Sony VAIO VGN-Z31ZN/X review

Sony uses all of its know-how to make power portable

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Our Verdict

An amazingly powerful yet portable package, but with a fearsome price tag

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1600 x 900
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Glorious screen
  • Impressive performance
  • Full of features

Against

  • Very expensive

We've been impressed by Sony's VAIO Z-series on a number of occasions, mainly thanks to its amazing blend of power, portability and battery life. The VAIO VGN-Z31ZN/X sits at the top of the range, with high-end components, great connectivity and a comprehensive features list.

The 13.1-inch screen is superb, with a matt finish that's ideal for a life on the road. With LED backlighting, colour reproduction is accurate and bright, making it a great choice for watching movies or even editing photographs. The 1600 x 900-pixel resolution is the crispest available on a screen of this size, providing pin-sharp images, while also offering plenty of space onscreen for multi-tasking.

The provision of both an integrated Intel graphics card and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS chip offers the best compromise between battery life and multimedia power, and it's possible to switch between them on the fly. Using the integrated chip, we managed to get a staggering 478 minutes battery life between charges, yet it's possible to also run even the most demanding multimedia tasks using the dedicated Nvidia GPU.

The 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 4096MB of memory also result in some of the best benchmark results we've seen to date, even bettering some quad-core gaming machines. The keyboard offers excellent usability, and while the keys aren't the largest we've seen, they feature plenty of space between them, making it easy to type at speed.

Sony vaio z31n x keyboard

Build quality is among the best we've ever seen, with a mixture of brushed aluminium and magnesium alloy used to create a truly premium product. Combined with the 1.5kg weight, this is a truly fantastic ultraportable machine.

Cutting-edge features

A host of cutting-edge features are in place, including a 128GB SSD (Solid State Drive) and an integrated Blu-ray drive, letting you enjoy the latest high-definition (HD) movie discs. An HDMI port is also in place, enabling connections to external HDTVs. The two USB ports are slightly limited, however, although Bluetooth is provided to connect peripherals wirelessly.

The 3G connection manager offers a simple way of connecting to the internet on the move, and isn't tied to any specific network provider. Sony does make it easy to sign up to a T-Mobile data plan, however. As with the other laptops here, 802.11n Wi-Fi also offers the fastest wireless connection speeds currently possible.

As with previous Z-series laptops, the VAIO VGN-Z31ZN/X has left us deeply impressed. It's everything a laptop should be, in an ultraportable package, with only the high price letting it down.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Hard Drive CapacityNo
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerNVIDIA
Graphics Controller ModelGeForce 9300M GS
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeBlu-ray Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilitySemi-shared
Maximum Battery Run Time5.50 Hour
Finger Print ReaderYes
Solid State Drive Capacity128 GB
FireWire/i.LINKYes
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, HSDPA, UMTS
Product FamilyVAIO Z
Processor ModelP9600
Operating SystemWindows Vista Business, Windows Vista Business with SP1
Brand NameSony
Processor Speed2.66 GHz
Processor TypeCore 2 Duo
Screen Size33.3 cm (13.1")
Screen Resolution1600 x 900
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.50 kg
Cache6 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelGM45 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedBD-R/RE
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyX-black
WWAN SupportedYes
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports2
Memory StandardDDR3-1066/PC3-8500
Height33 mm
Width314 mm
Depth210 mm
Screen ModeWSXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesZ
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelZ31ZN/X
Product NameVAIO Z31ZN/X Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineVAIO
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberVGNZ31ZN/X.CEK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information

VAIO Z31ZN/X Notebook is best in class capabilities is a revolutionary 13.1" X-black LCD display. Scratch-proofed and anti-glare, it delivers 100% true-to-life colour fidelity and extra wide 1600 x 900 resolution for deeper contrast and truly natural realization.

Maximum Memory4 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • VAIO Z31ZN/X Notebook
  • Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Power Cord
Bus Speed1066 MHz