Sony VAIO VGN-TZ150N: Laptop’s Beauty Is Only Skin-Deep

Laptop manufacturers are putting their focus on design these days, and they’ve come out with some amazingly sleek and sexy creations. This is fine—as long as they don’t forget that performance and features are an important part of the mix. The Sony VAIO VGN-TZ150N epitomizes elegance. It’s a featherweight (2.7-pound) ultraportable with a gorgeous, LED-enhanced screen, a raised keyboard, and a durable carbon-fiber frame. Too bad that Sony hasn’t paid equal attention to what’s beneath the snazzy exterior. If you need a system to keep you productive, you’ll run into a few snags with this one.

The TZ150N has some top-notch features: LED backlighting that makes viewing the 11.1-inch screen a joy, a dual-layer DVD burner, a Sprint EV-DO Rev A modem—and a webcam, which, as far as I know, is unique in a system weighing less than 3 pounds.

Not so hot is the 1.06-GHz ultra-low-voltage (ULV) Intel Core 2 Duo U7500 processor; nor does it help that the system comes with only 1GB of RAM. (You’ll want to double that to do justice to Windows Vista Business.) Then there’s the hard drive. Although its capacity (100GB) is adequate, it spins at only 4,200 rpm. Worse, the system is loaded with bloatware: no less than 30 VAIO apps, plus lots of trial ware such as Corel Snapfire, Microsoft Office 2007, and Norton Internet Security.

One advantage to the TZ150N’s low power is that it extends battery life. The unit lasted almost 4 hours (3:47) playing back a DVD, which translates into roughly 6 or 7 hours’ worth of more routine tasks. But long battery life doesn’t make up for feeble components, especially considering that the TZ150N carries the price tag of a luxury item.

Sony VAIO VGN-TZ150N: $2,299 direct

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