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Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17GN/N review: Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17GN/N

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The Good Great screen. Optical drive. Fantastic battery life. Feature strong for a portable. Express card 34.

The Bad Feels fragile. No native digital video out. Bland design.

The Bottom Line The Sony VAIO VGN-TZ17GN/N is more fragile than we'd like, especially at AU$3,599 -- but the feature set is quite impressive for an ultraportable.

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7.5 Overall

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The ultraportable range is always fun to poke around -- the form factor itself is always an exercise in compromise, as bits get left out either to reduce heat, battery drain, or simply because the notebook doesn't have the room to take it. It certainly keeps things interesting at the very small end of the scale, where one extra feature can mean make or break.

The 11.1-inch TZ impresses with its 1.2kg weight and impressive LED backlit screen -- but the 1,366x768 screen itself is flimsy. While it probably would take a large amount of stress to actually break something, it is disconcerting. Despite this, a basic Webcam is still thrown in for good measure.

The power button sits on the right hand side on the hinge, glowing a pleasing green colour. The hinge itself is smaller than you'd think, with the battery taking up the bulk of the space.

The keys on the keyboard are matte black, raised from the base and separated, and easy enough to type on at a respectable speed. The piano black surface behind it makes it look trashy however, as does the silver-dust bezel of the screen and the plastic used for the monitor hinge -- it's a bit odd to see a Sony notebook that isn't the epitome of style, and in fact goes the other way.

Sony's own blurb for the TZ is hilarious: "In many ways, the VAIO TZ is a notebook inspired by nature. Its sleek, dark looks and brooding inner strength reflect the compact power of a crouching puma. But lift the razor-thin screen from the slimline body and the VAIO TZ adopts the delicate characteristics of a pearlescent black butterfly." Translation: small, flimsy, black, somewhat shiny.

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