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  • Malih - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    I'm curious how low would the temperature be, and how much longer the battery life is if it uses an i5 (or maybe i3?).

    Primarily cause I don't expect too much CPU power with an ultrabook, and the cooler it runs, the less noisier it is, the better, just as long as I can browse the internet, watch HD movie, run a development web server and code comfortably, preferably on 8-hour or so battery life.

    Perhaps if AnandTech could test/request some of the i3 or i5 Ultrabooks from manufacturers instead of maximum performance hardware in the future.
  • mczak - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    core i5 instead of core i7 doesn't really buy you anything - in fact it should be slightly slower for the same power usage.
    I think though if the fan really has trouble cooling that 35W chip Sony should have opted for a i7 25W instead. If you compare the i7 2620M (35W) with the i7 2649M (25W, same price) you'll notice you don't really give up that much (in contrast to the 17W options which definitely sacrifice peak performance quite a bit).
    The i7 2649M has 2.3Ghz clock with 3.2Ghz turbo, while the i7 2620M has 2.7Ghz clock with 3.4Ghz turbo. That's just 15% deficit for base clock and 6% for turbo. The IGP is also clocked lower but since you've got a dock with discrete graphics it probably isn't that important.
    (In contrast the fastest 17W i7, the i7-2677M, has just 1.8Ghz base clock, with 2.9Ghz turbo, a bigger loss percentage wise against the 25W i7.)
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    While the i3, i5, and i7 are all rated at 35W TDP, that's not what they'll actually draw on a consistent basis. My experience in the past has been that, depending on the voltage of a specific CPU (which varies slightly even for the same clock speed), you will find i7 frequently uses a bit more power (offers slightly lower battery life) than i5. It's usually not enough of a difference to worry about, though -- like less than 5%. My feeling is that 35W is just pushing the limits of the cooling solution a bit too hard; either they need a slightly thicker laptop (thicker = more airflow), or they need a lower TDP CPU. Reply
  • mczak - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - link

    I'd love to see a test comparing different i7 chips (with several identical ones to account for variation) to different i5 chips (again with several identical ones).
    There used to be a time where faster chips had a published TDP which was larger than slower ones (they often also had higher voltage). Then at some point someone must have realized this doesn't look good, and all chips had the same TDP (or rather same TDP class) even though it was plainly obvious the power draw of the faster chips was still higher (they continued to have higher frequency, the same or higher voltage, and leakage wasn't much of a factor).
    Nowadays, with multiple VIDs and leakage being an important factor, this isn't that obvious. but it would not be surprising if it's still somewhat true.
    I agree though it would not be enough of a difference in any case to make a significant difference for cooling (hence the 25W suggestion, though this implies core i7 as there are no current mobile i3/i5 25W chips).
  • Malih - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Thanks, I wasn't aware they have the same TDP. I wouldn't mind the 17W i7 if the temp is lower, guess I'll be looking for laptop with this CPU.

    I assumed since it is a quad core the i7 probably would produce more heat, compared to dual core i5 (or i3).
  • Malih - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Oh, I just noticed on the specs sheet that the i7 2620M is a dual core. Reply
  • vavutsikarios - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    could you please provide the dimensions and weight in metric system please? Reply
  • axelthor - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Yes please! Reply
  • mtoma - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Amen to the metric system! AnandTech aims to be an international site, yes? Progress, progress, progress, much like we demand to the notebook manufacturers. Reply
  • ratte - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Agree, really annoying to have to translate everytime Reply
  • epyon96 - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Please keep the imperial system and give us both.

    Metric system is useful for math but it is hard to imagine visually.
  • silverblue - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Speak for yourself... I've grown up with both. :) Reply
  • Plattypus - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Hard to imagine visually for 4.55% of the population. The world doesn't revolve around the united states. Reply
  • flamefox777 - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    "Hard to imagine visually for 4.55% of the population. The world doesn't revolve around the united states."

    That's sooo cute in a naive and innocent sort of way! ^_^ It's always so adorable when someone from the other part of the world tries to convince people (all who know better) that the world isn't centered on the USA. ^_^

    So, we have 4.55% of the population? We'll go with that. Google tells me we also put out about a $14.58 Trillion GDP -- that's 32.74% of global GDP. China, in the number 2 slot, does $5.88 Trillion.

    You watch our movies and television, you buy our crap, take our handouts, talk (bad) about us. You're on our Internet, going to our sites and talking about our stuff (some of you even learned English just to do so)...

    Kinda hard to argue the world doesn't revolve around us. I guess It's debatable. Cute when someone tries, anyway. "Our country is important too!"

    Please do stop becoming so Americanized, though. We need vacation spots. XD

    I agree, though, for the rest of the population not lucky enough to be in the greatest country in the world, you could include the metric system. It's quick an easy to do, and there's no arguing it's better in every way. It is ethnocentric to ignore their pleas. We wouldn't want to be ethnocentric, now, would we? XD

    In it for the trollololz! XD
  • InsaneScientist - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - link

    I'm not gonna touch most of that post with a 10ft pole. lol...

    However, I do have to take issue with your math.

    US GDP is about $14.58T, that we agree on.
    World GDP is somewhere in the neighborhood of $63.04T right now, though.
    14.58/63.04 = 23.13%
    Definitely still a HUGE part of the world production capacity... but we're not quite as high as you said. ;)
  • Penti - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - link

    You also has a trade deficit of 558 billion US and does export less goods then China. Funny about numbers... Germany is also a larger exporter then the US. Per capita even the fallen down former power of United Kingdom does export more stuff. China and Germany has more production capacity however you look at it. Which of course makes the US far less then a quarter of the world market/production and rather at 8-9%. That doesn't mean there aren't important companies there, dominating in it's fields, sheer size and government founded research and procurement makes sure of that, but it doesn't make it some god given gift to mankind. Your also one of the biggest markets, but that doesn't mean everybody should join the fight for it.

