Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
January 16, 200811:39 PM

Apple MacBook Air Versus My Sony Vaio

In yesterday's post - MacBook Air - Apple Does It Again... And Me Wants - I was all hot and bothered by Steve Jobs from Apple and his announcement about the new Apple MacBook Air - an ultra-portable laptop. As you can read by the comments, plus the general reviews available all over the Web, Apple does what it does best - creates a brand that people either love or loathe.

I think I can add a different perspective to the current views because I am the owner of a Sony Vaio VGN-TZ160C. I owned the older version of the Sony Vaio ultra-portable laptop and, ultimately, I'm a huge fan of these types of laptops.

What do I look for? Good memory, speed, long battery life, keyboard and the screen.

Now, let it be said, I have been looking for the right reason to switch from PC to Mac. I felt like it happened yesterday with the launch of the MacBook Air, but I'm having second thoughts for these reasons:

- After two hours of using my Sony Vaio yesterday, I still had close to seven hours remaining according to the battery indicator. The way I travel and the flight delays I have been stuck in, the battery is a huge priority for me. So, although the MacBook Air claims a 5 hour battery, it's still not even close to the Vaio.

- Form factor. The thinnest part of the Vaio is the thickest part of the MacBook Air. That may seem like a lot, but the Vaio is really, really thin and I'm willing sacrifice that extra thickness for my built-in CD/DVD drive. When I need to install software, when I want to watch a DVD on a flight, I'm always happy to have the drive available. While the promise of Remote Disc sounds good in theory, I'm hardly around other systems to install software on, and then remotely link them to get a CD install going. It's simply not convenient for me. I know Apple is also selling an external drive, but I moved to the Sony from the original Toshiba Portege's to avoid exactly that.

Other than that, the specs are pretty similar. Both screens look great. I prefer the smaller screen of the Sony Vaio (simply because the entire laptop takes up less space), and they both have a built-in camera at the top of the screen.

If Sony could steal the awesome multi-touch feature of the trackpad, the backlight on the keyboard and the instant-on function, it would be the perfect laptop.

As for the, "yeah, but you have to deal with Microsoft Vista" comments, I don't have an issue. I've been on a PC forever and I quite like the Windows platform. I've even resolved any major Vista issues by using the ReadyBoost function to add ghost memory via a SD Card.

That all being said, I do have my gripes with Windows, but by following the Blogosphere, it's nothing more (or less) than the complains and strains people are having with Apple's OS.

So, what's the final verdict? I want to actually play with the MacBook Air before passing final judgement (and buying one), but from checking out the Apple site, watching the Guided Tour and flipping through a bunch of other Blog postings, it seems like my Sony Vaio still suits the job. Plus, if I can't use my Podcast production software (CastBlaster) on a Mac, that's anther showstopper for me.

By Mitch Joel