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The Vaio PCG-Z1RMP is another example of superb design from Sony. This notebook really does look great and the way that the chassis curves and falls away at the sides to reveal the ports and connectors makes it very individual as well.
The Z1RMP is not what you’d call an ultra-portable notebook, but with a weight of 2.1kg, it’s light enough to be carried around with you all the time. The dimensions are pretty impressive too at 316 x 39 x 247mm (WxHxD), especially considering that there’s an optical drive built into the chassis.
There’s no catch securing the lid shut, but it’s not as if notebooks suddenly flip open by themselves if they’re not clasped down. Lifting the lid reveals an aesthetically pleasing mix of silver and black. Unusually, the touchpad is the same silver colour as the rest of the chassis which adds to the visual appeal.
The keyboard is a joy to use, even though there is less travel to the keys than seen on other notebooks. The lack of travel isn’t an issue as the keys are so responsive to the touch that your fingers just bounce back from each keystroke. The keys are also full-size which is always a bonus on a notebook, with the Return and Backspace keys both large and easy to hit. The cursor keys aren’t set away from the rest of the keyboard but they are full size and in the correct configuration. The whole keyboard is also slightly sloped towards you, which adds to the comfort factor.
The touchpad is also pretty good even though it’s smaller than normal. The smaller size of the touchpad does mean that you need to set the sensitivity a bit higher, but pointer manipulation is still simple. Below the touchpad are two metallic selector buttons that respond with a reassuring click whenever pressed.
The screen is a 14.1in TFT display with a native resolution of 1,400 x 1,050. This is a pretty high resolution for a screen this size and some people may find the resulting text and icons too small. However, I’m a great advocate of high resolutions and I am more than willing to put up with smaller text if it means that I can fit more windows on my desktop. The screen isn’t the brightest or most vivid that I’ve ever seen, especially compared to the Onyx Black screens seen on other Sony notebooks. That said, the screen is a very respectable example and it’s comfortable to use even for extended periods of time.
Inside the Z1RMP is a 1.5GHz Intel Pentium M CPU which makes up part of the Intel Centrino specification. The processor is backed up by 512MB of RAM, an ATi Mobility Radeon graphcis chipset and a capacious 60GB hard disk. Adding to the high-end specification is Windows XP Professional.
If wireless connectivity is important to you, you’ll love the Z1RMP. Being a Centrino based machine you obviously get built-in WiFi functionality. With integrated WiFi you can make use of the growing number of WiFi hotspots around the country, or in fact the world. It makes your notebook a truly mobile office assuming you can find a hotspot when you need one. But what about when you desperately need to check your email and there isn’t a hotspot anywhere near you? Well there’s no need to worry because Sony has that covered too. As well as WiFi, the Z1RMP has integrated Bluetooth functionality. With Bluetooth you’ll be able to get connected via your mobile phone, as long as it has Bluetooth as well. Bluetooth is a real bonus for anyone who may need to get connected anytime and anywhere. There is only a single switch for the wireless connectivity, but a tray icon allows you to choose which service you want it to activate, or if you want both Bluetooth and WiFi enabled.