Top critical review
24 of 30 people found this helpful
Great with some issues
on December 26, 2010
PROS: Lightweight, SSD, fast processor, nice screen, noise canceling headphones/software, sleek look.
CONS: Price, fan noise, small SSD, below average speakers, resolution too high for such a small screen, jiggly battery, so light it feels flimsy at times, price.
This is a great laptop overall but it has a few issues I think people should be aware of because they are not mentioned in most of the online reviews. The specs are great and the laptop is very fast with the SSD but as someone who downloads a lot of video files I really wish I got a bigger hard drive. Even with an external HD I found myself constantly having to make room for things. The price goes up about another $300-400 just to double the space.
As the 128gb version comes, it has less than 100 gigs free after the OS and recovery partition is allocated. Yuck. It is also 2 64gb HDs in a RAID-0 and not one 128gb. I wish there was an option to get this lappy with say, a 500gb 7200rpm hard drive and cut the price down by $300.. but if you can get by with the little space then you will be impressed with how fast programs install and launch. Be warned, if you ever wanted to upgrade the HD it is not a standard size SSD, it is 1.8" if I recall and you will have to shell out a lot of money to Sony to get one from them! I love Sony products but this is a very lame business tactic.
The unit is tiny and lightweight, around 3 pounds, but this makes the Z feel flimsy at times. I loved the size and weight at first but after some use I was worried that it wouldn't hold up for long. Opening the lid with one hand is not possible as it pulls the unit up, for example. I almost wish it was a tiny bit heavier to give it a more solid feel, but this is a personal preference. It is a well constructed unit for the most part with two major problems that I discovered:
The battery on the back actually wiggles around very noticeably when you lift it up and I thought I had a defective unit until I googled the issue. To have a laptop at this price point have an issue like this is just sad, even though it can be easily fixed with a little ingenuity on the consumer's part. The other, more major issue I found is the fan. It is quite loud with a distinct whirring sound. There are options for "silent mode" which throttles the CPU down but it is still quite loud in general, especially with discrete graphics running. I had a friend comment on some weird noise when in a room with a television on and as it turned out it was the laptop. With such beastly hardware in this machine it is understandable that there would need to be major cooling going on but this is something to consider if you think it may be an issue for you. I found the fan noise to be quite noticeable in many situations and it is annoying, although I did get used to it for the most part.
The screen is beautiful and the resolution (1600x900) makes it feel like it is bigger than it is. I loved it at first. However, as someone who wears glasses, I had to play around with font sizes a lot to get it comfortable. Even then, I found myself having a difficult time with eye strain. I'm not sure if I wasn't used to the 13" screen or the high resolution, or a combination of both but this was a major issue for me.
All things considered, I would recommend this product if you need a high end ultraportable, money is not an issue, and the above mentioned issues don't phase you. I ended up returning the unit because I simply could not justify the price with the user experience I had. It is still a very good laptop, but the heavy price simply outweighed the issues that I mentioned. I will be purchasing a $1,000 laptop with a lower resolution, slightly higher weight and bigger hard drive because that simply suits my needs better. Hope this helps some people.