Photos: Hands-on with the Sony Vaio BZ Series (VGN-BZ11VN)
We've got the beef on Sony's most impressive and affordable business Vaio laptop, the BZ Series, built with Intel Centrino 2 and vPro technology, so tech support should be pretty chuffed if no one else
Just when you thought 30 pages of laptops in one day was enough, we present to you the last model in the new Sony Vaio range -- the Vaio BZ Series, more specifically known as the entry-level VGN-BZ11MN, the VGN-BZ11XN and the top-end VGN-BZ11VN.
If you've been readingof our of the , it may not come as the biggest surprise in the world to learn that s are the hamsters running the wheels inside the BZ Series, starting at speeds of 2.26GHz and maxing out at a tasty 2.4GHz.
This meaty son-of-a-bitmap comes encased in a chassis built from magnesium, weighing in at 2.6kg. The native 1,440x900-pixel resolution of the BZ's 15.4-inch screen isn't designed for maximising the enjoyment of watchingon the go. The lack of a drive even in the top-end model only furthers that opinion.
Instead, with an opening price point of roughly £799, Sony's essentially pitching this as the kind of businesstop (yeah, we made up a word) that could be deployed en masse around the office, given its decent spec, solid build and, above all, the emphasis on security and what we hope will be reliability.
Note that there are some key differences between the BZ Series and every other new Vaio model we've seen launched this week. Firstly, the more traditional, spill-resistant keyboard design -- the isolated construction of the Z Series, FW Series and SR Series is nowhere to be seen here.
Secondly, the use of Intel's vPro technology. This PC management system is tightly integrated into the hardware of the laptop, meaning IT support can remotely address issues without relying on the common software solutions seen on the market. The vPro technology even allows remote management commands to be obeyed when the machine is switched off or locked-up by Windows.
Hard disk shock-protection and fingerprint recognition should help ensure tight security and reliability away from the office.
In addition to the top-end 2.4GHz CPU, specs max out at 4GB of RAM, a 200GB 7,200rpm hard disk, DVD-RAM optical drive, onboard Intel graphics and 802.11a/b/g and Draft-N Wi-Fi. A 1.3-megapixel integrated camera should help with video conferences, too.
Three flavours will be available depending on what specifications you require: the £799 VGN-BZ11MN, the £899 VGN-BZ11XN, and the £999 VGN-BZ11VN. All will be available later this year, and we'll have exact dates and full reviews for you as soon as physically possible, so do check back.
Until then, enjoy the gallery over the next few pages that covers various design features up-close and personal. -Nate Lanxon
Update: Read our full Sony Vaio VGN-BZ11MN review here.
Unlike the rest of the new Vaio range, the BZ Series keyboard is less friendly to ladies with freshly manicured nails -- something noted as a feature of the other models by Sony execs during the launch conference we attended in Berlin.
FireWire and USB sockets are easily accessible on the right-hand side of the magnesium chassis.
For those Skype moments, the front-mounted headphone and microphone sockets don't exactly make themselves hard to access, either.
Modem and Ethernet connections have made their home towards the rear of the right-hand side of the BZ.
An additional USB socket resides on the left-hand side next to a VGA port for link-ups with projectors and televisions. The absence of HDMI-out is likely to be an issue at this price point and target market.
We're not overly fond of the illuminated wireless LAN indicator, but it's better than being completely invisible, we suppose. If you can't tell, this is located on the front of the chassis.
The fingerprint reader can be found just below the right-hand side of the BZ's display.
Finally, also on the front, are memory card readers. Most laptops only really bother with SD, but since this is Sony, it's important to cater to the Japanese manufacturer's love of proprietary technology, in this case Sony Memory Stick Duo.