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on December 26, 2010
I picked one up in town, and I love this laptop. I'm a software developer, so I need a small light fast computer, and this one is the best one on the market.

Keyboard Backlight
Build Quality
Tough! (carbon fiber!)
Screen is amazing

HD Space (but you can replace the cd-rom drive with a 500G HD, which is what I did, Google it a company makes kits)

Best Laptop I have ever bought. Totally happy with it, even with the price. I have had the laptop for two months now.
22 comments9 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
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on January 16, 2011
This review is for the VPCZ line, and the version I have has the Core i7 M640, and 8 GB RAM.

Pros: Really fast, very light, bright screen, really quiet due to SSD, nice physical design (feels nice when holding it and even the plastic case feels nice, thin, etc), has a DVD drive. People like to ask about the laptop when I whip it out.

Cons: Expensive. You have to press the Fn button for page up, page down, home, and end, which is kind of annoying. It has a chicklet keyboard, and sometimes the keyboard doesn't pick up me pressing a key, so I have to press it again. If you are running Linux and want to install the NVidia driver from, you'll have to hack your BIOS, after which the "Dynamic Hybrid Graphics System" switch won't work anymore, and the screen will be stuck on the brightest setting. The touchpad buttons are kind of small and kind of hard to press.
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on April 9, 2011
I spent a lot of money on this laptop and was expecting it to last me for quite a while. I knew I wanted a small computer but I also needed a lot of power and this laptop is one of the very few that gives you both. Unfortuanly, they are very poorliy internally designed. Mine was working fine but it also did have an annoying whirring sound from the fan which was ALWAYS on no matter what I was doing. I overlooked this, however, since it was in an excellent form factor so I gave sony a break.

Well last week I was checking my email and my computer suddenly died. Checked my charger, checked the battery, tried everything that was suggested in the forums with no luck so I sent the laptop for repair. I wasnt worried at the time since the warranty was still fresh but to my horror I got an email from Sony stating that the repairs would cost over $600! Apparently the motherboard suffered corrosive damage and they accuse me of spilling liquids on my laptop. This seems like a really convenient way for me to pay for the repairs! I told them no thanks and I vowed never to buy a Sony product again. Seems like they are just selling their products on "sex appeal" and not actual quality. My father bought a $3000 Sony TV that stopped working after 2 years, which is absurd for a TV that expensive.

It is a great laptop but just think about how how much they are trying to cram into that tiny case. Maybe another fan would help the motherboard cool off more. Looks like Sony didnt pay attention to the internals as much as I'd hoped.
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on March 11, 2011
I've owned this laptop for more than a month now and love it. I like it so much that I have to write my first review for it. The machine is super fast in both startup and shutdown, thanks to the SSD I assume. Operations is quiet, the high-resolution LED-backed screen is superb - but you need to have good eyes, I can imagine others will have a hard time with the super-fine resolution. Battery is less than the 7 hours claimed, but a good 5 hours can be had. I encounter no loose battery issue (see the other reviews). There are some annoying Sony pre-installed software that try to make it feel like a MAC, I turned them off, but you may like them. The keyboard is great and the fingerprint reader is a nice addition. Lastly, yes, it is pricey and you can buy three cheap laptops for it, but if you can afford it, it is worth it.
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on July 29, 2011
- lightest 13.3 inch screened laptop I've ever experienced- possibly lighter than macbook pro
- intel i5 cpu
- awesome battery life with stock battery - I get roughly 5 hours - no gaming
- great fingerprint mechanism - it worked better than other fingerprint readers on other laptops I have had (i.e. dell, lenovo)
- 1600 x 900 resolution on 13.3 inch screen
- nvidia 330 can actually play some modern games
- automatic backlit keyboard - there's a sensor so when the room gets dark, it automatically lights up the keyboard.
- raid 0 dual SSD.. blazing fast.
- not much bloatware - maybe because of Microsoft signature edition (?)


- slight flex on the lid
- keyboard keys are spread out just a tad much in my opinion takes some time to get used to them
- graphics card does not switch automatically, you have to change by yourself using triangle key on top left, above the keyboard - this can be good or bad since you can use the battery save mode for work related stuff.
- somewhat weak speakers - they suck but doesn't matter to me since I won't be watching movies on this. if I did, I'd use headphone anyway - if you used the on board speakers, there's absolutely no bass and really high treble and some high pitched sounds may "crack"
- the laptop is so light that it sometimes just feels flimsy
- no assigned buttons for multimedia or other functions. you have to use FN+ keys on keyboard.
- no designated page up/down buttons (fn+ also)


games tested: Dragon age origins = works well in med/high settings
left 4 dead = works flawlessly
oblivion = works flawlessly

overall excellent laptop. you can't go wrong with this laptop if you want the specs.
I would not pay more than 1500 for this though. (I paid slightly under 1500 for this)
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on June 6, 2011
This is by far the best PC-based laptop out there.

Have been owning it for 6 months, and I must say that I love it!

Amazingly fast, battery lasts for 4-5 hours with brightness in low.

Extremely light and portable. Keyboard is amazing, together with the back-light.

To others reviewers:

Yeah, the battery really jiggles, but whats the big deal? It doesnt annoy me at all. The thing is that it jiggles just a little. Of course thats not what you would expect from a US$ 2000 machine, but, well, it works, flawlessly.

The cons:

Wi-fi drops sometimes. Updated intel`s wifi driver to the latest one and the issue is better now. Not yet solved, since it still drops sometimes, but frequency has been reduced a lot (1x per week say so, using all day long).

As any piece of technology nowadays: Dont know for how much it will last, and since the thing is VERY pricy, this is really an issue.
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on February 27, 2011
I have been using laptops for a very long time and this is my second Sony Vaio. I use this as my primary computer. I am an Architect, CEO of a 10 person company, and transport my laptop back and forth to the office daily. I would be considered a "rough" user since it goes with me wherever I go, and also has to endure weekends on my sailboat. My laptops need high-end graphic and processing power. Weight and size is also a major consideration as lugging a heavy laptop through TSA screening and airports is not my thing. Most small laptops today are the "netbook" variety and they just don't have the power to run my applications.

I replaced a 3 year old Sony Vaio that weighed slightly less, but had run out of power to run our 3D graphic software. The graphic power of this laptop is excellant as is the weight and battery longevity. The solid state drive I believe will be much less likely to die than my previous laptops. I can VPN into my office and operate just like I am sitting at my desk. I have had this laptop about a month and am 100% satisfied. I highly recommend this machine.
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on July 2, 2011
Sony's top-of-the line laptop has a reason to be so expensive.
The backlit keyboard is very comfortable to type on.
The screen resolution is high and images are crisp and cleat.
The mousepad is very easy to use and does not cause friction
The laptop is very lightweight and powerful
The CPU and GPU are both very good and sufficient for doing many tasks and for playing a few games.
Battery life is extraordinarily long.
The webcam is very good, but is still only 1.3MP and can be improved.
The boot time gets longer and longer when not using an SSD
Also comes with many of Sony's software, bloatware to some.
My favourites are Vaio Gate and Movie Story and a few others prove to be useflu.
The best laptop of all time [when used with an SSD]
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on May 11, 2011
I have it now for almost 1 year. I switched from Macbook pro (2010 model) to the 1920x1080 model of this notebook. For someone like me, it is almost ideal. It is powerful and lot of desktop space. I hated the screen resolution of Macbook pro and love the screen resolution of this screen. I removed the CD and placed a large second HDD. I also got it with extra battery, which added a few ounces but provides an excellent battery life. The only thing I miss is my inability to use 2560x1600 monitor. Despite that I love it.
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