Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Why has Sony's launched an "updated" series of VAIO laptops with lesser value for money?

VPCEB14EN was available till a few days back at Sony stores, and carried a sticker price of INR 38,990. It's no longer available, and according to dealers, Sony has "refreshed" its lineup of VAIO laptops in India, and launched VPCEB22EN (also priced at INR 38,990) "in place of" VPCEB14EN.

Differences between the two models (based on official specifications for CEB14EN and CEB22EN):
  • 22EN has Core i3-350M CPU; 14EN has Core i3-330M
  • 14EN has ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 GPU (with 512 MB dedicated video memory); 22EN has Intel HD Graphics GPU
  • 14EN has 3 GB of DDR3 RAM; 22EN has 2 GB
  • 14EN includes "3D audio"; 22EN does not
  • 22EN includes "Gesture supported" touchpad; 14EN does not
  • 14EN includes full versions of Adobe Premiere Elements 8, and Adobe Photoshop Elements 8; 22EN includes 30 day trial versions of these two applications
  • 22EN includes Office Starter 2010; 14EN includes 60-day trial of Office Professional 2007
It's clear that 14EN offers higher overall value for money, with a (much) better GPU, more RAM, and full versions of two digital creativity applications (compared to a better CPU, gesture-supported touchpad, and Office Starter 2010 offered by 22EN).

In the cut-throat competition world of consumer electronics and notebook computers, every refresh or update I've seen either offers more substance for the same price, or a lower price for the same substance. Why then, did Sony reduce the value offered in a refreshed lineup of VAIO? Disappointing. A dealbreaker.