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Sony Vaio SZ2VP: Jekyll and Hyde laptop

The schizophrenic SZ2VP is known as spiritual by the spiritual, and savage by the savages; this dual graphics card laptop is truly a divine creation

If you're the proud owner of a Sony Vaio laptop, you could be forgiven for being smug. Vaios, after all, are the computing equivalent of Rolls Royces thanks to their superior blend of style, performance and, of course, their hefty price tags.

But don't sit next to us on the train in the mornings. While you're hammering away at your (admittedly nice) Vaio S5VP, we're putting fellow commuters to shame with the brand-new VGN-SZ2VP. It's the Mercedes-Benz Maybach to your S5VP's BMW 316 -- a vision of laptop loveliness that comes with all the normal trimmings and more.

Ours arrived this morning with just 2.16GHz on the clock, its Intel Core Duo T2600 engine purring quietly beneath its lightweight (1.7kg) carbon-fibre chassis. Naturally, it has all the components that push it towards the high end of the thin-and-light laptop market, including 1GB of RAM, a 120GB hard drive, dual-layer DVD rewriter, integrated webcam and a fingerprint reader for secure logins. But it's the laptop's graphics abilities that truly impressed us.

Not content with having one graphics card, the SZ2VP has two. One is the decidedly wimpy Intel 945GM adaptor supplied with the laptop's Centrino Duo chipset, and the other is the more potent Nvidia GeForce Go 7400. You can cycle between the two by flicking a switch below the screen to either the 'Stamina' or 'Performance' position. Stamina mode is designed for extra battery life, while Performance mode is designed for those times when you fancy a quick bout of Half-Life 2 and there's a mains supply handy.

We think this is an ingenious solution, although there's the slight drawback of having to reboot before switching modes, and having to pay £1,700 for the privilege.

We'll put it through its paces in the coming days, so watch out for a full review shortly. -RR

Update: See the preview of the Sony Vaio SZ2VP in our Reviews channel.