Saturday, June 30, 2012

First impressions of the 2012 Sony Vaio Z (Z3)

Random impressions of the Vaio Z - the latest 2012 model, not the previous 2 generations.  I never used those, although I understand the Z2 is effectively the same as the Z3 in size, shape etc.

The price has effectively dropped by almost $1,000 because the Power Media Dock is now optional.  Good for those of us who are not terribly interested in a secondary video card/external monitor capability.

Neither the lappy nor the sheet battery weight anything, but somehow you put them together and they feel a bit heavy.  Not bad, mind you, but you will notice.

Nobody talks about the sheet battery.  This thing is great.  It adds a few mm to the height/thickness of the lappy.  To mount, clip it on and rotate two thumbscrews.  It takes about 15 seconds to get on or off, and is really easy, so it's not necessarily a permanent install once it's on.

The battery fits into a small connector on the bottom of the lappy.  The connector has a cover on it, which fits well but is not captive.  To keep it from getting lost, there is a holder in the battery.  You pull the cover off the bottom of the lappy and put it into the holder in the battery before attaching the battery to the lappy.

Having the sheet battery seems to make the Vaio more stable on the desk.

The keyboard is rather as bad as everyone says, but you can use it.  It just takes getting used to.  In that sense, it's no worse than the compressed layout used by the previous generation of subnotebooks.  You just have to practice and you will find that you start to type effectively after a fairly short period.

I can imagine it being a bit more of an issue when you're tired or distracted.  It's harder to type well under those circumstances.

The screen is nice but I would not recommend the highest resolution version.  The 1600x900 version is fine, and likely as small as I would want to see.

Depending on the settings, the icon and icon text may ratio may start to look a little disproportionate compared to standard settings.  Be prepared to mess with the various zoom and magnify settings of W7 to get the look you want.

The Vaio does have an SD card slot.  Good for loading your movies or other items and keep your SSDs clean.  Although 256 Gb goes a lot further than you might think.

[Addition]:  Took the Z on it's first road trip - a 2-week vacation.  Still like it.  Having the sheet battery makes me feel secure, although I did not actually need to use anything near the entire capacity on this trip.  I have stopped noticing anything amiss with the screen, it's just the way it is and it's fine.  It's not too heavy even with the sheet battery on.

I did skin the Z with a Clear-Coat for the Z2, see my more recent most for info on that.

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