"Thin, light, powerful, great keyboard."4.0 starson by ScottMarlowe
Pros: Intel core i5 CPU
AMD 6630 GPU / Intel HD3000 w/ switchable graphics
GREAT keyboard, very precise and backlit.
Very solid metal chassis
Lightweight (< 4 lbs)
Strong cooling system
Cons: Touchpad buttons stiff, only work from the middle
Low contrast screen
No touchpad support for linux
Low quality speakers
Summary: The Sony SA3AFX laptop is a mix of mostly good and a little not so great. The overall feel of the machine is rock solid due to the all metal construction. The keyboard is as nice as any thinkpad I've owned in the past. As a portable workstation this machine truly shines in daily usage. It's also quite good as a gaming laptop, with the AMD 6630 being plenty powerful enough to play most games at at least medium settings in 1366x768 res, and most games at medium to high settings at the native 1600x900 res.
This machine is easy to open to add memory or change the hard drive. If you want an SSD save some money, and buy it with a regular HD, then swap it out yourself. Adding a 4G DIMM took me about 5 minutes.
My primary OS for work is Linux, and for that it's pretty good, with only two real failings. One of these is poor battery life. This isn't really Sony's fault, as the 2nd Generation core i CPUs all use too much power with modern Linux kernels. The other problem is much worse. Alps refuses to release the specs for its new generation of touchpad and therefore no one has been able to write a proper driver for it in Linux. The default settings for the touchpad make this even worse, since it's overly sensitive and you can't type with it on without constantly touch-clicking on things. I use "sudo rmmod psmouse" to turn it off and "sudo modprobe psmouse" to turn it back on.
Since I mostly use a trackball instead of a touchpad it's not a big problem for me, but it could be for other Linux users.
Overall it's a good laptop for everyday work. As a multi-media laptop it's lacking due to the poor speakers and washed out screen. I get the feeling Sony was trying to keep the SA from competing with the Z. It's a shame because the SA would dominate the portable 13.3" workstation market if it had a better quality screen and even slightly better speakers.