The Good The discrete graphics and optional slice battery on the stylish Sony Vaio SE help it stand out from other midsize laptops, and the included TPM chip should play nice with your IT department.
The Bad The AMD graphics switching remains tied to a clunky physical switch, and without the extra slice, battery life is merely OK.
The Bottom Line Sony knocks out another stylish system with the 15-inch Vaio SE, with some extra appeal for business users.
Sony Vaio SE Series
If Sony knows how to do something well, it's creating slick-looking laptops. Recent examples include the very high-endand the more modest Vaio E series, which still manages to have plenty of flair despite the midrange price. The latest addition is the new Vaio SE, which is currently restricted to a single 15.5-inch version. At $999, the Vaio SE is playing in pretty crowded territory, and we'd put it in the same league as the Dell XPS 15z or the HP Envy 14--all upscale midsize laptops that mix high style with high performance.
To help the Vaio SE stand out, Sony adds a few important extras. First, like the Vaio Z, the SE supports an optional slice battery. This $150 add-on is a thin external battery pack that covers the entire bottom surface of the laptop. It adds bulk and weight, but it's a much nicer design than having a huge extended battery that sticks out of the back of the system like a kickstand.
The Vaio SE also include a TPM (trusted platform module) chip and Symantec's VIP authentication technology--the former especially is a must-have for IT departments. It's not something casual consumers will have to worry about, but it makes the Vaio SE much easier to integrate into a business environment.
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