Small but detailed

The final new line, the Vaio Z-Series has a 13.3-inch screen, but creatives shouldn't write it off completely. Models with screen sizes lower than 15-inches are largely inappropriate for designers, illustrators, artists and animators because their screens are too low-resolution for the interfaces of pro-level design applications. However, the Z-Series boasts a screen resolution of a healthy 1,600-x-900.

Sony says that its engineering and craftsmanship deliver superlative functionality from a portable platform based on a uniquely compact 12 layer motherboard. The provision of Vaio 'everywair' WWAN technology on selected models means that ultra-fast mobile broadband speeds of up to 7.2Mbps are possible using HSDPA mobile data networks.

Internally, the unique, custom-designed 12 layer motherboard means a smaller footprint, still further reduced by additional component miniaturisation. The case is constructed from advanced carbon fibre materials typically associated with the world of F1 racing and the aerospace industry. The laptop weighs less than 1.5kg but is tested to withstand a drop of up to 72cm while operational and up to 90cm when powered down.

The keyboard has a single, brush-finished aluminium panel through which the keys rise, and which also forms the palm rest. Sony says that precision-engineered ‘isolation’ key spacing and delicately concave key surfaces mean typing is fast, accurate and comfortable.

The range features an advanced display that combines LED illumination for extended battery life with a 16:9 wide screen format. Sony’s X-black LCD display enhancement technology boosts brightness and contrast and ensures vivid colours, and the panel delivers equivalent to 100 per cent of the NTSC format colour space. The surface finish has been improved to better resist scratching and reduce reflection.

In order to boost battery life as much as possible, the VAIO Z has a special Stamina Mode switch which allows the user to select between two graphics chipsets. You can choose between faster 3D performance delivered by the nVidia GeForce 9300M GS GPU or longer battery life using integrated Intel graphics. When performance graphics are not required, extended battery life of over 5 hours is possible. This can be all done while the machine is turned on.

To ensure really seamless wireless operation, VAIO Smart Network technology allows you to switch between WWAN (3G) networks and WLAN wireless hot spots (802.11 a/b/g/Draft n) – without turning the computer off.