Sony VAIO Z-Series Laptop Review

By on December 19, 2011
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The future of laptops.

Good: Aluminum and Carbon Fiber body; Extremely lightweight; 1080p screen in 13-inches; Separate dock for Blu-ray and external graphics card; 3 monitor setup; Decent battery life
Bad: CPU throttling; Text looks small; Backlit keys cannot be kept on permanently; Terrible speakers
Price: AED 11,999
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Now let’s get to the bit that makes the whole experience so unique: the Power Media Dock. To maintain the slim profile of the Z-series laptop, by making it both cool and lightweight, Sony has to shift two major components outside of the laptop. The Power Media Dock contains both the Blu-ray drive as well as the AMD Radeon HD 6650M graphics card. You can plug in the Power Media Dock which contains an extra USB 2.0 and USB 3.0port, as well as another HDMI port and a VGA port. These two extra display ports, plus the already existing HDMI port on the laptop itself gives the Z-series laptop the ability to have a 3 monitor display setup. The Power Media Dock really turns the diminutive Z-series laptop into a full-fledged workstation. This is the kind of extreme flexibility you will rarely see from other companies. Of course, this is also why you pay such a high price for it.

As I mentioned earlier, the laptop itself has the Intel HD 3000 graphics built-in from the Intel Core i7-2640M processor, so it’s just about good enough to watch HD content and play basic browser based games. This usually keeps the Z-series quiet, but when I try to play regular games (like Modern Warfare 3) the laptop really struggles; first, because the onboard Intel HD 3000 graphics adapter is barely enough to play the game, and secondly, it gets alarmingly loud.

This is where the Power Media Dock comes in to save the day, with a dedicated graphics card. When it’s connected, playing games on the Z-series, or even doing some heavy video editing, becomes a pleasant experience. The HD 6650M takes most of the graphical workload, and because it has its own heatsink within the Power Media Dock, the entire laptop stays generally cool and silent. Another thing to note is that Power Media Dock will not work with the laptop if it doesn’t have a power cord plugged into it, meaning that your laptop’s battery won’t get sucked away.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

  • Blah

    Love how Pro’s are 1080P 
    Con is small text :P caused by 1080P ? hehe

    • Taimoor Hafeez

      Well, when you squeeze such a huge resolution into a puny 13″ screen, something has to suffer. So even though the text looks sharp, it ends up being too small. 

      • devx1

        Hence why there’s a 900p version and the ability to adjust text size overall.

  • devx1

    Btw, forgot to mention. There’s likely a configuration problem with your VAIO Z or CPU-Z isn’t reading it right. My Z clocks are fine according to AIDA64/HwInfo/CoreTemp with correct speed adjustments.

    CPU-Z has an error and can’t pull up clock speeds for some reason.

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