Construction: Field Tested (cont.)
Keyboard - While Sony uses a QWERTY keyboard on this notebook, the alphanumeric keys are full size. Upon first glance, they actually look larger than normal, but this is due to the tapered edges on the keys.
Our only complaint is the right side alignment of the insert/delete/page up/page down/end keys. This is mostly going to prove uncomfortable or awkward for those that switch from IBM, Dell, or any desktop.
The tactile feedback isn't great, but it is reasonable. It has a 3mm strike, which is fairly large but lacks the feedback seen on other high quality keyboards.
LEDs - There are two LED strips: one above the keyboard and another near the display hinge. The LED strip above the keyboard includes LEDs for (left to right): num lock (green when active), caps lock (green when active), scroll (green when active).
The LED strip on the hinge includes LEDs for (left to right): power (green when plugged in), battery status (blinking orange when charging), hard drive activity (blinking orange when active), WiFi status (green when active), Bluetooth status (not included in our sample). This LED strip is visible when the notebook is closed.
While technically LEDs, but not part of the LED strip, the two LEDs next to the buttons denote the status of Sony's power management settings: Stamina and Speed.
TouchPad & Buttons - Due to the overall layout and form factor, widescreens typically have less vertical space in their palm rests. This happens to be the case with the SZ150P/C. So even though the touchpad is centered, there is less space to rest your wrists.
The touchpad itself has a fine grain texture that tracks well, but the somewhat small buttons lack a reasonable degree of tactile feedback. The main problem is that the design is best described as hinged in nature, which means that it mainly depresses on one side. The problem wouldn't be so noticeable if the buttons were larger, though we should mention that the problem is significantly less severe than some of the Asus notebooks that incorporate a similar design.
Speakers & Microphone - The integrated microphone is denoted by a small slit next to the built in camera. This is a fairly decent microphone that is a step up above most consumer notebooks. It records voice annotations better than some of the notebooks that we have used in the past.
The speakers on the SZ150P/C are what we expect from a multimedia focused notebook of its size. They are simply made for the multimedia experience. Quality wise, they are better than average and probably just short of what we would call excellent. At 90% we get very little distortion in instrumentals or voice inflections from highly encoded music tracks. The placement of the speakers further in front of normal usage position makes the experience that much better.
We should still note that this isn't on par with a full fledged audio system, but it is a decent attempt at miniaturizing equipment to get a similar experience on the go.