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Sony VGN-Z51WG review

In today's cut-price age is there a place for a full-on no-compromise high cost ultra portable? We weigh up the Sony Vaio VGN-Z51WG in this review.

There's no complaints about the trackpad and there's a fingerprint reader sitting between the mouse buttons.

The power button is embedded into a green coloured button on the right hinge, and you'll find a good range of ports and connections - two USB, mini FireWire, VGA, HDMI, modem and ExpressCard 54, along with headphone and a microphone. Perhaps one more USB port would have been welcome, but it's a small complaint considering the dimensions. With an optical drive on board too, the 1.49Kg weight is impressive.

In terms of specs, this is certainly no netbook. An Intel Core 2 Duo P9700 offers up 2.8GHz, and the 6GB of DDR3 RAM supplied justifies the presence of a 64-bit edition of Windows 7 Professional. The benchmark score of 1.43 delivers on the promise of these high specifications - around 3x faster, on average, than a netbook.

This means that, despite its size, you can plug this machine into the mains and get real work done without having to feel dragged back. It also provides plenty of headroom while disconnected from the wall charger. Run everything at maximum - screen on full, CPU clocked up - and we were done in one hour and 33 minutes. By being a bit more restrained, simply by selecting Windows 7 Power Saver mode in combination with Sony's power management, meant we were still going after 10 hours in our light use test. Engage in a mixture of heavy and light use, and you'll still gain many hours of uncorded working.

There's no question then that this is one of the finest ultra portables you can buy, though at the price, that would be a prerequisite. However, as long as you can persuade your boss or your bank manager that your business will boom with one of these tucked under your arm, then the Vaio VGN-Z51WG comes highly recommended.

Verdict

The Sony VGN-Z51WG is a very fine machine, offering a well built chassis, and great looks, while the excellent performance is married to great battery life. The inevitable high price is its only significant down side.

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo P9700 Memory: 6GB DDR3 Storage: 320GB hard disk Graphics: Intel GMA X4500MHD and Nvidia Geforce 9300M GS Display: 13.1in 1,600 x 900 Ports: 2 x USB, VGA, HDMI, SD & Memory stick slot, Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire Connectivity: 802.11bg +, Bluetooth OS: Windows 7 Professional Dimensions: 314 x 210 x 33mm (WDH) Weight: 1.49kg

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