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Sony Vaio SZ120 – The New Slickness

VaioSo, after debating with myself for the last two months or so, I finally purchased the Sony Vaio SZ-120 notebook last night from Best Buy. A quick note here, before we begin talking about this laptop. I would not, ordinarily, make such a purchase from Best Buy, but the exact model I wanted was on sale, and they were the only store within 50 miles to have the one I wanted in stock. I will, however, never buy anything from a Best Buy again.

I should be a dream customer: I walk in, I know exactly what I want, I won’t ask stupid questions. Bang, easy commission. After pleading for attention from a salesperson and being ignored for 20 minutes, even after explicitly saying that I knew what I wanted and was ready to buy, I was then handed the item and passed off to three other people. I was finally only checked out because I demanded it. In short, you shouldn’t have to beg a company for the privelige of giving them a few thousand bucks.

So, to hell with Best Buy. On to the goods:

I ordinarily wouldn’t have considered a Sony, since the cool “Vaio” logo seems to add an automatic $400 bucks onto the cost of the machine. But my needs were very specific, and so whichever company could bring me everything I needed, would win. I needed a laptop that was as close to “ultraportable” status as I could get, while still being a monster under the hood. I wanted it to weigh under 5 pounds, have a small screen, and a dedicated graphics card since this was to be not only a computer for traveling, but also for home PC replacement. Most of the rigs I saw in this price range had a few, but not all, of the ingredients. The SZ-120, on the other hand, is proving to be everything I could ask for, and more. A quick rundown:

  • 1.83 gHz T2400 DUAL CORE Pentium Duo Processor
  • 1 GB PC2-4200 DDR2 Memory, expandable to 2 GB
  • 100 GB Hard Drive with shock sensor protection
  • 13.3″ Widescreen with XBRITE
  • Dual Layer DVD Writer
  • Hybrid Graphics System: Check this out. This machine has BOTH an independant NVIDIA GeForce Go with 256MB of memory, for graphics intensive or gaming tasks, switchable to an onboard graphics chip for regular computing tasks. This means power when you need it, batterly life when you don’t.
  • Integrated wireless and Bluetooth
  • Integrated video camera and microphone
  • Built in biometric fingerprint scanning security system
  • All this in a package that weighs just four pounds, measures an inch and a half thick at its widest point, and is good for six hours of battery time between charges.

I have spent the day getting this thing ready to work on…loading programs, copying music, etc., and so far, I couldn’t be happier with the purchase. It is extremely lightweight and sturdy, making it perfect for travel. It also docks to my Dell 21″ flat panel, and my full size Bluetooth mouse and keyboard were recognized quickly, so when I settle somewhere for a while, I have an instant home office. It is more powerful, faster, and responsive than the full sized desktop I just sold. Give me a few more days with it, and I will post a full (possibly video) review. In the meantime, I wouldn’t hesitate recommending this machine to anyone.

There Are 12 Responses So Far. »

  1. I got the same model and had it for a few days. It did take a while for any of the stores to have this. Seems to be a popular model. I only have one gripe with this thing, how do you get to the hard drive without braking anything? If you find out do let the world know. I like to use different HD’s for different operating systems, but this is the only thing that I think sucks at the moment for me.

  2. It definitely is…the 40 page forum thread at LaptopReviews says so, anyway. Looks like there is a lot of speculation on this thing and not a lot of info, so I will definitely try and do a proper review in the next couple of days. I can’t help you on the drive issue…I have yet to start pulling this one apart.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Is the bluetooth hardware included?

  4. yes, it’s built in.

  5. Hi,
    I just placed an order online for this laptop. The correct model is SZ120P/B by the way.
    I went to BestBuy and Fry’s to see and touch the laptop before making this decision. Bestbuy sucks big time. They don’t even pay attention to me when i was circling around the laptop area. Fry’s service is fine. They did come and ask me questions. Even though they only have the SZ140 available.
    Anyway, I am looking forward to receiving my laptop. I cannot be happier when I see your positive review.
    Doug

  6. Hey Doug,

    Unfortunately, we don’t have Frye’s here on the east coast, or I definitely would have considered them. As for the laptop…I am still enormously happy (so you should feel good about your purchase). I will post a full review here in the next couple of days.

  7. This is great.. I just checked UPS and they will deliver mine on March 22nd. I am pretty much using my laptop for J2EE development. But i am sure it will satisfy power-hungry gamers as well. I think I will also post a review after using it for awhile. Let see what we have in common in the review :-).
    Later
    Doug

  8. Thanks for the review. Sounds like a decent machine. They have it at CompUSA for 1,899.99, seem like a good price?
    Jonathan

  9. so is the full review online yet?
    how do you like it so far?
    And if you know – what’s the main difference between sz120 and sz140?
    thanks.

  10. I have a question: it might seem very stupid to you. I have sz-120, and everything is fine with it, up to one small thing – I can’t find the “bluetooth button”, in other words, I don’t see how to activate Bluetooth. The blue light is on while the system starts, then it goes off and Bluetooth is not in the list of system hardware devices…

  11. Masha, that question isn’t stupid at all…in fact, I am having the same problem, and am currently using a regular ol’ bluetooth USB adapter, which makes no sense.

  12. There is no bluetooth button. It is controlled through supplied software drivers – the same that controls WiFi. I think you can either click on the WiFi icon in the task bar, or go through control panel. This is the way it works on SZ240

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