We already gave you a sneak peek at the Sony VAIO Z 2011 last week, and so you’ll probably know by now that I’m liking it.
Then again, is it worth it? I’ll tell you what you’re getting for your serious coin and you decide.
If you’ve ever wondered if a Windows laptop can ever fit into a boardroom setting (given that everyone else is using a Macbook or something like that), then the VAIO Z clears the air. The Sony VAIO Z is gorgeous in an aggressive, all-business kind of way. It doesn’t really say “I’m creative!” but more of “I’m the BOSS.”
(Yeah, you better be, if you wanna afford this laptop.)
In a world that is being peppered with tiny little netbooks, it’s nice to see a laptop with a serious 13-inch full-HD LED display (1920×1080). Yeah, like a boss.
This is probably the lightest fully-loaded laptop on the market today. At just 2.5 pounds (lighter than a MacBook Air!), it already packs a full-voltage (i.e. not underpowered for mobile use) Core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a solid-state 256GB hard drive. Plus Windows 7 64-bit edition.
In fact, even if the VAIO Z is just marginally lighter than the Air, it feels way lighter thanks to its edge-wise center of gravity. I can actually fan myself with the VAIO Z. Try doing that with a MacBook Air and you’ll soon be visiting your doctor for tenosynovitis.
How blazing fast is it? You can boot up Windows 7 from zero to full running in fifteen seconds flat, thanks to its SSD drive. Normally I hibernate or sleep my laptops so I can access them rapidly. But at this speed, shutting the Z down is no longer a bothersome option.
And as expected, it’s a pretty snappy performer. Programs open and shut in a breeze, videos fly along, and all that. I won’t bother you with benchmark tests (basically because I’m too lazy to do them), but others have done them. You can check Laptopmag’s Sony VAIO Z benchmarks here, for instance.
Battery life is not wow impressive, but good enough. The VAIO Z churns out at least 4 and a half hours under normal use, which is decent enough for its ultrathin profile. Set your power options to really frugal settings and you may squeeze out 5 and a half from this. Note that the specs claim that it’s an eight hour battery, but I just don’t see that happening unless you just leave it on without actually using it.
But wait! There’s more!
The Sony VAIO Z package also comes with an add-on battery pack that locks on as a bottom plate. This flat battery sheet adds weight and girth to the Z, but just a bit. Even with the extra battery on, the Z still looks decently slim and reasonably light (total weight ups to 3.5 pounds). And what you get from this piggyback battery is a total of around 12 to 14 hours of useable power. That’s more than a decent day’s work requires.
Ports and stuff
“What’s this blue-tinged USB port to the right?” That, folks, is Sony’s implementation of USB 3. It actually doubles as a variant of Intel’s Light Peak port, though as a Light Peak connector it really has just one use (which we’ll touch on momentarily). For now, just think of it as USB 3, period.
There’s also one other USB port, plus a full HDMI port (the better to connect to your Sony LCD TV with, my dear), VGA port (which we’ll still be seeing for quite some time), slots for Memory Stick and SD/MMC/SDHC cards, and gigabit LAN port (with an interesting slide cover that hides its gaping mouth. And of course there’s Bluetooth and WiFi.
So what’s that port thing for again?
Back to that USB 3 thing. The blue-tinged port actually doubles as the connector for the VAIO Z’s all-in-one Power Media dock. The dock uses a connector that locks on to the Z’s USB 3 plus the power port, so you daisy-chain your power supply via the dock.
What’s in the port? Well, you get a BluRay drive (yay!), two USB slots (because, well, you just ate up one of your ports), LAN port (interesting… I assume this disables the onboard one?), HDMI and VGA ports. One of the USB ports is still USB 3, by the way.
Here’s why the dock carries its own HDMI and VGA ports: the Power Media dock actually carries a Radeon HD 6650M graphics processor with its own 1GB of memory. So once you plug the dock onto the Z, graphic processes are then funneled to the dock via the proprietary Light Peak implementation, and presumably on to your TV. Games are faster, graphics richer… you get the idea.
In short, this is a business laptop that also goes gaming. “I’m tha PLAYER.”
You wondered why in the world this laptop costs a hundred and seventy grand? Well, it comes with this split personality.
The keyboard. I really dislike the keyboard. Why? Because the Chiclet-keys are way too shallow. Plus, they lack tactile feedback. You don’t have that satisfying clicking sound. Instead, you feel as if you’re just mashing the keys. If you type a mile a minute, you’ll learn to hate this keyboard too because you’ll miss out on quite a few letters along the way.
Even the touchpad needs tweaking. It’s just way too sensitive, and no amount of tweaking the Windows settings could fix it. Here’s why it’s annoying: it barely responds to double-clicks. It’s either too sensitive, or too insensitive. I haven’t quite figured it out. Either way, it sucks.
Then again, if you’re the BOSS, you probably wouldn’t be doing much typing and tapping anyway. You’ll probably just open up your Z, lean back, and just use it as a totem of power, heheh.
Make no mistake about it, I love the Sony VAIO Z 2011 edition. Almost in love, in fact, but not quite. The most lovable qualities about it are its aesthetics, speed, lightness and battery options.And of course, the fact that it makes me feel like a BOSS (with apologies to Andy Samberg).
But is it worth its over-the-top, two-and-a-half-MacBook-Airs price point? If you’re a practical person, I’ll have to say No. But if you’re the boss, hey, live it up. You’ll love it.
SONY VAIO Z 2011 Edition
Price: Php 170,000
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