Back in October I reviewed the Sony VAIO VGN-TX1XP and was won over by its gorgeous design, light weight and truly exceptional battery life. Now I have the new VAIO VGN-TX2XP in front of me and it looks every bit as good as its predecessor, so much so that I wasn't sure that Sony had sent me the right machine at first. Yes, the TX2XP looks pretty much identical to the TX1XP on the outside, but to be honest that's no bad thing.
I've reviewed a great many notebooks over the years, but this TX chassis is one of the best I've ever used. Not only is the TX2XP incredibly light at only 1.25kg, it's also tiny, measuring only 272.4 x 195.1 28.5mm (WxDxH). The lid is finished in a dark blue with a mirrored VAIO logo in the centre, but when you open it up the whole keyboard and wrist rest are matt silver.
The 11.1in screen is the same as the TX1XP with a generous 1,366 x 768 resolution - this gives you a true 16:9 aspect ratio, making the TX2XP ideal for watching movies on the move. The TX1XP pioneered the use of LEDs as a backlight source for a notebook screen, but it wasn't without issue - there was a significant amount of light bleed from the bottom of the screen - something that I mentioned to Sony at the time. Thankfully it would appear that Sony has worked hard to resolve this issue because there's no hint of light bleed on the TX2XP.
The screen in the TX2XP benefits from Sony's X-Black high contrast coating, which makes colours look incredibly vivid and bright. Yes, the screen is more reflective than a standard TFT, but that's a small price to pay. The LED backlight will give you a wider colour gamut as well, but to be honest that's not going to be a massive advantage on a screen this size. The big advantage that you do get with an LED backlight screen is significantly improved battery life and that has never been more true than with the TX2XP.
The keyboard may be too small for some, but I had no problem typing at full speed. Despite the keys being somewhat smaller than many other notebooks, Sony has still managed to over-size the Return, Backspace, Caps Lock, Tab and Shift keys. It's also reassuring to see that the Spacebar is a decent size, and even the cursor keys are dropped down from the main keys.
Below the Spacebar is one of the best touchpads I've ever used - not only is it superbly responsive, but it also has a textured and tactile feel to it. The right side of the touchpad can be used for scrolling up and down through documents, but strangely the bottom edge can't be used to scrolling left and right - that said, you won't need to do much horizontal scrolling with a 1,366 x 768 resolution.