    It all depends on how much air your GDP is made up with. That air is of course basically taken from other countries.
  • flamefox777 - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - link

    Tell you what, Penti, you just manipulate those numbers however makes you feel good about your country or whoever you're rooting for. I want you to feel warm and fuzzy about your little country. Sure, sure; it's our government funding that makes our companies great or whatever. Justify our dominance however you want.

    The sour grapes are so cute! ^_^ I just want to pinch your widdle cheeks! ^_^


    In it for the trollololz! XD
  • jay_kay - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    aww, it's always so cute to see a cry baby who gets offended by a simple fact ^_^
    USA is the greatest country in the universe, but unfortunately they don't make the bulk of the population on earth. The majority of the people who read the articles here are from outside USA. isn't that sad? :-(
    but the good thing is that the previous comment actually made you spend some time to search and learn a bit about your country. Now you know more about your country kiddo. your daddy is gonna be so proud about you ^_^
    C'mon, he didn't say anything bad about your country at all. I admire USA, a great country. But ironically, it is the least important people, people who are next to useless to the growth of USA who talk like this and people start thinking that Americans in general are idiotic. The guy on top of you just said something about you guys being just a part of the world population, no need to feel so insecure. ;-) and it was a few percentage of your population that made your country great. Great men and women created industries, created jobs, paved way for fast growth and development with the help of other Americans. A few useless morons, who can be totally useless, just because of the virtue of being an American, think they are great.
    I see you mentioned China there. Wow, this kid knows another country's name now! btw, China is growing faster than USA. it will inevitably overcome USA in the near future. Maybe you can help your country, by doing something other than writing how great your country is. Do that quick before you lose your job to some chinese or Indian.
    and btw, there's a country called England. That is where English came from. People speak English because of them. they conquered many parts of the world. You should thank them. :-D
  • Death666Angel - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    A lot of articles have metric measurements but just about as many don't have it. Baffling to me.
  • Nfarce - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    What, you mean you can't find a simple free conversion site on the web? REALLY? I don't whine about it when reading a European website and do a conversion. Sheesh you lazy people. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    I've been trying to include metric on all my laptop specs for a while, but I guess I didn't pass the message along to Dustin. Consider him flogged for being an Imperialist scum. ;-) Reply
  • Solandri - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    The point isn't that you can do the conversion yourself on a free web site. The point is that if the article author does the conversion once, then tens of thousands of readers don't have to do the same conversion themselves. 60 seconds saved * 50,000 readers = 1 month of aggregate time saved. Reply
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - link

    Metric is a SI standard. Imperial units aren't. Too bad. Reply
  • Sea Shadow - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    I can't help but feel like this article was lost in time somewhere as a lot of things just don't add up.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I could have sworn that the last Z to have the optical drive was 2 generations ago, that or at least it was 2 years ago. The Z sold last year didn't have an optical drive and was nearly identical in body styling.

    Also the current Z doesn't ship with a 2620M, as the option was replaced by the 2640M a while back.

    The gripe with the 4x PCI-E link seems trivial as that is all that Light Peak can support... Last I checked, the interface currently supports 10 Gbit/s. So what else is Sony supposed to do?

    Not that it matters much, as people have been using their express card slot to make their own E-GPUs for quite some time now. I have a Lenovo x220t with an E-GPU and I can confirm that even a 1x link is enough for even BF3. Others have performed scaling tests and found that while there is a marked difference between 1x and 2x, anything above that has a minimal impact. So even a 4x link is plenty sufficient.

    For information on E-GPUs check out this page: (NOTICE:You are responsible for your equipment)

    Also there is a typo on the first page:

    1st page processor model is listed as " Core i7 2720M" but everywhere else it is listed as 2620M

    I won't hold the typo against you, but this review feels out of date, and in my opinion does not meet the usual standards of an Anandtech review.
  • Rick83 - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Also, it would have been interesting to see if performance of the graphics card changes when using an external screen, attached directly to the dock.
    That way the framebuffer won't have to be flushed back (via the displayport segment of LP/TB? or PCIe?) to the laptop, and more bandwidth would be free on the link to the dock. If there truly was a bandwidth limit (at v2x4 and mid-end mobile graphics, there shouldn't be) it might have less impact in that case.

    In the end, for me the SSD-RAID kills the deal. A single SATA 3 high-end SSD would have been plenty of fast enough, and would have instead allowed to either beef up cooling, allow swappable RAM, or just lower the price. Unless they are using a highly specific daughterboard for the SSD to save on space, there really is no reason in this day and age to stick two cheap SSDs where one good one would do the trick.
  • DoctorG - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    If I remember correctly, LP is bi-directional, and most graphics card bandwidth is used to send data to the card, so sending back the framebuffer doesn't impact the performance all that much. There is a noticeable performance difference between the internal vs. external screen though, which I think has to do with the graphics drivers and extra processing required to render something back to the internal display.

    And yes, the SSD "raid" isn't two drives in the normal sense of the word -- it's two controllers, but they are one unit, and designed to be extremely thin. Also, this laptop came out more than six months ago, when the current, high-end controllers did not have as good a track record as they do now . . . I don't know Sony's reason behind the decision or anything, but those are my best guesses.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    I'll see if Dustin still has the Z2 and can check the performance using an external display. As for the out-of-date aspect, that's mostly a factor of Sony not having sent us a review unit until we met with them at CES. The Z2 we're reviewing here technically launched around July last year, so it is six months old -- though it's still on sale. Granted, the CPUs were refreshed to the 2640M, 2530M, etc. but the extra 100MHz speed bump hardly matters.

    Anyway, while the hardware is six months old, we have had a LOT of requests to review the VAIO Z series, so when we finally got a chance to do so we took it. Hopefully, we can get the Ivy Bridge version reviewed closer to launch -- and hopefully it will address a few of our concerns with this model.

