Sony VAIO Z Series ultraportable laptop

The Sony VAIO Z is a marvel of thin-and-light performance computing, but only elite shoppers need apply

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Sony VAIO Z Series
  • Sony VAIO Z Series
  • Sony VAIO Z Series
  • Sony VAIO Z Series

Pros

  • Tiny chassis
  • Great performance
  • Great screen

Cons

  • Keyboard isn't great
  • Too expensive

Bottom Line

At $3999, it's impossible to judge the VAIO Z Series without considering its price. It's small, light and very powerful, but at the end of the day it's just way too expensive.

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Thin and light laptops with uber specifications don't come along too often. The Sony VAIO Z Series is one such laptop that weighs only just over 1.kg, yet it also includes a configuration that can even put most desktops to shame. The problem? It costs $3999!

We're not sure who can afford to spend so much on a laptop, but the fact is, if you can afford it, you'll get one of the most powerful super-light laptops on the planet. Its CPU is an Intel Core i7-2620M that runs at 2.7GHz, and it also comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB worth of storage space. That storage space is special: it's two 128GB solid state drives that have been set up in a RAID 0 array, so it's very fast. Using CrystalDiskMark, it obtained a read speed 478 megabytes per second (MBps) and a write speed of 301.5MBps.

You can use this laptop for everyday office work tasks, but it's also powerful enough to crunch tougher tasks such as video editing and file compression. It took only 37sec to finish our Blender 3D rendering test and 52min to convert a DVD file to a 1.5GB Xvid file. These results were obtained when using the Sony's dock as the main graphics processing device.

The VAIO Z is unique in that it offers an AMD Radeon HD 6650M graphics adapter as part of an external docking device. This device also includes a Blu-ray drive and some more ports: Gigabit Ethernet, VGA, USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and HDMI. It's designed so that you can get even more performance out of this laptop when you're at home or in the office by using the AMD graphics, and maxmise battery life by using the integrated graphics when you're on the go -- it lasted 3hr 27min in our rundown test.

A backlit keyboard is present on the VAIO Z, and while it looks nice, it's not very comfortable. It feels too shallow to type on and some of its keys are smaller than others, which can lead to many typos. The touchpad isn't great either. That's one of the most disappointing things about this laptop, the fact that it's so expensive, yet very comfortable to use at all times. Other annoyances include an overly loud fan when the processing load is high and very hard and pointy edges on the chassis, which can sometimes dig into your wrists as you type.

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