Sony Vaio Z series (VPCZ11Z9E/B) review: Sony Vaio Z series (VPCZ11Z9E/B)

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The Good Sturdy build quality; incredible display; excellent performance.

The Bad Short battery life; exorbitant cost; no Blu-ray drive.

The Bottom Line Sony's Vaio Z-series VPCZ11Z9E/B sports top-notch components. But its battery life is on the short side and its price tag should come with a medical warning for those with heart conditions. If you can afford it, the VPCZ11Z9E/B will buy you blistering performance, a beautiful design and real portability

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7.5 Overall

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Sony's flagship Vaio Z-series VPCZ11Z9E/B is an ultra-portable powerhouse primed for any task -- even heavy gaming. That said, it's also pitched as a mobile business laptop for style-conscious buyers with resource-intensive needs. It's on sale now for a hefty £2,200 or thereabouts.

Solid as a rock
Most ultra-portable laptops feel like they'll blow over in a high wind, but not the 13.1-inch VPCZ11Z9E/B. It's housed in a solid, yet lightweight, carbon-fibre and aluminium chassis. That makes it feel resilient, while the chosen materials keep the weight down to 1.4kg. At 314 by 33 by 210mm, Sony has also kept the dimensions in check. There are lighter and smaller models around, but few machines of this size can match the VPCZ11Z9E/B's all-out performance.

The black lid opens to reveal a handsome, gunmetal grey keyboard surround, and a 'chiclet' keyboard. Keyboards like these, with shallow, curved keys, are easier to use on laptops of this size, and it only took us half an hour to get up to full speed without making typing errors. This makes the VPCZ11Z9E/B a real contender for business purposes. Sony has added a smart touch too -- an ambient light sensor that automatically switches the keyboard backlighting on in low-light conditions.

The VPCZ11Z9E/B is a handsome machine, offering equally attractive performance

There's only a small amount of space to work with, so Sony hasn't gone port-mad. There's an HDMI out, three USB sockets, a VGA port, and an SD card slot. There's even room for an integrated optical DVD drive, but Sony's failed to add a Blu-ray drive, which is a sin at this price point.

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