    As far as the PCIe bandwidth being limited by Light Peak, that's fine. It's not really Sony's fault that Light Peak can't carry more than an x4 link, but it is their fault for choosing to use the technology this way. It seems reasonable that the bandwidth isn't so much a problem for rendering on an external display, but for some reason it causes some performance degradation with the internal display. Whatever the cause, though, what's important is that we point out the level of performance you can expect in a reasonable use case, and here the Z2 GPU is only fast enough for our "Value" (~medium detail) settings.
  • jonyah - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Yep, you're wrong on the model. the VPC-Z1, was the previous model. Sony usually updates the Z around June. So it won't be long till the Z3 is out. This article is just late since the Z2 has been around since last June. The Z is usually the last model of Sony's notebook line to be updated because they actually do some real engineering to fit everything inside such a small frame. Reply
  • clarkn0va - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    I thought ultrabooks were supposed to be small and beautiful. 2.5 lbs is decently light, but this thing looks thicker than my 3-year old Timeline. Leave it to Sony to bring a knife to a gun fight. Reply
  • jonyah - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    That's because the pictures show it with the optional battery slice attached. Remove the slice and you have a nice thin notebook. Not as thin as an ultrabook but also not as slow as one (I'm still waiting for an ultrabook that has more than 4gb of memory). Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    You realize this has launched far before any Ultrabooks? It doesn't try to be an Ultrabook, as the article mentioned as well.
    Also, I'd take a thicker more useful laptop any day of the week over non-upgradeable, small battery Ultrabooks.
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - link

    I wish sony would ignore the stupid apple air and actually design it without compromises. Make the damn thing thicker (esp at the back as they do/did), quieter, and screen not hitting the table. Reply
  • Anonamouse7 - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    I absolutely love my Vaio Z (last gen). For me, it's great: enough gaming punch to play some light games (runs TF2/HL2 on low or lower settings, which is fine by me), enough CPU to render videos in decent time periods and good portability. And I adore the screen, even if it's 'just' 900p :3

    I feel almost compelled to say something though. On the second page of your review you state:
    "Unfortunately you're at Sony's mercy for driver updates..."
    And therein lies my problem. The last GPU driver update from Sony is dated June 2010! For now, I'll just ignore that even getting to that was an uphill struggle, as my Z is a custom one and the Sony website just kept refusing to recognise it, but since then nVIDIA have released quite a few drivers, and, frankly, it's unacceptable that the 'latest' drivers are over 18 months old.
  • wilkinb - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    if its like the 2011 Z, you can just tell the laptop to do more thermal management in the Sony utils. Then it doesnt make much noise at all....

    As the owner mac and a Z, I have to say I like the Z more (both are nice).
  • whalemonster - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    I bought a Z13 December 2010, which I still love in many ways - built-in Blu-Ray writer, discrete graphics, stunning screen, etc. But even when it arrived, the hybrid graphics driver was dated June 2010, i.e. already 6 months out of date, and Sony have not provided an update since. The stock NVIDIA drivers won't work because Sony has built a custom Intel/NVIDIA hybrid package. So customers are at the mercy of Sony for updates.

    Despite repeated heartfelt appeals to Sony, including the president of the UK operation himself, they have refused to update their graphics driver for this top-of-the-line model, evne during the lifetime of the product. This means that by the time my warranty ended in January 2012, I was using a laptop with a graphics driver 18 months out of date, with no support from Sony whatsoever.

    Sony is a company which produces some great hardware, but their abysmal software support does not justify the premium asking price. My lasting impression is one of a company which is all too happy to bank your money quickly then leave you hanging.
  • MarkColby - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    ...and am extremely happy with it. It's interesting how one's usage model affects the impression of the machine. Mine is mainly coding of embedded applications with cross-compilers, coding of desktop applications, FPGA design and simulation, data-analysis, plus all the normal desktop office-type applications with daily travelling and occasional time-pressured work in difficult conditions thrown in. I rarely have time for gaming these days (boo). My requirements for a laptop are primarly maximum screen resolution and quality, followed by good CPU horsepower for compilation and chip simulation. I've typically had Dells and battery life has typically been <3 hours as a result of my higher priority choices.

    The Z2 appeared to give me the chance to get what I need in a smaller package, plus long battery life (with the slice). I chose it for size/weight, screen resolution, CPU, battery life in that order. I got the dock purely as a convenient way to connect power, external monitor (27" 2560x1440 over HDMI) and BD/DVD. Mine has 8GB ram and 256GB SSD (twin 128GB).

    The Z2 has so far been excellent. The keyboard was odd to start with but I've got used to it now (I remapped right ctrl and application buttons to get convenient home and end keys) and am nearly as fast and accurate with it as a good full-size. I had the slice on from day one so I didn't notice the screen hinge issue mentioned in the review at all. Cold boot to Win7 password prompt is 8 seconds; I have a useable desktop in 12. I had a 256GB Vertex 3 in my previous Dell and this is definitely more responsive to date.

    Computational performance has been very good with compilations, chip layouts and simulations taking around half the time of my previous-generation i7 Dell. Fan noise is only noticeable during these high-demand tasks (and yes it does get quite loud then); otherwise the laptop is generally quiet.

    The slice has a significant (for me) benefit not noted in the review - it re-routes the vents to the back rather than underneath, allowing safe use of the laptop directly on a fabric surface - like a lap :-)

    It is definitely more fragile than a latest generation 14" Dell Latitude (for example - these are excellent machines that we use for many field-personnel) and yes it is indeed expensive but the combination of display, cpu power and form factor is so far more than making up for that, and the 10-12 hours battery life is an extremely welcome bonus.

