Monday, February 13, 2006


Women Buy Geek Toys, Too

VAIO FJ Series I own both a Sony Vaio laptop and a high-end Sony Digital Camera, so I'm on their mailing list. Not long ago, I got an e-mail newsletter from Sony. It contained all sorts of interesting things such as driver updates and information on Sony Digital Days, ( etc. and an article that truly intriged me.

Their research indicates that more digital cameras are bought by women than by men, and the article went on to outline the differences between the way women choose electronics anf the way their male counterparts do. Because I'm one of those women who has shelled out more than a few bucks for cameras in the past few years, this interested me. The conclusion was that women want style, power, adaptability and ease of use, and have little or no patience with clunky design, and hardware or software interfaces that are illogical or hard to manage. Since this pretty much sums up how I feel about most things, I felt validated.

Now, last February, my laptop committed suicide, and I was forced to replace it. OK, guys, since most laptops are configurable, and they all use the same processors and components, (which means they all do pretty much the same stuff in the same way) the choice comes down to five things: How much does it cost, how reliable/durable is it, what's the customer service like, how does it perform in your hands, and what does it look like.

Over the years, I've had one IBM laptop, one Dell, and 2 HP's. I will never buy another HP. Their customer service has got to be the worst on the planet. Compaq isn't even a consideration. The customer service is actually WORSE than HP's (which is funny, given their relationship) and the products are....substandard. Compaq is the Yugo of the computer world. If you GAVE me a Compaq laptop, I'd still have to buy another one. I wasn't impressed or depressed by IBM and/or Dell--they were functional, dependable, durable enough--- in both those cases, my employer had a purchase program and it was cost-effective for me to buy through the program.
But times and employers had changed and now I was without a discount, so while IBM and Dell, were in the running, so were a number of other vendors. Gateway has a rep for great customer service. Toshiba's are supposed to be a good value. But.......I was also looking at Alienware and Sony because.... well, I live and work in an environment where laptops are as ubiquitous as cellphones, and I wanted something a little different than a standard Blue and Silver Dell or Blue and Silver HP. I wanted something with presence. Something that said, "Not Your Father's Computer!" Then a co-worker showed me a photo of an Acer Ferrari- and it was candy apple red, shiny and slick--- and I was in lust. I WANTED one.

The problem was that no one in Tallahassee sells them, and the only Acers I could find locally were less than impressive in the look and feel tests. I was not going to order a $2800 computer if I couldn't get my hands on the keyboard to test it out.

Then I walked into Best Buy, and saw the Vaio Widescreen that I eventually bought. The case was silver, the lines were sleek, the keyboard was silent and felt right in my hands, and the display was IN-CRED-IBLE. It had a built-in memory-stick port, a DVD and CD burner, and room for enough RAM to run all my image editing programs. I was sold. I handed the man my credit card and walked out with it the same afternoon. I eventually found 2 different cases for it-- the skinny red and silver one I carry to work every day that has room for the bare essentials and nothing more, and a larger black case with nifty compartments that I use when traveling because it also accomodates my camera gear.

A year, almost to the day, later, this appears in my mail.... Customizable VAIO's in COLOR!!!
I still love my sexy silver laptop that, closed, is no thicker than a Vogue, but if this baby had been available in raspberry or jade, I'd have tripped my own grandmother to get it. And Dooney & Bourke is producing the color-coordinated cases.

Maybe this is a tech company who really WANTS to appeal to women customers. Works for me. Posted by Picasa

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