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Sony Vaio P-series netbook (VGN-P11Z/R)

Sony Vaio P-series netbook (VGN-P11Z/R)

Manufacturer: Sony
UK Price (as reviewed): £776.25 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): N/A

At CES, Sony CEO Howard Stringer announced that the consumer electronics giant would enter the netbook market with its P-series 'lifestyle notebooks', after pulling one from his jacket pocket during his keynote.

Measuring just 245 x 120 x 20mm (W x D x H) and weighing a paltry 636 grams with the standard battery attached, the P-series is certainly the lightest notebook on the market. It's also the smallest and most portable notebook we've seen to date. By comparison, the Samsung NC10 measures 261 x 186 x 30mm (W x D x H) and weighs 1.33kg.

Sony has been keen to emphasise that the Vaio P-series isn't a netbook and is instead called a lifestyle notebook by the company. Calling the P-series anything else will likely result in us having our ears clipped by Sony's marketing department – that's what ear defenders are for, though.

Sony Vaio P-series netbook (VGN-P11Z/R) Sony Vaio P-series

As long as you don't utter filthy language when the P-series is within earshot, you're never going to need those ear defenders because the P11Z/R uses a completely fanless design. Indeed, the only moving part inside is the 60GB mechanical hard drive and that's substituted for a 128GB SSD in the more expensive models.

Speaking of expensive, one reason Sony doesn't want to call the P-series a netbook is that it is anything but a netbook when you look at price and price alone. We've got the cheapest model here and it retails for the wrong side of £775 – that's enough to give us a cold sweat. The most expensive all bells all whistles model, the VGN-P19VN/Q, is an eye-watering £1,368.99.

Sony Vaio P-series netbook (VGN-P11Z/R) Sony Vaio P-series Sony Vaio P-series netbook (VGN-P11Z/R) Sony Vaio P-series

Specification summary:

  • Intel Atom Z520 processor (1.33GHz, 512KB L2 cache)
  • Intel SCH US15W chipset with Mobile Intel GMA 500 graphics
  • 2GB 533MHz DDR2-SDRAM
  • 8-inch X-black LED-backlit display (1,600 x 768 native resolution)
  • 60GB ATA/100 4,200 RPM hard drive
  • Two USB 2.0 ports, one 3.5mm headphone jack and one port replicator connector (for Gigabit Ethernet/VGA)
  • Built-in HSDPA (7.2Mbps) and 802.11b/g/Draft-n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Stereo Speakers and built-in microphone
  • 0.3 Megapixel webcam
  • Memory Stick and SD card slots
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
We've spent quite a lot of time looking at small form factor PCs and motherboards over the past few weeks – the VGN-P11Z/R is no exception to that rule. In fact, we'll go one step further and say this is one of the most impressive technological feats we've witnessed in recent times. Building such a stylish, svelte and classy device like this is something only a few companies can manage, but is the P11Z/R any good? Read on to find out...