    Just my 2p. Hope it's useful to someone.
  • DoctorG - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    +1. It sounds like my usage model is very similar to yours, and I have enjoyed using the Z2 very much. Reply
  • Zoomer - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - link

    Here's Sony's target market! Price doesn't matter that much in the grand scheme of corporate budgets. Reply
  • MarkColby - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    Sorry, wrong. It was a carefully considered personally-funded purchase. Reply
  • dustofnations - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Planting Amazon affiliate links one someone else's website is bad enough, but riding on their coattails by trying to make money from the hard work of someone else is truly contemptible. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Original post deleted for spam-like content. Thanks! Reply
  • DoctorG - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Usually I read AnandTech's reviews and hold them in high regard, but this time I feel the quality was not quite up to par. And so, like any good Internetizen, I felt I must complain. ;)

    I purchased the Z2 after being unable to find any other notebook that met all of my requirements -- no optical drive, full voltage processor, good screen, USB3, SSD, very light weight, etc. The Vaio piqued my interest because of the innovative LightPeak dock and thin design, which is very important for me as I carry my laptop around for usually more than 8 hours per day.

    I just typed a 24-page report using the Z's built-in keyboard, because I was on the go and couldn't use my ergonomic keyboard attached to the dock and my 24" monitor at my desk. The Z's keyboard is not the best, of course, but definitely not as horrible as it sounded in the review. And that whole "sweet spot for both typing and visual comfort" thing is sheer bull. Without the hinge, the keyboard would simply be flat -- like *every other* laptop on the market. So, you're complaining about an adjustable angle, when every other laptop's keyboard angle is fixed? Wow. Plus, the design of the hing means the keyboard angle only changes slightly when the screen angle is changed significantly, so that "sweet spot" is pretty easy to find. I can understand being particular, but to me, this sounded like nit-picking an innovative design simply for the sake of complaining.

    If it helps, I ordered the Z without all of Sony's bloatware on it -- a *free* option you neglected to mention in the review. It came installed with only the Sony utilities necessary to access everything on the Z, like fan speed controls, which you also forgot to mention in the review. I set the "Viao" button to change the fan profile, so if I want the laptop to be quiet, I tap the button and the fan noise is decreased, even under load.

    For just about everything else that I have to say, see MarkColby's comment above -- props on that. Pretty much sums it up. I have enjoyed using this computer, and while there are definitely things about it that aren't perfect (the USB ports being too close together, for example, is a problem with larger USB dongles).

    P.S. I've had this laptop since August. And now it's February . . . hmmmm . . .
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    I wouldn't call the hinge "innovative" -- it's different from what others have done, and in this case we feel it is a step backwards. You're welcome to disagree, naturally, which goes for the keyboard as well. How a keyboard feels is quite subjective, but most reviews of the Z2 have complained about the keyboard to various degrees. Dustin really disliked it. I played with it a bit at CES and found it to be flexy and shallow, and my overall impression of build quality was not good. For a $1600+ laptop, that's a pretty serious concern. As for the "lateness" of this review, see my comment above. We have only just started getting Sony laptops for review, and hopefully we can get new models around the time of launch going forward. Of course, if we aren't particularly enamored with a product, that may not happen, but we'll see. Reply
  • joel4565 - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    When you design a product, isn't the first thing you do is to decide a market for the product?

    With that in mind, who exactly is Sony making this laptop for? The screen is beautiful, but with the keyboard being horrible, no one will want to use it for long period of typing.

    The external graphics card is cute, but borderline useless. You will never have up to date drivers and it is no where near powerful enough to drive anywhere near native resolution on any modern game.

    The CPU power is nice except it kills the battery life (when running on one battery) and makes the laptop loud & hot. I personally think we have reached the point where the performance of the 17 watt CPU is probably good enough for most people while mobile.

    The worst part is the price. For the cost of this laptop you could probably buy a ultrabook or 13 mac book air and build a desktop computer for gaming.

    As configured: $2,499
    So you could get a 13" macbook air for $1,299.00 and have 1,200 left over to build a very nice desktop.
  • Metaluna - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    I agree about the confusing design decisions. The inclusion of an analog VGA port seems to argue that this is aimed at businesses where you are giving presentations and hooking up to projectors, which is one of the few places where VGA still seems to be common (that and multi-way KVM switches in server racks). But why would someone like that need an external GPU (with yet another analog port)?

    And the lack of a decent keyboard is simply mind-boggling on a premium-priced product.

    I do think the reviewer's criticism of the hinge design was kind of over the top though. It's unusual to be sure, but I have a hard time getting worked up over slight changes to the keyboard tilt. If the hinge were to, for example, rotate on its own while you were typing or something like that, then that would be much more serious.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    I don't think the problem is so much the tilt but also the "resting on the back of the LCD while the laptop slides around a bit". It's not the worst thing ever, but it's not a great design decision either IMO. Reply
  • MarkColby - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    > with the keyboard being horrible, no one will want to use it for long period of typing.

    Bear in mind that keyboards are a very personal thing and it depends how much you type versus how much you think :-) I have no big issue with it other than the lack of dedicated home, end, page up and page down keys, which there was room for at the side.

    > The external graphics card is cute, but borderline useless. [etc]

    Agreed. the external dock ("PMD") is fine but I could care less about the graphics card in it...

    > The CPU power is nice except it kills the battery life

    Plain wrong unless you're talking about constant load like gaming. My usage model is periods of low load (editing, document referencing etc) and less frequent periods of very high demand (chip simulations etc) where I want maximum performance. I appear to be getting very good battery life even on a single battery (which I have tried once or twice just for comparison). And I'll take the fan noise on those occasions over the alternatives (back ache from a heavy machine or less productivity).

    > The worst part is the price. For the cost of this laptop you could probably buy a ultrabook
    > or 13 mac book air and build a desktop computer for gaming [...] you could get a 13"
    > macbook air for $1,299.00 and have 1,200 left over to build a very nice desktop.

