Last summer I bought a Sony VAIO laptop which had several serious defects. I previously blogged about those problems as well as some of my interactions with Sony tech support. After several months of trying unsuccessfully to solve these problems I got frustrated and requested a replacement laptop. To Sony’s credit they did agree to exchange my unit even though my laptop was well out of the 30-day guarantee period. (By the way, if you think you might need to exchange your unit note that the 30-day period begins when they ship your unit from China—not when you receive it.)
I’ve had my replacement unit for a month now and I’m happy to report that the new unit works much better. The problems with wifi connectivity are mostly gone although sometimes the laptop still fails to reconnect after waking from sleep.
The inability to adjust the screen brightness after sleeping is mostly gone. I’ve seen it a few times in the past month but it hasn’t happened in the past couple of weeks. And, the last time I encountered the problem I tried a fix I had read about on a forum and it worked! I’ve only needed to use it once so I can’t guarantee it but if you have the problem here’s something you can try:
- Go to the Windows Control Panel and choose Administrative Tools.
- From Administrative Tools choose Services.
- Scroll way down to the VAIO Event Service and note what it says in the Status column. If it doesn’t say “running” you can restart it as follows:
- Click on the line that says VAIO Event Service.
- Click on the green play button at the top of the window to start the service (see screenshot below). If your play button is grayed out you can try the other buttons to the right which will stop, pause and restart the service.
Battery Goes Flat
Unfortunately, my VAIO still suffers from other problems. It usually doesn’t go into sleep mode anymore even though I’ve selected that in the power settings. Fortunately, it will dim the screen which is what consumes most of the power. But if I should walk away from my laptop while on battery power and forget to put it into sleep mode it will eventually run down the battery.
And there’s another related problem. Sometimes the laptop continues to consume power even while it’s supposedly sleeping. When this happens if a day or two goes by before I use it again the battery will be completely drained.
With its sealed internal battery this can be a real problem. If I could buy an extra battery and swap out a dead one at least I’d have a workaround. There is an external battery option but it’s a heavy-duty battery and costs $150. That’s pretty pricey for something I’d use only occasionally and, at 10 oz., it adds a lot to the weight. What I’d really rather have is a laptop that doesn’t unexpectedly drain its battery but that doesn’t seem to be an option.
I have some other minor problems. The latest problem is the Intel Update Manager which reminds me to update the Intel WiDi (wireless display) app. When I try to do that it tells me my PC is not compatible with the update. And then the next day it reminds me to update again. Now, every day I have to go through a few clicks to turn off the update reminder (which keeps popping up until I turn it off).
Another problem is the VCSystemTray (VAIOCare) applet which keeps restarting. It doesn’t seem to cause any problems other than multiple copies of the icon in the Windows system tray. It’s just another indication of something that doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.
Sigh. In many ways, the Sony VAIO Pro Ultrabook is a very nice machine. It’s fast. It has a great little display. It’s lightweight and attractively styled. But when the battery is dead or you have to reboot to reconnect to wifi it’s very annoying.