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In a hark back to the VAIO X505VP, Sony has mounted the power button in the right hinge of the lid - I thought this looked cool on the X505VP and it looks just as good on the TZ11MN. It's good to see that the button glows a pale green when the notebook is switched on, rather than the somewhat ubiquitous blue. The power socket is located in the left lid hinge to add a degree of continuity. Also like the X505VP, the battery slides in between the hinge points, creating a barrel effect running along the back of the machine.
The TZ11MN is ever so slightly larger than the TX Series that it replaces, but only by a few millimetres. With dimensions of 276 x 199 x 29mm (WxDxH) this is a very slim machine. Sony quotes a weight of 1.19kg, and that's exactly what the TZ11MN registered on the TrustedReviews scales, so it's actually a tad lighter than the outgoing TX Series.
Despite the svelte dimensions and the very light weight, Sony has still managed to squeeze an optical drive into the TZ11MN. On the right side of the chassis is a dual layer DVD writer which will accept DVD+R/RW, DVD-R/RW and even DVD-RAM. The DVD drive also highlights the fact that this machine can playback both DVDs and CDs without actually booting into Windows. The AV mode boots pretty much instantly and lets you view images or listen to music files as well as play optical media. Next to the DVD writer on the right is a D-SUB port for connecting to an external monitor, but considering the screen on this notebook, I have no idea why you’d want to do that.
Unusually, the front is jam packed full of features. First up there’s the full set of AV buttons – Play/Pause, Stop, Skip Back, Skip Forward and Eject, along with the AV Mode button itself. Below the AV buttons is a hardware switch for the wireless adapters, complete with status indicators. Also at the front are memory card readers for both SD/MMC and MemoryStick formats, along with both headphone and microphone sockets.
On the left are two USB 2.0 ports, which are conveniently next to each other – ideal if you want to power an external hard disk that requires juice from more than one port. Also on the left side of the chassis is a flap which hides a modem socket, an Ethernet port and a four-pin FireWire port. Finally you’ll find a spring loaded flap that hides an Express Card slot – testament that it’s time I got myself either an Express Card or USB based HSDPA modem!