    Except that the macbook and ultrabooks to date won't do what I want and a desktop is no good to me.

    I'm not trying to argure your points - just pointing out that there are some people that Sony's design choices have matched quite well. Yes if I could get this performance and screen and size and weight cheaper I would, but who wouldn't? This is my first Sony, bought entirely based on the configuration of the machine and despite the badge (badges put me off, truth be told) and I'm just hoping my experience will not be as bad as you're all leading me to believe :-)
  • wwwcd - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Sony Vaio Z2 - sh|t, but expensive sh|t, external and docking shIt? Be different for all peoles horror! Low volume of RAM...Only SSD's significance as a, hmm, good component capable...
    "13.1" LED (Matte -good!) 16:9 1080p(?)"I have like microscope look and I see a pixels ;)
  • AssBall - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    It looks like a hell of a laptop, hardware-wise, and great screen. But a few things don't make sense from my perspective.

    Great screen, but on a 13"??? Can't see jack at high res on them.

    Great processor, but again, why have a i7 in a 13", what are you going to do, CAD?

    The shitty keyboard and pad are deal breakers. Sony tech support also sucks.

    Just my opinion.
  • MarkColby - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Oh come on. Don't complain about the screen size/resolution combination just because you've got poor eyes. I'm absolutely fed up with people dissing my primary requirement as being stupid just because they don't want it or can't cope with it. I mostly bought this laptop *because* it had a 13" 1080 screen and I run 8 point font in editors to see more text at once. Perhaps Sony support will indeed turn out to be awful (here's hoping I never need to find out) but at least they made what I wanted when noone else did.

    > Great processor, but again, why have a i7 in a 13", what are you going to do, CAD?

    Er, yes I am thanks. And matlab calculations. And silicon design simulations. What's your issue exactly? Some of us do technically tough jobs on the move.

    > The shitty keyboard and pad are deal breakers. Sony tech support also sucks.

    The keyboard is not great but it's far from the worst I've had to use. Most of the keys even produce the letters printed on them when you hit them. I carry around a wireless logitech trackman because it's better for work (as opposed to gaming) than a mouse or pad. Some of us are happy with the compromises made here to get the features we really need.

    > Just my opinion.

    Do us a favour - stump up the cash and live with the thing for a bit before being so opinionated.

    By the way someone here said the keyboard was 'flexy' or some such? How the heck hard do you type? The key travel is short for sure but this is one of the most solid laptop keyboards I've owned, and I've had more than my fair share over the years...
  • quiksilvr - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    The ONLY comparison you had for these benchmarks is a 17" laptop with one of the most powerful notebook GPUs in the market? Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    We just refreshed our benchmarking suite. I explained that. In the review. Reply
  • nbgambler - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Wait a second... you want us to read, BEFORE flaming??? I'm going back to Yahoo answers! Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Note that we also include 3DMarks for precisely this reason. You can see how graphics performance stands up to previous laptop reviews there, and as we add more laptops to our 2012 test suite, we'll have more comparison points (which will be added to Mobile Bench). Reply
  • kenyee - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    For this expensive an ultrabook, I would have expected a 16GB max :-P

    I've seen it in a Sony store though...this new 13" 1080p screen is indeed amazing...looking forward to the next generation of tablets w/ 1080p or higher displays :-)
  • MadMacMan - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    After reading this review and last night looking at HP EliteBooks and considering their respective price points, who was it again that came up with the whole thang about Apple notebooks being prohibitively expensive!?? I applaud HP for bringing IPS back to notebooks (at 10-bit color no less) but that bag of tricks will set you back way north of $3k unless you'll settle for mediocre specs and a dual-core CPU.

    As for the whole low-wattage deal, Ivy Bridge will do away with those issues in a couple of months and 1080p being considered high screen density? Let's see if those 2880x1440 so-called "Retina" display rumors will come to fruition for MacBook Pro's, because if they do, even a 12" 1200p screen will pale in comparison, and don't go any lower either or you'll bump into a certain "1536p" panel in a 9.7" shell of sorts I keep reading about. Yea, baby. ;-)
  • Dianoda - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Hi, I'd like to request that future display reviews include comments specific to the display's ability to reproduce smooth gradients (ie, black to white, reds, greens, blues) without any noticeable banding, and the ability to reproduce the minute differences between white/extremely light gray and black/extremely dark gray. The gradient banding, black level, and white saturation test images available at come to mind.

    I know that great LCD monitors are rare in laptops, but to truly distinguish an exceptional laptop display we need to examine more than just resolution, contrast ratio, color gamut, and viewing angles (although those aspects of the display are very important as well!).

    Thanks and keep up the good work!
  • polyzp - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    This is by far the most powerful ultrabook out now. I have a feeling AMD's ultrathin trinity will give this a good run for its money!

    http:// AMDFX.blogspot. com
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Except on the CPU aspect, but yes, Trinity should do wonders for IGP performance. 50% faster than the Llano IGP means it should outperform the 6650M and use less power at the same time. Reply
  • bji - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    My friend's Dreamcast broke pretty early on in its lifetime. My PS2 never went bad.

    I believe I have just refuted your entire anecdotal evidence rampage.
  • silverblue - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    I was playing on my 11 year old Dreamcast the other day. :) At my last job, we had three Vaio laptops and two of the screens started to develop dead lines of pixels (or whatever the technical classification is)... cheap panels, I guess.

    In response to rarson, Sony were notorious for developing many versions of their PS and PS2 hardware due to some fault or another. I don't remember Sega doing the same with the Saturn or Dreamcast; theirs were limited to cosmetic/cost saving changes.
  • Death666Angel - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    To be fair, the PSone and PS2 had about 3 times the product live of the Sega consoles. The Saturn was a still-born, because of management changes at the time (it was dropped quickly for the Dreamcast). And the Dreamcast couldn't compete well enough with the PS2 to live out to its old age. PS2 consoles on the other hand are still being produced as we speak. Reply
  • amdwilliam1985 - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    "The price of an HP laptop has nothing to do with the fact that Apple's products are overpriced. It just means that Apple ain't the only one."

