Sony has long impressed when it comes to ultraportable laptops, managing to combine usability with style and quality.

The VAIO Z11WN/B (£1649 inc. VAT) is no exception, and is arguably the best machine in Sony's current line-up.

The 13.1-inch screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio and features the highest resolution we've seen so far on an ultraportable machine, offering near full-HD video playback. There's plenty of space onscreen to open three or four windows simultaneously.

Superb battery life

The panel uses LED backlighting and is a bright and colourful panel. The finish is a combination of matt and gloss, so reflections and fingerprints are well-contained. It offers a dedicated graphics card, with nVidia's mid-range 9300M GS used. As such, you'll be able to carry out photo and video editing tasks with ease.

Those not needing 3D power can press a button and switch to Intel's integrated GMA 4500MHD chip, in order to save on battery life. It's hardly needed – as the VAIO managed six hours between charges
using the dedicated GPU. Using the Intel chip, it lasted for an unprecedented nine hours between charges.

The keyboard is equally impressive. It's similar in style to those found on Apple and other Sony laptops, with keys protruding through individual holes in the chassis. The keys offer more travel than typical keyboards of this type, however, making it more comfortable.

There's also more space between each key, and we found it easier to type at speed without mistakes.

Outstanding quality

The Z11 features exquisite build quality, with carbon fibre, magnesium-alloy and brushed aluminium all used. The high-quality materials create a premium feel that more than matches the high price tag and, considering the portable 1.5kg weight, it's a surprisingly tough laptop.

Sony has packed a good amount of power into the tiny chassis, with a high-end 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 4096MB of memory. We found Windows booted effortlessly and even the most demanding tasks were despatched with ease.

Features include a fingerprint scanner for extra security and integrated 3G/ HSDPA connectivity, allowing you to browse the web on the move. There are two USB ports, and you'll be able to hook up an external screen via VGA or HDMI.

The Sony VAIO VGN-Z11WN/B is an excellent laptop, and the all-day battery life is truly surprising for such a powerful machine. If you can afford the high price tag, it's one of the best laptops around.