Sony VAIO VGN-SZ1VP - Sony VAIO VGN-SZ1VP

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When it comes to performance, the SZ1VP gives an excellent account of itself, considering that this is a thin and light machine. The SYSmark 2002 score of 322 blows away the S5VP that this notebook replaces – the latter only managed a score of 262. Interestingly, I ran SYSmark using the Intel integrated graphics and the GeForce GO 7400 chipset and the overall score was exactly the same, although the Internet Content Creation and Office Productivity breakdowns were different.


PCMark showed a similarly massive leap forward over the outgoing machine, even when running with the Intel graphics – I make a point of mentioning this, because slow graphics can have a big effect on PCMark. Running PCMark with the Intel graphics turned in a score of 2965 compared to 2729 on the S5VP, which was equipped with a GeForce GO 6400 chipset. However, once I switched to the GeForce GO 7400 chipset the SZ1VP surged forward with a score of 3586!


As already mentioned, 3D performance was vastly improved when using the nVidia chipset and the numbers do indicate that you should be able to play the odd 3D game when you switch over to the nVidia graphics.


Battery life is a massive improvement over the S5VP with the SZ1VP lasting almost 100 minutes longer – 262 compared to 165 minutes to be precise. The DVD playback time is also impressive at 218 minutes compared to 142 minutes on the old machine. Of course all those times were achieved using the Intel integrated graphics, but to be fair that’s exactly what you’re likely to be using when on battery power. That said, despite using the slower graphics chipset, the SZ1VP managed a MobileMark performance rating of 203, only eight points behind the S5VP.


Like the S5VP before it, this top of the range S Series machine is only available through Sony Style, and also like the S5VP it costs a pretty penny. At £1,799 including VAT, this is one very expensive notebook, but it’s also one of the best I’ve ever used. The 2GHz Core Duo CPU is just superb and will cope with pretty much anything you throw at it and just come back for more. Add to that the beautiful design and construction, the carbon fibre chassis, brushed aluminium wrist rest and LED backlight, and you get some idea of where that money is going.


Despite the fact that I was a fan of the previous S Series notebooks, Sony has made a quantum leap with the SZ1VP and created a worthy platform for Intel’s new Core Duo chips. If you’ve got the money and want one of the best specified and most desirable notebooks out there, head on over to Sony Style and pre-order one of these.


”’Verdict”’


When I reviewed the Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi I was stunned by how good it was, and what a great CPU the Core Duo T2500 is. Now Sony has raised the bar and created a machine almost as powerful and well specified, but in a slimmer, lighter and altogether more desirable package. Of course the SZ1VP is more expensive than the Acer and doesn’t sport the superb high-resolution screen, but one thing’s for sure, this is the best thin and light notebook ever to grace the TrustedReviews lab.

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