    You paid what you get for.
    I can easily buy an $500 HP/Dell laptop over MacBook Air, but we do I get in return for that $500?
    1) A cheap plastic feel
    2) A messed up oem os with tons of junk.
    3) Awful battery life(most of the time).
    4) A slow hard drive to boot up to.
    5) A bad keyboard to type on.
    6) A bad screen(quality) and resolution(720p most likely).
    7) A touchpad that doesn't work well(compare to MBA).

    I used to buy the cheapest(best bang for the buck, got 5 PC in the house). Now I look for quality over price.
  • jonyah - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Sony gives you the option (when configuring on their site) to have no bloatware on the machine. I think that's an invalid argument against it.

    That said, I have the previous Z and don't see any reason to upgrade. I actually prefer my Z1 over the Z2. If it had no optical drive and supported dual external monitor, it would be nearly perfect.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    If you order direct from Sony, you sometimes pay a markup relative to what you'll pay if you buy through other channels. Right now at least that doesn't appear to be the case on the VPCZ22UGX/N ($2550 at Sony or other online resellers), but I certainly wouldn't expect Sony's built-to-order option to be the most economical. Anyway, it's good that you can get a laptop from Sony with a clean OS/software setup, but all the retail units are the standardized build. Reply
  • extide - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    But it appears you can only purchase it WITH the dock. Kind of lame IMHO, as I wouldn't ever use it. The rest of the laptop seems great and 1080p @ 13.3" is awesome! Reply
  • OCedHrt - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    You can buy without the dock. Reply
  • rm19 - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    I much prefer the old VAIO Z's compact all-in-one, "how did they hell did they do that?" format. It weighed less than a MacBook Air, had a Core i7, discrete graphics card, Blu Ray burner and 13.1" 1080p resolution. If they stuck with that formula and just updated to Sandy Bridge and a beefier GPU, I would have been all over it. Reply
  • Penti - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Not business, not Gamer where is it aim at? Looks kinda nice, but it's expensive has a high-res screen, unneeded two drive RAID 0 SSDs, needs the dock to gain faster graphics. No DisplayPort to drive a high-res external screen (above 1920x1200).

    It feels left out and kinda dated. If it had like QM67 chipset and vPro for business, just one SSD, DisplayPort and maybe even an internal discrete graphics solution it would have been much better. Now it's just an expensive notebook with a high-res screen. Without a real Thunderbolt port. You can get more memory (RAM), you can get wireless 3G/4G broadband card as option, but you can't configure it with just one SSD. I would have preferred the relatively weak discrete graphics as an internal card/onboard instead of the second SSD. Sure it's two SSD SATA drives in sandwich but I would prefer something like a single 256GB Samsung 830 mSATA drive. Raid is a bad way to increase capacity here. Why have a couple of sandwiched SSDs, as well as Mini-PCIe WiFi/option for 3G card instead of SO-DIMM memory too? Looks like it has enough room inside to have made other choices like internal discrete graphics. Even MXM 3.0 Type A like a 6770M GPU is just 82 x 70 mm. On board it can even take up less space. Two half-height mini pci-e is 2 x (30x26.8 mm) to begin with. Some other choices could have been made I'm sure.
  • alex1945 - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    I have a Vaio Z2.
    Absolutely, I repeat, absolutely no fan noise.
    The keyboard is good and the touchpad is nornal.
    Mr Dustin you can buy the Vaio Z2 with "fresh start" ,without bloatware.
    Not fair at all, Mr Dustin, sorry.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    Have you done anything that puts the CPU load at 100% for ten minutes? If so, then it appears we have a case of wildly varying laptop thermals. The fact is that Dustin hit nearly 90C on the CPU, which is either a poor design decision, a poor sample, or perhaps both.

    As for the keyboard and touchpad, I've played with the Z2 as well. If you think it's good, that's your right, but I'm with Dustin: this is not a good (or comfortable) keyboard. The one major area where this laptop is awesome is the display. Everything else is "good" at best (e.g. you might like the styling), okay in some cases (I could live with the touchpad if only to get the display), or outright bad in other areas (graphics drivers, thermals, flimsy feel of chassis, and in at least our unit the noise levels).

    I dare say that anyone who bought one of these laptops for $2000 or so to come and call our independent review "unfair" would have to qualify as a biased opinion. Others certainly like the design as well, but I'd rather have NVIDIA Optimus for the switchable graphics, and I'd like build quality to at least feel like a MacBook Pro. This has neither of those, which is a pretty serious drawback in my book.
  • Sea Shadow - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    First of I would like to say thank you for your answers to my previous questions.

    2nd full disclosure, I don't have a Sony Z, I have a Lenovo x220t and I am calling your review not unfair but poor. In my opinion it is below Anandtech standards.

    90C is quite common among laptops packing that type of processor. It's common for most MacBook Pros to hit 90-100c while at high load. I have had friends complain of theirs pushing past 100C when they are running windows on them. If anything I would consider it high praise for the VAIO Z to have a cool chassis while running at full tilt considering many Mac users complain of burning hot chassis with their MacBook Pros

    Not bad considering that a Sony Z is thinner than the thickest point of a MacBook Air

    By way of mention the safe max operating temperature of a 2620M is listed as 100C.

    I have used a Z and the keyboard seemed plenty rigid to me, but that is just a matter of preference. I will agree that the keys were horribly squishy but I'm biased as I have a thinkpad *klack klack klack*.
  • OCedHrt - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    Japanese laptops have always been designed with this "flimsiness." Take a look at Panasonic's line of portable toughbooks or Toshiba's R series. They are all a bit flimsy and I have never heard of anyone's laptop breaking from standard handling. There's a difference between flimsiness and cheap. If anything, my laptop fell out of my car onto tarmac and survived with just a minor chip on the corner. A more solid laptop could shatter in that scenario - just as how phone battery covers pop off but the phone is undamaged yet an iPhone 4's glass will shatter.

