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Sony VAIO VGN-SZ1VP
It wasn't that long ago that I reviewed the VAIO S5VP which represented the end of the original VAIO S Series chassis. To be honest I was a little disappointed at the demise of the previous S Series since I quite liked it. Despite the fact that it's Sony's T Series notebooks that I truly lust after, the S Series offered slightly larger physical dimensions for users who find the T Series just too small to get to grips with. Of course I needn't have worried, because the new VAIO S Series makes the outgoing model look positively antiquated.
Think of the Mercedes SL series, when the latest incarnation of this motoring icon appeared it made the outgoing model look like a horse and cart by comparison. Now, I wouldn't say that the new S Series diminishes the impact of the previous model to that extent, but the VAIO VGN-SZ1VP sitting in front of me right now is one of the best looking notebooks I've ever laid my paws on.
Sony has spared no expense when it comes to the construction of the SZ1VP. Using a mixture of brushed aluminium and carbon fibre, this is one desirable mobile computer, as well as being pretty robust to boot. As soon as you open the lid you'll notice that it's wafer thin - Sony has achieved this by using an LED backlight source for the screen, a technology that was first seen in the VAIO TX1XP. However, the screen in the TX1XP wasn't without its problems. There was significant light bleed from the base of the screen which could be quite distracting, but it's good to see that Sony has totally solved that problem with the SZ1VP. In fact the lighting on this screen is both bright and uniformly even across the entire surface. Of course Sony has employed its X-Black high-contrast coating which ensures that colours are extremely vivid and life like, while blacks look, well black. This really comes into its own when you're watching movies and the widescreen aspect ratio of the display will add to the cinematic effect.
With a resolution of 1,280 x 800, you've got a reasonable amount of desktop real estate at your disposal, especially considering the 13.3in physical size. Of course the TX1XP has a slightly higher resolution on an even smaller screen, but that's the whole point of the S Series - some people actually don't want a notebook as small as the TX1XP.