Sony VAIO Z Series review

Incredible performance from Sony's latest ultraportable laptop

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Sony vaio vpc z21v9e

As big fans of Sony's previous VAIO Z Series models, such as the VPC-Z13M9E, we had high hopes for the VAIO VPC-Z21V9E.

With its Sandy Bridge Core i7 processor, ultra-thin body and unique docking station, it does everything right on paper. But did it meet expectations, and how does it compare to the competition?

We liked

As expected, the Sony VAIO VPC-Z21V9E smashed the competition when it came to performance. You've got enough power to run any software you can think of, and you certainly won't need to upgrade any time soon.

Thankfully, portability doesn't suffer. Almost four hours of battery life when watching movies is a tremendous result, while the slim and ridiculously light frame will slip into almost any bag.

Sony vaio vpc z21v9e dock

If you're not on the move, you can connect the Sony VAIO VPC-Z21V9E to its docking station. This gives you loads more ports, a slot-loading DVD drive and a dedicated AMD graphics card, so you can play the latest games.

Both games and movies look incredible on the 13.3-inch TFT screen, which is sharp, bright and vibrant. The lack of gloss means you can work outside, without being hampered by reflections.

We disliked

The keyboard has the shallowest travel of any laptop we've tested, with the keys barely moving when hit. However, aside from this it's a well-designed board that's comfortable to use. The touchpad is cramped, but sensitive.

Our only other gripe is the design. After using glamorous portables such as the Samsung 9 Series and Apple MacBook Air, we were uninspired by the plain black design of the Sony VAIO VPC-Z21V9E. The lid is also rather flimsy.


Sony vaio vpc z21v9e

With its incredible combination of power and portability, this is the best ultra-portable laptop of recent times. It may lack the glamour of some of its rivals, but the Sony VAIO VPC-Z21V9E is worth its high pricetag.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 3000
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeYes
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time7 Hour
Finger Print ReaderYes
Solid State Drive Capacity256 GB
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyVAIO Z
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Keyboard BacklightYes
Processor Modeli7-2620M
ColourCarbon Black
Operating SystemWindows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Professional with SP1
Brand NameSony
Processor Speed2.70 GHz
Processor TypeCore i7
Screen Size33.3 cm (13.1")
Screen Resolution1600 x 900
Standard Memory8 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.18 kg
Cache4 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM67 Express
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
WWAN SupportedYes
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Gobi SupportedYes
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports1
Memory StandardDDR3-1333/PC3-10600
Height16.7 mm
Width330 mm
Depth210 mm
Screen ModeWSXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesZ
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelVPCZ21V9E
Product NameVAIO VPCZ21V9E Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineVAIO
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberVPCZ21V9E
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Designed to impress

Take all the stress out of business travel. Carry around your Z Series with its ultra thin profile and full flat design, with no bulge from the battery weighing less than 1.2 kilos.

Enjoy solid Japanese craftsmanship in light but strong carbon fibre, with a new hexa-shell housing. Exclusively styled to complement your professional image.

Faster and more efficient

Store data and access files faster with the latest SSD RAID Flash drive. The light and robust drive transfers data around 6.2 times faster than a standard HDD and features low power consumption to preserve battery life.

Battery ChemistryLithium Polymer (Li-Polymer)
Package Contents
  • VAIO VPCZ21V9E Notebook
  • Lithium Polymer Battery
  • AC Adaptor
  • Power Cord
  • Documentation Pack
  • VAIO International Repair Service Guide
  • Docking Station / Port Replicator with Optical Drive
Limited Warranty2 Year