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Sony Vaio VGN-SZ4XWN review

Windows Vista comes to Sony's flagship ultraportable

Weighing in at 1.7kg, the Sony is an ultraportable machine you can carry around with ease

Our Verdict

It scores highly for features, performance and portability, but the high price is a slight dampener


  • Good performance

    Highly portable


  • Expensive

This pre-release Sony VAIO VGN-SZ4XWN (£1899 inc. VAT) is the first laptop we've looked at that comes loaded with Windows Vista Business Edition. The processor is a T7200 Core 2 Duo, which isn't the fastest chip around, but with 2048MB of DDR2 memory, its unlikely the average user will notice any lack in performance, as this is a smooth-running laptop.

Due to this being a pre-release sample, we were unable to gather any benchmark results, but running the laptop alongside the similarly specified SZ3VWP/X it offers very much the same kind of usage model, so you can expect a good response and a long battery life.

Weighing in at 1.7kg, the Sony is an ultraportable machine you can carry around with ease. This is largely due to the use of a 13.3-inch Super-TFT panel, which uses LED lamps instead of standard flourescent tubes to backlight the panel.

The keyboard has a stylish design, with the squared-off keys being firmly mounted and very responsive. The keyboard is comfortable and highly pleasing to use, with a great deal of travel as you type. As with previous models, you can expand on the battery life of the machine by switching between the dedicated nVidia GeForce Go 7400 and the integrated chipset.

There is a switch above the keyboard that allows you to do this instantly. The nVidia GPU is a mainstream card, which is fine for media presentations and editing of video, but shouldn't be seen as a serious gamer's option. What this means for the average user is that all of Vista's new features really shine through as it handles Aero with ease.

Good mover

This laptop is designed for the mobile user, so an HSDPA ExpressCard 3G modem is supplied, which means you can collect and send your email regardless of location. Service is provided by T-Mobile, with tariff prices ranging from £29 to £44 per month.

Features include a built-in DVD rewriter, as well as a 1.3-megapixel camera located above the screen that can be used for video messaging and taking photos. A fingerprint reader below the keyboard can be used to protect your data without needing to remember complex passwords.

The VAIO VGN-SZ4XWN continues Sony's trend of impressive, but expensive, ultraportable laptops. If you need your lightweight laptop to lack nothing, this is the machine for you.