Seeing the powerful effect of a new computer design built around a multicore processor architecture has left me feeling like I accidentally stepped into someone’s Ferrari one morning, rather than my sedate Kia Soul.
The new notebook that has my engine racing is Sony’s “Z” line,
The Sony Z is to boxy notebooks what fired red clay table ware is to dishware from a post-modernist potter. It’s sleek, light, and Sony has not surrendered any features to pare it down to its superb, 3.1-pound fighting weight
The Sony Z line offers heavyweight features that make short shrift of complex tasks. It’s available with Intel I Core5 and ICore7 processors, up to 8GB of system memory and hard disk storage capacities of up to 512GB.
I love the fit and finish the Z’s poly carbonate system case and the overall construction of this new notebook line. While very light, it’s built to take a bruising and I have no reservations about how Sony’s new systems will stand up to transoceanic or transcontinental travel as well as simple day trips.
The Sony Z is small enough (1.3”x12.4”x8.3”) by to fit safely and comfortably in a simple book bag or any piece of carry-on luggage The 13.3 –inch back lit LCD display screen is bright enough to show stunning graphics, or professional grade videos. My first reaction to the display technology used on the Z line was “Good Lord, this is good enough for video editing!”
This specific capability is greatly enhanced by a three-position switch located just underneath the display that lets users select a video performance mode. For simple everyday computing, the Z can be left in an energy savings mode that’s designed for maximum battery life – which Sony advertises as more than eight hours. But flip the switch into performance mode and this notebook brings as much as 1GB of video memory on line to push pixels at high Mach numbers. Or you can just let the Z make its own video performance choice automatically, one of the Z’s features I think is very important.
I like the island style keys used on this notebook line. Keyboards are one of the most important elements of notebook usability and Sony is ahead of just about all other portable makers in its use of this keyboard technology which is coupled with illuminated keys. The Sony Z’s keyboard is a delight to use and its integrated track pad doesn’t attract my wayward digits as readily as trackpads used on other portables.
The on/off button on the Z is located on the outside right of the display case’s hinge. It’s small, but not discomfiting, change in the control button layout used in most portable computers.
Sony’s Vaio Z is a delight to use, It is wicked fast, and among the most powerful 13-inch screen portables I’ve ever reviewed. Its form makes it easy to tote to meetings and its battery life is long enough to let you complete your work on a transcontinental flight and watch a DVD on its integrated drive.
I suspect that potable purists will not balk at the Z’s approximate $1,900 price tag, since its performance and functionality is top drawer. Its design, look and feel are also first rate. This is the first Intel ICore5 processor machine I’ve reviewed and I’m much more impressed by this architecture’s performance—including its nVidia video graphics implementation—than I thought I would be.
Wth the vaio “Z, “Sony sets a new standard. Welcome home Sony, you’re back on my list of products I’d like to buy.—Jim Forbes on 04/27/2010.