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No more Sony Vaio laptops – will you miss them?

Have you owned a Sony Vaio laptop, and will you miss the Sony badge in the laptop world?

Sony, the one-time strongman of the electronics world, has announced that profits are so bad it’ll be selling off its Vaio laptop division. Have you owned a Sony Vaio laptop, and will you miss the Sony badge in the laptop world?

Sony, the one-time strongman of the electronics world, has announced that profits are so bad it’ll be selling off its Vaio laptop division. Have you owned a Sony Vaio laptop, and will you miss the Sony badge in the laptop world?

Make no mistake, times are tough for laptop manufacturers. With tablet sales going through the roof, and some great tablet models available for around the £100 mark, what’s a laptop-maker to do? In the case of Sony Vaio, sell-off, seems to be the answer.

Sony has announced that it will be selling off the Vaio brand, and losing 5,000 jobs along the way. This is effectively a long-term player in the laptops market calling it quits, and with profits down it’s easy to understand why.

Instead of trying to turn around the loss-making return on the Sony Vaio range, Sony has elected to focus its efforts on the PlayStation brand, its tablet range, and higher-end TVs. To mourn the passing of a former industry giant, Which? Computing editor, Richard Parris, offers up his memories of Sony Vaio laptops.

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Sony Vaio memories

I’ve been a long-term user of Sony Vaio laptops, not out of any particularly brand loyalty, so much as having inherited used ones from family members. I still stick with my battered old XP Sony Vaio that’s over eight years old, though with the coming demise of XP support it’ll be goodbye to that too.

And despite getting plenty of regular and dependable use from such a long-serving laptop, three things have always struck me about the Vaio range: too bloated, too pricey, and in my experience, too hot.

First, the bloat. I simply don’t need a Sony version of everything on a laptop. Three different ways of grouping photos, extra music download services, a video editor that I’ll never use…all hogging space and collecting dust.

Next, the price. The ‘Sony premium’ has been something of a deterrent for the Vaio range for years, and with so many great cheap laptops around, there’s plenty of incentive to shop elsewhere. Despite the higher prices, Sony has been selling Vaios at a loss in recent years.

Finally, the heat. My old Sony laptops have felt like good value as they double as a portable heater unit – the transformer on the charger lead gets too hot to touch. And Sony has had to recall more than a million Vaio laptops in the last seven years due to battery overheating risks.

Ciao Vaio

Despite the odd drawback, I’m fiercely loyal to my old Vaio. Sony’s announcement is a big, big change after years of producing laptops, and it’s a market trend that isn’t due to end – I’d wager Sony won’t be the last company to make such an announcement.

Late last year, Panasonic called time on its plasma TV range, and hinted that it would significantly scale down the number of digital cameras it produced. Nokia has sold up to Microsoft, Kodak has stopped producing cameras, and let’s not forget the travails and fails of Polaroid.

The breakneck changes in the tech market can be great for consumers. All-in-one tablet wonders for close to £100 can only be a good thing. But we can anticipate plenty more casualties among the established brands as they try and keep up with the pace of change.

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