Pretty Notebooks and Pretty Mousetraps

The Devolution of the Sony VAIO Notebook

Sony VAIO notebooks have some of the best designs, which was probably Sony's most important competitive advantage over other laptop makers. Unfortunately for Sony, their latest notebooks could be compared with beautifully designed mousetraps that cannot catch mice at all. Both notebooks and mousetraps are defined by what they do – not by how they look like. If a mousetrap or a notebook has a beautifully-crafted design but it doesn't do what was intended to do ( i. e. catch mice or connect wirelessly), then it would just be a beautiful object to look at. If you are curious to see how I came to own a beautiful $2,000 carbon fiber frame instead of a computer, go to "The Worst VGN-SZ650N" paragraph.

My First Experience with Sony Notebooks

My first Sony VAIO notebook - VGN-FS550 is a great machine. It has worked efficiently and fast and I've never had problems with. After two years of heavy usage – the computer still works great. Because of its qualities – great design, outstanding performance, and reasonable price, I became a Sony VAIO enthusiast.

New Models: From Bad to Worse - and the Worst

Two years after my first purchase, I decided to complicate my life and bought one of the latest Sony VAIO laptops, the VGN-FZ260E. Since then, I went through two more models - the VGN-AR520E and the VGN-SZ650N. All of these three brand-new Sony VAIO notebooks I purchased within 5 months failed to establish a normal internet connection. And that's how my enthusiasm about Sony laptops faded away and all I feel now toward Sony is antagonism.


The VGN-FZ260E, a 15.4" Notebook PC, could barely establish internet connection. But what amazed me most was the fact that it was unable to establish a wireless connection. I wasted considerable time on the phone with Sony customer service in attempt to fix the problem. A week after this purchase, I already couldn’t wait to go to Costco and return the unit.

Worse VGN-AR520E

The VGN-AR520E, a 17” Sony VAIO Notebook, was too heavy for a laptop but I hoped that at least I’d have a normal wireless connection with it. But it turned out that this unit not only had a defective combo drive (could not play any DVD) but it could not connect either with or without cable to my network. I had to rush to return it because of Best Buy’s 15 day return policy. I never bothered calling Sony customer service.

The Worst VGN-SZ650N

This computer frustrated me the most - not only because at first it looked like the most advanced state-of-the art technological wonder I've seen but also because it costed me an arm and a leg. Upon returning the giant VGN-AR520E, I decided to spend top dollar on a Sony.The notebook’s cost at Best Buy before tax was $2,000. By comparison, at the same time, Best Buy had notebooks costing $270. The VGN-SZ650N had the same weak Internet connection abilities like the previous two. Again and again I wasted a lot of time trying to connect wirelessly. Ultimately, this laptop could not receive signal from any wireless network. Right now it is at a repair center in San Diego – just after 2 months of usage.

I like how another user of the VGNSZ650N put it after complaining about the laptop's internet disabilities: that this computer is just one "overpirced piece of carbon fiber," which he would recommend only "to see the priceless expresson of agony and frustration on a face other that" his own.

Sony Customer Service: It’s Vista’s Fault

If your notebooks don’t work with Vista – don’t sell them with it. We all know that Vista is no good but consumers are buying Sony VAIO notebook computer systems – not Microsoft Corp Notebooks.

To Sony Notebook Makers:

What is the purpose of a new product? A new product must improve the user’s experience somehow. If a new product ruins the user’s experience – the product is useless. The same applies to computer systems – if the latest computer system fails to improve and spoils the experience of its intended users, then the system is a failure and a waste.

Isn't it interesting to see how a CEO of Sony Electornics Inc would answer the following question: What’s the use of a super-lightweight notebook with a razor-thin widescreen, and a high-tech biometric security system (VGNSZ650N) if it can’t connect wirelessly to the Internet?

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Comments 1 comment

star 8 years ago

I had this problem also, with not being able to go online with my Sony Vaio VGN-NR3210E. I could connect to the wireless network but not to the internet. I could also get online when connected directly via ethernet.

I went online to the Sony website support Live Chat, and the tech sent me a link to upgrade my Wireless LAN Driver. Once I installed this (read the directions first!) and restarted, a new program called Vaio Smart Network came up, with a new icon in the lower right corner. It told me there was a problem with my connection to my wireless network. Earlier, while trying to figure out what was wrong, I had changed the IP address and DNS settings to match the router's, making it static. I changed those all back to Automatic, and then.... I was connected!Earlier, I had also upgraded the router's firmware, not sure if this made a difference or not. I would say ask your computer's manufacturer about upgrading your wireless LAN driver.

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