The left side sports two USB 2.0 ports, an Express Card slot and a plastic flap that hides a modem socket, an Ethernet port and a four-pin FireWire port. The rear is dominated by the cylindrical battery, which slides between the two rounded hinges. The right hinge houses the power button that glows green when the notebook is operational and the left hinge houses the power socket.
Performance wise the TZ12VN is pretty much on a par with its cheaper sibling, however when you look at the hard disk score under PC Mark, it’s clear that the SSD in this notebook gives it a definite advantage when it comes to access times. Subjectively, battery life proved to be slightly improved over the TZ11MN, which was quite impressive itself. You’re probably looking at around seven hours battery life, depending on how bright you set the screen and whether you’re using wireless. MobileMark 2007 should be appearing very soon, which will run under Vista, and as soon as I get my paws on code, I’ll get the TZ12VN back in the lab to get a definitive battery life result.
The top of the range TZ notebook with a standard hard disk will set you back £1,899 including VAT and this version costs £2,099, so you’re paying an extra £200 for the privilege of having a solid state drive inside. That’s not actually a bad premium, considering that solid state drives cost over £1,000 not too long ago, but you’ve got to ask yourself if you can justify spending 50 per cent more on the TZ12VN over the TZ11MN.
I love this notebook. If money were no object to me I’d climb into my bright orange Porsche 911 GT3 RS, drive to the nearest Sony store and pickup one of these without thinking twice. Unfortunately money is most definitely an object to me, so I’m unlikely to ever be able to afford the GT3 RS or the TZ12VN!
However, if you are in a position to spend over £2,000 on a notebook, you most definitely won’t be disappointed in the TZ12VN. Even then though, you’re going to have to seriously want that solid state drive to pay a £700 premium over the excellent TZ11MN.