We're used to seeing feature-packed ultraportables from Sony's VAIO range, but no recent laptop has come close to matching the VAIO VGN-P11Z/W (£849 inc. VAT) in terms of mobility.

Weighing in at just 625g, it's considerably lighter and more compact than all current Netbooks and ultraportables.

Despite this, the quality is excellent, which it has to be to help justify the premium price tag. Available in a range of colours, you'll find glossy and sturdy plastics in place. At 21mm in depth, it's also one of the thinnest laptops we've seen.

Big resolution

The 8-inch screen is more distinctive than the current crop of Netbooks, with the widest aspect ratio we've seen. It features a resolution of 1600 x 768 pixels, with images appearing considerably sharper than even the most expensive ultraportables.

There's enough space to work with a number of windows open simultaneously, although text and icons may appear too small for some users. With an integrated Intel graphics card, don't expect great 3D performance. As a pre-production model, we weren't able to perform benchmark tests, but power promises to match other ultraportables.

Considering its size, the keyboard on this machine is outstandingly good. There's not as much travel as on larger laptops, but the keys are responsive and move with precision. Isolated keys protrude through individual holes in the chassis, offering faultless usability.

There's no touchpad, however, as the ultra-widescreen layout leaves no space for a palm rest. Instead, the VAIO is controlled via a responsive pointing stick in the centre of the keyboard.

Low-powered

Processing power is the biggest disappointment on this machine. You won't find a ULV Intel Core 2 Duo processor, but instead an Intel Atom chip – similar to those found in Netbooks. Running at 1.33GHz, it's backed by 2048MB of memory, offering enough power for office tasks.

Storage space comes from a 1.8-inch 60GB hard drive, with a 128GB solid state drive offered on the VAIO P19VN/Q (£1349 inc. VAT).

The biggest compromise made in the pursuit of the tiny dimensions is a lack of ports. The two USB ports are in keeping with other ultraportable VAIOs, but there's no display-out, modem or Ethernet connection. Wireless connectivity is more impressive, with both 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in place.

The VAIO VGN-P11Z/W is a curious machine, with no real rivals. The high resolution display and faultless usability will interest users who struggle with Netbooks, but the cost may be an issue. The Intel Atom processor may also seem an odd choice at this price, but if you're seeking the ultimate in portability, there are few machines that can compete.