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Sony Vaio SZ4 series notebook

Sony Vaio SZ4 slimline laptop

It's slim but is it a lightweight?

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Review Sony's slender Vaio SZ4 is geared to folk who don't like their laptops to weigh them down. It's not the most compact of models, but at very portable 1.7kg, the SZ4 is eminently suited not only to the portability-over-performance crowd but also to those who want their laptop to be a looker.

Sony Vaio SZ4 series notebook

Case in point: there is no case. Clearly Sony wants you to carry this svelte puppy under your arm and show it to world. With its 13.3in display, it comes in at a carryable 31.5 x 23.3 x 3.5cm, so it'll easily slip into most briefcases with room to spare.

But why tuck it away? The photos don't do justice to the SZ4 and make it look rather average. In fact, the quality of the chassis and the feel of the finish are absolutely top notch.

Not so its chippery. Although Intel has recently launched the new 'Santa Rosa' Centrino Duo platform, the hardware inside the SZ4 is based on the previous generation of silicon. This means that the dual-core CPU uses a 667MHz frontide bus rather than an 800MHz one - the 512MB of DDR 2 memory is clocked to an even lower 533MHz - and other neat new features, such as the Turbo Memory Flash cache accelerator and 802.11n next-gen wireless networking, are conspicuous by their absence.

What you do get is a reasonable 120GB hard drive and a 2GHz Core 2 Duo T2900 processor. Happily Sony has specified an Nvidia GeForce Go 7400 graphics chip rather than the unimpressive graphics engine built into the machine's Intel i945GM chipset, so the Windows Vista Aero interface is fully supported. Sony has opted to bundle Vista's Business Edition, which brings us to the crux of the SZ4.

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