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By Andrew Gould 6 January 2009

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The Sony VAIO series of notebooks: James Bond uses one in Quantum of Solace, so you know it’s gotta be good right? 

Well product placement has the knack of making us suspicious, more suspicious than we would ordinarily be when testing a notebook. The first thing you must be wary of when having a look at the specs for the VAIO Z series is that Sony gives you the starting price, but then on the ­landing page lists only the best specs and most ­impressive features.

We were all excited as we thought that Sony’s slogan of “Blu-ray for all” meant that this VAIO, the VGN-Z12GN, would come with a Blu-ray drive. But the fact that it had an HDMI output connector turned out to be little more than a red-­herring. This very pretty (it must be said) notebook has only the standard resolution. Again though, the 13.1" (WXGA++: 1600 x 900) TFT colour display is very good as notebook displays go.

On this point about screens we must take a look at the way the VAIO is put ­together. The lid with screen is extremely thin. Good, you might think, but it’s so bendy and twisty. Too bendy and twisty we say. But enough complaints, let’s talk business. The VGN-Z12GN has an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor P8600 (2.40GHz) processor with 2GB of DDR3 RAM and a whopping great 250GB hard disk, specs not to be sneezed at. The VAIO uses two graphics adapters (depending on whether you want speed or stamina) NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS notebook GPU for Speed Mode and a Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD for Stamina Mode.

Overall we do like the VAIO a lot; we just wish that the marketing department at SONY would be slightly more open about the fact that only one model in the Z series comes out with Blu-ray.

Get it for R21 899 (incl VAT) from Computer ­Corporation on 08616-08616.

PROS
Light weight and very stylish. Good performance.
CONS
No blu-ray drive.
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