Sony VAIO Z review: Sony VAIO Z

I'm dubious that too many people want to play high-end games on their slim 13-inch laptops, but if you're one of those people, this is the only mainstream version of this you're likely to find (Asus and others have played around with external GPUs before, but not in any products you're likely to find for sale in stores).

Juice box
Sony Vaio VPC-Z390X Avg watts/hour
Off (60%) 0.24
Sleep (10%) 5.28
Idle (25%) 1.05
Load (05%) 43.19
Raw kWh number 27.10
Annual power consumption cost $3.08

Annual power consumption cost
Sony Vaio VPC-Z390X
$3.08 

The battery in this new Sony Vaio Z was even better than in the previous version, clocking in at 5 hours and 4 minutes (versus 4 hours and 30 minutes in 2011). It also ran longer than ultrabooks such as the Lenovo U300s and Acer Aspire S3 , but not as long as Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air or Samsung Series 9 . But, when attaching the secondary slice battery, the system uses both the internal and slice, and runs for an impressive 10 hours and 29 minutes (note that our battery life comparison charts include the internal battery score).

The Sony Vaio Z is backed by an industry-standard one-year warranty, although for $2,000 we'd expect two or three years. You can upgrade to a two-year plan for $179 or add a third year for $249. Support is accessible 24-7 via a toll-free phone line, an online knowledge base, and a Web site with driver downloads. Sony's support sites are clean and easy to navigate, but information about your exact laptop configuration may be hard to find.

Prior to ultrabooks, the Sony Vaio Z was an expensive, but not unthinkable, bit of executive flash. The hardware and extras, including the unique external GPU dock, are still impressive, but with thin, upscale 13-inch laptops hitting $999 or less, the audience for this has shrunk to only those who absolutely need the extra graphics power.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:

Sony Vaio VPC-Z390X
Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2450M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1,696MB (Total) Intel HD 3000; 128GB Samsung Solid State Drive

Dell Latitude E6220
Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2450M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1,696MB (Total) Intel HD 3000; 128GB Samsung Solid State Drive

Asus UX31E-DH52
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-2557M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1,696MB (Total) Intel HD 3000; 128GB Solid State Drive

Lenovo IdeaPad Z370
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1696MB (Total) Intel HD 3000; 500GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Acer Aspire S3-951-6646
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-2467M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 128MB (Shared)/1,696MB (Total) Intel HD 3000; 320GB Hitachi 5,400rpm + 20GB Solid State Drive

HP Pavilion dm4-3090se
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2450M; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1696MB (Total) Intel HD 3000; 520GB Intel 7,200rpm

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

Sony VAIO Z Series VPC-Z212GX/B - 13.1" - Core i5 2410M - Windows 7 Pro 64-bit - 4 GB RAM - 64 GB SSD + 64 GB SSD - with Sony Power Media Dock

Part Number: VPCZ212GX/B

MSRP: $1,999.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Resolution 1600 x 900 ( HD+ )
  • Installed Size 4 GB
  • Color carbon black
  • Weight 2.6 lbs
  • Optical Drive DVD-Writer
  • Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • CPU Intel Core i5 (2nd Gen) 2410M / 2.3 GHz
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