On the connectivity front the CR11Z/R covers most areas, though it certainly doesn’t offer anything that you wouldn’t see from any other manufacturer. First on the left there’s D-Sub and four-pin S-Video connections, followed by two USB 2.0 ports, a four-pin FireWire, Mic and Headphone jacks and a Wireless On/Off switch.
There are no connections on the front of the notebook; just the media control keys and status lights which are inset into the chrome. Similarly on the back there isn’t a great deal to see, just the DC-in and Modem connections.
On the right edge there’s a MemoryStick reader, should you have a device that uses Sony’s own brand of memory card. Thankfully, Sony has been wise enough to include an SD memory card reader as well, while below these is a 34mm Express Card slot. Rounding things off is one more USB 2.0 port and an Ethernet port, with the rest of the space taken by the optical drive.
If one were being fussy it would be nice to have an HDMI port on here, but given this is less an entertainment and multimedia notebook and more a portable all-rounder it’s a forgiveable oversight. Moreover, with a notebook this good looking there’s no good reason why you’d want to leave it hooked up to a TV all day; it’s meant to be seen.
For software the CR11Z/R comes with the usual range of Sony VAIO branded Photo and Video software, along with WinDVD for VAIO. Sony’s SonicStage software also makes an appearance, along with Hard Disk Recovery and the whole gamut of Google utilities such as Google Desktop and Toolbar for Internet Explorer. There are also trial versions of Microsoft Office 2007 and Norton Internet Security – the latter of which I’d uninstall immediately, in favour of something more streamlined like AVG.
One notable and very welcome addition though is a fully licensed version of Adobe Photoshop Elements, the baby brother of Adobe’s professional grade Photoshop range. This is a very good piece of software, featuring all the tools an average user might need without all the extra weight of ones they don’t.