    I don't have this generation of Z laptops, but I got the last one for $1100 so I didn't exactly invest in a lot of money to be sore that I got a crappy product.
  • Johnmcl7 - Monday, February 13, 2012 - link

    and you don't just pay a premium for styling and name, you're paying for cutting edge technology that will take other companies years to catch up to. My current Vaio is the older Z5 which is a proper Z series (whereas I wouldn't say the new ones are) which has the fastest mobile Core 2 Duo processor, a beautiful 1600x900 screen, twin graphics cards (internal and discrete), dual 128GB SSDs in RAID 0 and a blu-ray writer wrapped up in a carbon fibre chassis which is smaller and lighter than any of its rivals all which were much lower spec. In fact even machines further up the range struggled to meet its specification. It's easily the best laptop I've had as it easily mixes portability and performance.

    My oldest Vaio is a TX which is an 11.1in ultralight that dates back long before the netbooks and I bought for much the same reasons as the Z series, it was technologically far more advanced than any of its rivals and even years after machines would struggle to match it. In the ultralight category most companies cut corners to get the size and weight down which usually meant no optical drive, a very small 3 or 4 cell battery and a cut down range of ports with dongles required to get normal ports. The TX however did not, it had an onboard optical drive, its standard battery was the same size as rival extended battery and its extended battery was a massive 13,000Mah battery, it had a range of standard ports onboard and despite all that it was still smaller and lighter than its rivals which was some engineering feat. It was also one of the first laptops (if not the first) to use LED backlighting, again years ahead of everyone else.

    I didn't like the older Vaios at all when they were going through their Apple phase when Vaios were the laptops to have which meant Sony could churn out rubbish and people would pay lots of money for it. But once they got past that stage and had to compete for business, their machines were far better. People complain about Macbooks being called overpriced when Vaios are more expensive but I disagree with that, with the Macbooks you're generally getting yesterday's technology or worse whereas Sony are giving you the best there is and frequently a long way ahead of anyone else. I was amused when sites like this one and Ars Technica were defending the C2D in the 13in Macbook because it wouldn't be physically possible to fit the three chips in, at the same time Sony were not only doing that with their Z series but also packing in a more powerful processor with quad SSDs into a chassis smaller and lighter than the Macbook.

    So that's why I buy Sony laptops as I get the best the market has to offer and usually in the most compact package. I prefer the lack of manufacturer software and easier maintenance on some of the Dell machines but the latter is a reasonable price to pay for the smaller size.

  • bernstein - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - link

    FYI : i am currently using a Radeon 6950 in an open ended pcie x4 slot in conjunction with a 35W i3-2100T and you know what? i get a 5-15% penalty in frame rate across games. compared to a full x16 pcie slot.

    so stop writing shit like :
    "even at our lowest benchmark settings in Battlefield 3, the GPU seemed hamstrung by the PCIe x4 bandwidth afforded by the Power Media Dock."

    it it JUST NOT POSSIBLE for a 6650M gpu to be bandwith limited in a pcie x4 link. unless it used the ram as gpu memory, but that would make ZERO sense.

    FYI: there are reviews out there that specifically analyze this, just google them up...
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - link

    Let me help you out: "The GPU seemed hamstrung by the PCIe x4 bandwidth afforded by the Power Media Dock."

    In other words, given the specs the HD 6650M in the dock appears to be underperforming. I've got another laptop with an HD 6630M integrated into the laptop. Let me just give you the numbers from the upcoming review compared the the results of a *faster* HD 6650M in this review:

    Batman AC: 56 (17% faster)
    BF3: 27.2 (45% faster)
    Civ5: 30.3 (76% faster)
    DiRT3: 48.8 (98% faster)
    Portal2: 102.2 (36% faster)
    Skyrim: 40 (7% slower - this is the only game where the Z2 came out on top)
    TWS2: 50.2 (40% faster)

    Average performance of HD 6630M vs. Z2's docked HD 6650M: the integrated HD 6630M is 44% faster.

    These results are from the same tests Dustin is using. What's causing the drop in performance? The dock. Is it because of copying the frame buffer back to the main display? Perhaps, but nevertheless the result is that the HD 6650M in the dock is hamstrung by something. We aren't certain that it's the dock (it could be drivers, for instance), but it SEEMS to be the dock bandwidth.
  • Penti - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    You shouldn't forget that copying over the frame buffer to the integrated graphics does use a lot of memory. It will be more of a hit then when outputing directly from the gpu. I can depend a lot on the software/drivers. It's not really too little bandwidth though. 10GB/s bi-directional should be fine even for higher end gpus basically. Reply
  • aferox - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - link

    I have a couple of older Z's - a Z11 and Z13. I too prefer the "all-in-one" design of those models, and I have found them to be amazing machines. After 2 years of constant use, my Z11 is still holding up quite well. It looks almost new. The 330M is a better graphics card than I expected. I can play Skyrim quite comfortably with medium to high settings. The laptop is powerful enough to reasonably run genetic statistics analyses. The physical switch for graphics has had no impact, since it functions intelligently and I haven't had to touch it in ages. The keyboard feels a bit soft and mushy to me, with little tactile feedback from the keys, but not problematic. People seem to have a huge variety in preferences regarding keyboards. I like reviews to have detailed descriptions (clicky, soft, shallow key travel, etc.) rather than "good" or "bad". Adding qualified subjective statements is okay, but not sufficient. This review worked fine that way for me. The screen is excellent.

