So, as I wrote previously, it’s time for a new laptop. The only problem is, I am a bit of a nut about buying laptops, I like to make sure I get the ‘right’ one for my needs. And I’m a picky guy, here is what I want:
- Fast, good performance. I need to be able to leave, at least, Outlook, Photoshop, Word, and IE running simultaneously.
- Decent battery life, enough to last 2:30 while actually doing the above
- Standard IO, including 2 USB ports, WiFi, PCMCIA, and preferably a DVD drive
- Bright screen, preferably wide-screen, of at least 13″, maybe even 15″ (the D800 was 15.4″)
- Lightweight, no more than 5lbs (my back is killing me! hopefully the newest Slappa backpack will show up soon so I can switch to it)
- Must have Intel Centrino Duo!
That’s a tall order, but I didn’t think it’d be impossible. I’ve seen some new Toshibas and Thinkpads that I thought would fit the bill, but then I remembered a cool ASUS laptop I saw at CeBIT.
So, I went to their web site and found the V6J. Next step, I Googled “asus v6j review“, and read reviews at CNet, and PCPro (UK). Decent reviews, but not great, so I continued at PCPro to read their review of the Evesham Voyager C550.
They liked it, but it was clearly too heavy for me. I decided I really liked their reviews, so browsed their notebooks section, where I found the Sony VAIO VGN-SZ1VP, which sounded, well, fairly awesome. I then cross-checked the review at TrustedReviews, who gave it a 9/10. From this read, I was hooked.
I did a few more scouting reads, including this Acer, some Lenovo news, and then I went to read some Editor’s picks at Cnet. I have to say that Cnet, normally one of my favorite sites, was absolutely worthless here. Check out the screenshot on the right. In the “Work thin-and-light laptops” category, only a SINGLE model was reviewed in 2006, and one review dates as far back as June, 2005. Furthermore, not a single notebook on the list had an 8.0 or higher score! I’d rather them say “nothing, we can’t recommend anything right now” than see this worthless list. Very frustrating.
Anyhow, I decided to buy the Sony, which proved harder than it would seem. Turns out that the SZ1VP model is a “pro” edition, not really even distributed regularly in the US. But at the Sony Style Web site, I did find the VGN-SZ140. After a couple of calls to the local Sony Style store, it turns out it is virtually identical.
Here’s a few comparison photos between the old and the new. Roughly a 2lb drop in weight (~35%), a supposed 60-70% increase in speed, and a 100-200% increase in battery life, and all I feel like I’m giving up is about 40% smaller screen. Mister, you’ve got a deal.