Within the benchmark app's margins of error, there's nothing to choose between Speed and Stamina mode beyond graphics, PCMark05 shows - or, we'd say, with other Centrino 2 laptops, typified here by the Dell Latitude E6400.
Longer bars are better
Incidentally, the ThinkPad X300 scored so well in the HDD test because of its top-of-the-line SSD.
We've seen how the Z11's two modes affect graphics performance, but what about their impact on battery life, which is what having them is really all about? As we saw with the Windows Vista Experience ratings and PCMark05 scores, all the differentiates the Vaio's two modes are the graphics core being employed.
Battery Life Results
Times in minutes
Longer bars are better
We tried Stamina Mode first, again running our regular PCMark05 constant-run test, a benchmark that yields a worse-case result that's roughly half the real-world usage you'll get out of a machine.
Using the integrated Intel GPU we got just over two hours runtime out of the Z11 - 123 minutes - a disappointing figure that puts it behind the Dell Latitiude E6400. That said, four hours in the field's not too shabby.
Switching to Speed mode saw the battery life hit just under an hour and 50 minutes. Again, that means a real-world of three-and-three-quarter hours, more if you're not thrashing the GPU.
How much does that keyboard remind you of the ZX Spectrum? Slap a few weird symbols on them and three different shift modes and you would be right there.
As for the size - the larger the keyboard is, the easier it is to type on, so the fact that the MacBook Air is larger is surely a positive? Particularly since it does so while remaining lighter than this, and cheaper as well?
The trackpad scrolling areas are hardware related as the special areas of the pad have extra links and controls wired to them if you have a look at the underside. I would guess that is how you can scroll as you click on a selection similar to if the trackpad was a multitouch one, though that would be a very limited kind of multitouch!
Surely the trackpad scrolling is software, not hardware.
And the scale on that graph sucks, give us some more detail!
Targeting Mac customers?
True, I was considering a Mac when I got the (very similar) SZ a year ago, but the sony won because it was far more powerful and had the 3d chip. It's targeting people who want a smalll, light, powerful, pretty laptop and don't care about MacOS.
A year ago apple weren't producing anything that small with a decent GFX chip. Now? Well I'd probably go for the cheaper macbook option, if I could overcome my revulsion at the keyboard. I'd say it's apple that have moved into Sony's territory here.
Also I got mine for 700 quid less than the UK list price because I bought it in the US. We are still being *hugely* ripped off here in the UK. From 1400 quid the reg article says. Sony.com has them starting at $1650.
That makes me sick.
Good point - hadn't thought of it that way. I've been looking at Lenovos recently and they definitely seem to like producing the same machine with both integrated and discrete GPU, and giving it the same model number but different suffix. Doesn't really fit in with Apple's minimalist line offerings I guess so they differentiate by including this as standard, and allows everyone to run with or without discrete GPU. I'd like to see what savings Apple gets for economy of scale in having so few variants of machine on offer...
@Alastair (and also the review): I'm surprised to hear that the thin screen flexes so much! What is it made of? I would have thought it'd be Carbon Fibre which shouldn't flex much at all. The TT gets the same comments as well about bendy screens, but I noticed that both the older SZ and TZ have rigid screens, so much so that I have a bad habit of picking up machines by the corner of the screen. My work HP doesn't like it much, with a big green stripe that occasionally appears...
AC as I'm meant to be ensuring a certain tax doober changes as it should do for our customers...