Design and Ergonomics
Judging by the notebook’s appearance and price, its lid is made of carbon fiber, the same material as they use in Formula 1 cars and in the aviation industry. It looks like a well-polished jet-black hood of a luxurious sports car. The large chrome-plated letters VAIO in the middle of the lid and the small logotype of Sony closer to the user leave no doubt as to the noble pedigree of this machine. A chrome-plated molding encircles the notebook, separating its top and bottom parts. The VGN-AR11SR only lacks a rear spoiler to look like a real car! The notebook looks brilliant, but certainly requires some care from you. It will be hard to avoid leaving dirty fingerprints, traces of dust, etc on that glossy surface.
The lid lock is designed as a slider and is placed in a rather unusual location, at the bottom part of the case, a little to the right of the touchpad buttons. The lid is held with a kind of a hook you can see in the next photo:
The color scheme is consistently maintained within: the black keyboard even seems to have a grayish tone against the background of its surroundings, including the touchpad and the buttons on the left.
A white VAIO logo is located below the screen. It is highlighted when you turn the notebook on. Two rather powerful stereo speakers are located on both sides of that logo; they are directed right at the user.
On the same bezel, but above the screen, there is an integrated Motion Eye camera (640x480 pixels) with an operation indicator on the left. It is meant for video conferencing or editing videos.
The Sony VAIO VGN-AR11SR comes with a 17” LCD matrix that has a max resolution of 1920x1200 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:10 (WUXGA). This is larger than the display of its today’s opponent ASUS W2Jc whose resolution seems already huge enough by notebook’s standards. The display offers superb viewing angles horizontally as well as vertically. The “glassiness” of the screen is somewhat compensated by the multi-layer anti-glare coating that suppresses light noise. However, you still have to take care about proper lighting when you sit down to work with this notebook. The AR series features Sony’s traditional X-BLACK LCD technology that improves image brightness, contrast and saturation.
I measured the brightness and contrast of the notebook’s display using a Pantone ColorVision Spyder with OptiCAL version 3.7.8 software. I selected the highest brightness setting before this test. The screen brightness doesn’t depend much on the notebook’s power source as you can see:
AC power source:
- 104.4cd/sq.m brightness, 136:1 contrast ratio
DC power source:
- 100.4cd/sq.m brightness, 112:1 contrast ratio