I’ve often been a huge advocate of Sony electronics. In my house alone, I have multiple Sony TV’s, computers, PSP, Aibo robotic dog, eBook reader, external drives, etc. I’ve often selected the Sony brand from a reliability standpoint and because they’ve delivered some really innovative and interesting hardware over time. My relationship with Sony is now over and rather than support their brand, I’ll seek to avoid it.
A lot of my discontent stems from my recent purchase of a Vaio UX unit several months ago. This was my second UX and I opted to upgrade to try Windows Vista and to get a flash based hard drive in the portable device to increase speed and battery performance. By all means, the Sony UX is a nicely designed device. It has a nice form factor, is highly portable, and packs some reasonably power for such a small device. However, here are the things I loathe about the device that all have to do with Sony directly:
1) It comes loaded with tons of bloatware. I’ve never received a device with so many unwanted programs and bloatware. It took me nearly two hours to uninstall all the crap on this device.
2) Highly proprietary. Everything about Sony’s recent hardware has a lot of proprietary components that impact the upgrade/hacking options for the device. It makes it much more difficult to, say, install a Linux distro on the device.
3) Horrible software integration. I decided several nights ago that I needed to run software update on the device. No problem as Sony includes a proprietary software update utility. I ran the utility and was prompted for the installation of a few dozen files measuring in at about 380MB. The update utility offered to install a Sony download manager so that all the files can be updated at once which sounded like a really good idea. I installed the download manager and rebooted for safe measure; clicked through the Sony update site again and put the downloads in my cart; the utility was smart enough to launch the download manager (aptly named Download Taxi); the download manager recognized all the files in my cart (yeah!); I instructed the Download Taxi to have at it and install the updates – THE SONY SITE CAN NOT BE REACHED. What? I knew it wasn’t a network problem as I was just browsing the Sony sight. I tried again. Same issue. Again. No go. Reboot to be safe and initiate the whole process from scratch. Nada. At this point I’ve invested over an hour of my time and no updates in site. I decide to quit and try again later. Several days later – same exact error. Now I am presented with the prospect of manually installing all the updates. Two hours later and I’ve got 5 updates installed. I can install an OS twice in the time I’ve wasted just trying to get a few system updates. I don’t care how cool it is, no device is worth that level of frustration.
Goodbye Sony! It has been nice knowing you!
Update: Seriously, in the time it took to update 6 or so files on the Sony UX, I installed the entire Ubuntu OS on another laptop.