    The Z2 is an interesting laptop. Unfortunately, it has moved away from some of the features which made the older Z11-Z13 line so attractive to me. I don't want to carry around an external dock. It adds weight, which is a prime factor for me, and it is, well, a clunky solution. More connections to make when I want it, and more real estate gobbled up. If a laptop + dock weighs as much as a larger all-in-one, then I see no advantage for me. I don't travel with part of my system. I certainly don't care about thickness (3/4", 1", who cares?), but weight and robustness are all important. I prefer the old-style hinge with the power connector on one end and the switch on the other. The new touchpad has a different design, and again I prefer the old one with dedicated mouse buttons.

    Lack of long-term support from Sony is a very valid question. Still, I'm able to run everything on my old model after 2 years, and that isn't bad.

    In the end, the Z2 hasn't seemed like a compelling step up, but rather a step backwards in some areas important to me. I actually looked around and purchased the Z13 rather than a new Z2 because of that. Too bad Anandtech wasn't able to get review units when the Z11 appeared, because it was honestly jaw-dropping 2 years ago. In some ways, I believe the field is still catching up.
  • apudapus - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - link

    I own both the Z2 and the Z1 and think the Z1 was a much better machine. With the Z1, it was great having everything all-in-one and being able to play Portal 2 and SC2 on battery power. You can't do this with the Z2 because the power dock requires wall-power. The power dock is inconvenient for me because I play video games at home and at my girlfriend's place and it's tedious to safely disconnect the power dock when I'm traveling between places (versus just closing the lid on the Z1 and forcing it to sleep).

    Nonetheless, the Z2 is a great machine. It is the best portable laptop for me: small, super lightweight, yet powerful to compile code and play some video games. The portability and immediate on-off make it great to bring to meetings. The high resolution screen is definitely the best and was the biggest deciding factor for me. I hate that you have to go to a heavy 15" laptop to get better than 1366x768 res. The Z2 isn't for everyone but definitely worth it if you're looking for small size, portability, power, and playing some light video games (it does NOT play BF3). I wish I had this thing in college. I'd be in debt for a while but I'd have the best machine to work with. Yes, the keyboard sucks. They need to bring back the keyboard from the Z1!

    Options I chose:
    Blu-ray drive - I watch movies often
    1920x1080 screen - Things look small but there's a lot of information I need to look at when I'm working
  • TrackSmart - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    Not to make you feel bad, but why did you 'upgrade' from the Z1 to the Z2?

    I can't imagine any usage scenario where the Z2 would offer considerably greater performance or functionality. The old model was almost as portable and included the dedicated GPU and optical drive in the chassis.
  • bjornb - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    I've owned the Z2 for about 6 months now (so I am biased ;) ). I didnt realize the hinge design was a problem before reading this review :). I have never experienced any problems with the computer sliding about during use or finding the sweet spot for screen angle. The incline is not that dramatic.

    I agree that the keyboard is not perfect (it was better on the previous Z) with the shallow travel, but in my opinion it is not bad and it didnt take long to get used to.

    Regarding graphics performance it is at least partially a driver problem. Sony is unfortunately poor at releasing updated drivers (I have sent a complaint/request about this to Sony Norway), but there are community drivers that work well. I'm using the AMD 11.12 drivers from here:
    It actually makes BF3 playable on the laptop. It is also possible to overclock the GPU and control the GPU fan using Sapphire Trixx (I understand that you dont review a unit with community drivers and overclocked GPU, but the information may be useful for other potential owners).

    Regarding fan noise and temps it is noisy when playing games at full cpu load and using the Intel IGP, but I dont find it particularly noisier than other laptops at load I use (HP 8440p at work, Alienware m15x etc). During normal use (web browsing, watching HD videos etc) it is very quiet. One can also select thermal profiles in Vaio Control Center (silent/balanced/performance).
    I did a quick test yesterday regarding CPU temp: Playing two h.264 HD videos simultaneously and used throttlestop to monitor and TS bench to genereate 4 threads of cpu load. The max temp I saw during the test for several minutes was 80 deg C (balanced thermal profile, and throttlestop reported the CPU speed as 3.2GHz for both cores).

    Regarding SATA speeds the Z2 is supplied with SATA 6GBs drives in some markets and/or as a CTO option, more information:
  • jcmm33 - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    I like you have owned one of these since launch. I see a fair few comments about the keyboard but for me it doesn't take long for one to get used to it.

    With regard to fan noise i don't play games on the device so i never really hear it at all.

    Trackpad could be better, but once again its not a nightmare.

    The performance of the machine however is excellent. The boot time of approx 10 secs is awesome, display is excellent and its good to have network connectors on the device not just having to rely on wifi or buying a dongle (e.g. Macbook Air) to get a wired connection going.
  • DesktopMan - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    "The AMD Radeon HD 6650M inside the dock is limited to a PCI Express 2.1 x4 link instead of x8 or x16, and the performance hit is a noticeable one"

    Source on this statement? It's been shown many times that graphic cards really aren't very bandwidth starved at 4x 2.0 and above. Taking a quick look at the 5870 we see the following:
  • thebeastie - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    Why do they continue to ran the SSDs in Raid 0 since you can't get TRIM?
    Are they just trying to suck in over paid clueless CIOs or something?
  • irev210 - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    They use garbage collection instead.

    Not really sure what's wrong with RAID-0 if you have proper garbage collection.
  • irev210 - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    According to Crystaldiskmark, the Sony Z I tested (64x2 in raid 0) showed over 850MB/sec read speeds, which clearly shows that the Z does run in 6Gbps mode (SATA-3).

    Sort of interesting that I email them this info and they don't even update/check.
  • Fran - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - link

    Dear friends, sell my Vaio Z21-2011 purchased in August-2011, if there is someone interested can visit the link indicated below;

  • Fran - Thursday, April 26, 2012 - link

    Hi all! I lowered the price to -300 €.


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