Every time we look at a thin and light notebook, like the MSI X-Slim, Samsung X360 or Apple MacBook Air, there's always evidence of the struggle between adding features and keeping the weight down. It may a weak processor, or too few USB ports, but there's always something. Every time, that is, until now.
There's absolutely nothing missing from the 13.4in Sony Vaio Z31VN/X, and yet it weighs almost 600g less than the equivalent aluminium MacBook.?It's a stunning technical achievement, but as you might expect, it'll cost you.
Disc drive included
Despite its slim dimensions, the Vaio Z31VN/X packs in a DVD-RW drive and every kind of connectivity you could possibly want. If the Swiss Army are issued with computers these days, this is what the footsoldiers will have.
It's got Wireless-N, Firewire, Gigabit Ethernet, 3G and even a dial-up modem, just in case. The most incredible thing, though, is the 2.66GHz processor. It's a full-speed affair, and yet somehow kept cool inside the Vaio's slim chassis.
Compare it to the current low-voltage CPUs currently doing the rounds in these thin machines and you'll appreciate the difference.
Somehow, on top of that, there's also room for a second graphics chip inside the Z31VN/X. A switch above the keyboard moves you between the efficient integrated Intel video processor and a more powerful NVIDIA one. It won't necessarily give you HD gaming, but it'll be enough to get most new titles at least running on the screen.
World’s best laptop screen
And what a screen it is. Like its stablemate, the Vaio FW, it's incredibly sharp and richly coloured in every one of its 1600x900 pixels. It's by far the highest resolution 13.4in panel we've seen, and gorgeous with it. It's matched with a decent set of speakers too, giving the Vaio Z more multimedia prowess than you'd expect for a laptop this size.
Of course, all this excellence does have a price tag attached, and the faint of heart had better look away now. Especially in the wake of the recent price cuts across the 13in MacBook Pro and Air range, the Vaio Z is obscenely expensive. Especially when the aluminium finish only extends to the keyboard surround rather than the entire chassis too.
Still, if you're buying with value for money in mind, you'd never have clicked on this review in the first place. If you wanted to know whether or not the Vaio Z is worth the extravagant price, the answer is yes.