows 7? is it background processes? is it an inefficient kernel? I don't know. I do know that linux and mac OSX feel MUCH faster. unfortunately, I cannot switch to linux, because this notebook cannot really run linux. (I thought virtually everything works under linux these days, sometimes requiring just a little bit of tinkering and some obscure hardware not working---ok, bluray doesn't work because of HDCP copy protection.) for some reason, whenever I boot this machine into ubuntu, e.g., with a USB stick, it goes from slow to close-to-infinitely slow. the windows manager consumes 95% of the CPU. this may have something to do with its weird switchable graphics arrangement.
EDIT: Linux Mint Olivia under the "Speed"Setting works.
a minor issue is that it is not fully windows 8 compatible. I spent a few days getting it to work, but the webcam never fully worked. windows 8 is not a good idea to begin with...what was I thinking?