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Sony VAIO VGN-TZ21WN/B review

Impressive battery life, mobility and style

The 11.1-inch display may be small, but it's also extremely impressive

Our Verdict

A diminutive laptop with style, comfort and an outstanding battery life


  • Excellent screen

    Good battery life



  • Keyboard prone to flexing

    Just two USB ports

Sony is renowned for its ultraportable laptops, producing some of the most stylish and desirable machines available. The VAIO VGN-TZ21WN/B (£1799 inc. VAT) is a case in point, offering tiny dimensions and a distinctive design.

The 11.1-inch display may be small, but it's also extremely impressive. Where other machines use conventional fluorescent tubes to light their displays, the Sony's panel uses LED backlighting. The benefit is seen in brighter and more accurate colours, and the technology is more power efficient. To this end, we regularly managed to get over six hours of use away from a power point.

The graphics card is integrated, which is also beneficial to battery life. It prevents the machine from running complex 3D applications, but you'll have no trouble writing emails, documents and watching the occasional DVD.

The keyboard is comfortable to use. The keys aren't full sized, but with a gap between each one it's easy to type at speed without mistakes. The touchpad is also large and accurate, although the mouse buttons are placed on the very front of the chassis, hampering use slightly.

This is a well-made device, with quality materials used to help keep the weight down to just 1.3kg. The chassis is largely made of carbon fibre, and it remained reasonably cool to the touch throughout our tests. However, the area around the keyboard flexed under pressure, and the lid also scratches easily.

ULV processor

The processor is a ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) chip, which runs at 1.06GHz. Although it doesn't offer quite the same performance as its rivals, the 2048MB of memory helps it to perform to a reasonable standard. The 100GB hard drive is limited, but there's still plenty of space for your photos, work files and music.

The SIM card slot is hidden behind the battery, so there's no chance of the card falling out accidentally. Connection speeds were good, with a reasonable signal when out and about.

Other features include an integrated webcam and an integrated fingerprint scanner. The Sony is fairly limited when it comes to ports, however. There are just two USB 2.0 ports, limiting the amount of peripherals you can connect simultaneously, and there's no support for digital signals if you want to connect an external display.

Despite this, the Sony remains an attractive option. Its all-day battery life and tiny size make it ideal for the daily commute, further aided by the inclusion of 3G/HSDPA technology.