[The VAIO S]

Without a story,

You don’t have a product,

You just have stuff.

 

At the end of last year, a completely new mobile machine joined the lineup. The VAIO S. Since then, VAIO has focused on a singular design theme in order to take it to the next level. And that central design concept is, pleasure.

One of the things that the VAIO S aims to do in order to really focus on the element of pleasure is create a device centered around the idea of the ease of use. Ease of use tends to get sacrificed on a mobile notebook PC due to miniaturization and weight saving. However, the VAIO S has been able to accomplish that without compromising. Particularly, the keyboard and the touchpad which users interact with directly, was engineered with extraordinary time and effort.

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The keyboard in the VAIO S is the same as our flagship model, the VAIO Z. The keyboard is reinforced with the most ideal internal layout and supporting components which improves upon the feeling of the keyboard and the rigidity of the device. VAIO Z’s keyboard was designed in Japan—giving the keyboard high quality origins and built with absolute precision in order to attain the best comfort when typing on the keys. A lot of thought was put into the feeling of the keyboard. Too much click feeling could end up annoying and loud, while not enough gave unnatural and awkward feeling to the keyboard. We went through many trials and errors in order to find the most optimal solution for the keyboard experience.

“At first we measured how well the keyboard was doing by numerically testing frequencies of sound and scientifically going through every possible step, but in the end, the human sense was the measure that we relied on the most. Machine testing could not tell you whether or not someone would enjoy the way that the keyboard feels. This was where we had a lot of advantage because of all the experience that we accumulated from the Sony era. VAIO has continued to strive for almost 20 years now, so we are confident in the product that we put out,” said Sonehara.

Additionally, the “fluorine-containing UV cured coating” that is was developed exclusively for the VAIO Z was applied to the VAIO S. The coating allows the smudge resistance and even if there are smudges, they are easily wiped off with a cleaning cloth so that it remains looking clean and new even after use.

 

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As for the trackpad, we equipped the VAIO S with a high precision touchpad, the first time in VAIO history. The high precision touchpad allows one to zoom in and out as if you were operating a touch screen. This is one of Windows 10’s functions and we have fine-tuned the hardware of the VAIO S to work seamlessly with it.

“We have spent so many hours for development, since this was a new hardware and also a new function that began from Windows 10. We were able to make this happen by relying on the things that were mounted in stages on to the Windows 10 geared towards developers prior to its release, and having communications closely with the touchpad manufacturer,” Eguchi.

Of course, we could have been on the safe side and applied this starting from the new models being released after next year spring. By VAIO became obsessed with equipping it at the early stage. “The benefits gained through a high precision touchpad matched with VAIO’s obsession of cherishing the feeling of operation. Our minds were set to have it equipped starting the new model,” said Kurosaki.

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Additionally, the touchpad algorithm was reviewed and re-worked in order to reduce accidentally cursor movement when the palm of your hand touches the touch panel unintentionally. The touchpad detection algorithm was re-worked and mistouches were reduced by detecting the difference in electrical characteristics of a finger versus everything else such as the palm or arm.

“Right before the mass production, we thickened the thickness of metal board to be laid underneath the trackpad by 0.1mm. When you just look at this numerical value, it doesn’t sound like much, but it has a tremendous effect on the experience, and the rigidity of when you click improves infinitely. Including the keyboard, this is something we want people to compare with the competitor over the counter. The difference is clear in the feeling,” said Hanamura.

VAIO’s expertise is inside even the hinge that connects the display and PC. Opening and closing the notebook PC is one of the actions that occurs the most. We obsessively made sure that only the best went out our factory doors. The display opens very lightly even when you lift it up with a single finger from when it is closed, and when closing, it maintains about 20 degrees of resistance and at the end, it quietly drops.

“The difficulty associated with hinge designing is that almost everything gets decided at the initial stage of the designing. Considering the balance between upper weight and lower weight, we need to seek the correct answer to torque hinge and cam profile at the beginning. It’s too late to do trials and errors during the second half of the designing. If we do this in a perfunctory manner, it doesn’t open smoothly when opening with one hand, it doesn’t close properly, or it makes a cheap sound, so we can’t compromise, said Sonehara.

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Specifically, we paid an excessive amount of attention to the rubber parts that prevent the display and PC touching each other when closed. General products have elongated rubber cushions glued on, but for the VAIO S, we made this with a custom cast, along with the display bezel. Most manufacturers would not spend this much attention on the small details, but it was something we couldn’t compromise in order to get a natural look and durability.

“We have aggressively done things we never really did before, like drilling a screw hole in the center of battery in order to enhance strength. There might be people who worry that the rigidity of the body may have declined because the material has changed from metal to resin, but actually, the inside of the body has more tabs that engages tightly, so in certain ways, it became tougher by changing to resin. Of course, it cleared the “pen insert” test, which is a VAIO specialty. But this is something beyond our control, so I was mortally afraid!” said Hanamura.

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The VAIO S was designed with pleasure in mind and with that came durability as well. Stressing out about the durability of your device was the last thing that we want people to do. So we went through many lengths to ensure that what you get is truly durable. The more details we touched up on, the better and better it got. We worked until we could work no more.

 

 

For us, VAIO means no compromises no matter at what cost. What arrives in your hands is truly the product of our dedication to our craftsmanship and engineering. We hope that you enjoy the VAIO S as much as we have put the time and work into it. Click to see the VAIO S.