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As a owner of a Z21 I can tell much of what is said in the article is just, simply wrong and misinformed. The author most likely didn't even touch a Z21.

DISCLAIMER: I am using Linux full time on this laptop. Some people have issues with the fingerprint or trackpad on Windows - theses are software issues which aren't present on Linux.

Fan: they're not loud. It's quieter than my MacBook. In fact, I can't hear it in a quiet room. It's only loud when running full speed; which is rare enough. And that's not louder than the Mac.

Trackpad: it's in.. the regular spot.

Software: it's loaded with Sony stuff mostly. You can remove or reinstall if you dislike it.

Key travel: yes, it's shorter. No I don't see the issue with it, after having used it for quite a long while now. I switch to longer key travel keyboards and back to the Z21 without noticing.

The rest is just "look, my iMac design didn't change in 4 years it's awesome, changing design sucks!".

Now... let's see what the Z21 has and the others.. just plain don't.

SSD: Hello raid0 SATA3 SSDs. Have you ever reached more than 500mbyte/s read/write? Heck, sometimes its going near the 1000mbyte/s sequential. Copying stuff, reading has never been faster. Non-raid0 desktop computer with the fastest SSDs are just way slower. Won't even mention Macs with their subpar SSDs.

Screen: Hello 1920x1080 anti-glare screen. How the hell are others not all anti-glare by default ?

CPU: Hello regular voltage i7 2620M. The air CPU suddenly look.. you know.. just not in the same range.

Heat: what heat? It's extremely well extracted on the side and the rest of the system is at room temperature. Even under extreme load. A problem Apple didn't really solve by the way.

Connectivity: USB? check. USB3? check. VGA out for those conferences? Check. HDMI out /w audio? Check. Audio jack, ethernet, sdcard, lightpeak? check check check check. Tell me when the mac book air doesn't need a bunch of adapters to do more than USB. higher power USB for charging? Heck, check again.

Weight? Lighter than the Macbook air says enough.

Battery life? Extensible well above 10H via a laptop-wide sheet. Smart. Paris-New York, no need to charge. Of course, the standard battery isn't a let down either at ~5H real time use. (they're both rated 7h and 14h max as far as I can remember, but don't quote me on that)

Now with all that, what more could there be? Oh wait.. I mentioned a lightpeak port didn't I.. so yeah, a 600gr+ device can be added to the desk while you're not on the move.. bundling a very decent ATI graphic card, a bluray drive, and more ports. You can drive 4 screens at the same time, although its convenient only up to 3. (oh noes.)

Oh and, does it run linux properly? yep.

So it's an expensive device, but considered all the above, it's pretty decent I guess.

Finally, the actual bad, and yes, there is some bad:

- speaker: they work, but god they're bad. they're terrible. Not a big deal, but still, at this price... the jack is very good tho.

- lightpeak will probably not take off, that said, its mostly used for the side device only and serves as USB port, so who cares.

- way the laptop sits on the desk you may sometimes find positions where its not sitting properly, if your "desk" is not flat

This article isn't a review of the Z21 - its a statement on the nature of design problems at Sony. If you want to argue with the review its over here


The whole point of the review was as a lead into the part about the keyboard changes. All the posts arguing about how the Z21 is awesome are missing the point of the article.

The article mention every single bad point of the review of the Z21 as a basement of how Apple is awesome for not changing design over the years. Besides not being true; the basement; is totally flawed. (regardless of being more technical than pure design) Thus everyone criticizes that base. Makes sense to me. No base, no article.

Its not about apple not changing, it's about apple knowing when not to change. Sony can make a good product, but when they do it doesn't influence future products. New products don't learn from either the failures or the successes of past designs.

Whether whatever laptop you like is good or not is irrelevant to the authors point, just as it is irrelevant to the products that follow it.

> Software: it's loaded with Sony stuff mostly.

Don't know about Z, but when I got a simpler Vaio for my wife, I spent 4 (FOUR) hours removing and uninstalling all the preloaded crap. Symantec alone required 2 reboots and defiantly tried to scare the shit out of me until its last breath. This is as annoying as it is insulting. The laptop is simply not usable out of the box. That's not even considering that 4 hours is over $500 worth of my time, which is - I am inclined to think - a bit too f#cking much for a $1200 laptop.

However, the problem is not with the hardware, or the software. It's the fact that Sony sells products, while Apple sells experience. That's the difference.

i didnt get any non-Sony stuff but again it was a EU order. Still I always install from my own CDs.. and run Linux mostly.

Also I'm supposing that the cheaper the laptop.. the more crapware you might get. So there is no "too much for a $1" laptop, at least that's not the way economics work. Even if that sucks.

Also I'd like if I was paid over $100 per hour like you. Heck I'd be hella rich :) $800-$1000 per day!

My salary in a week :-)

Your 4 hours is why, with Windows machines, I take the nuke-from-orbit approach and reinstall from scratch first thing.

Wasn't there a post on here last week on how you have to hunt down drivers if you do a Windows upgrade or clean install? The last VAIO I used took me 4 hours to nuke, clean install, then hunt down the drivers. (And some didn't even exist on the Sony site since they only listed 32-bit drivers).

It'll work out to the same 4 hours if not more :)

You can see from the photos in the linked review that the touchpad is NOT in "the regular spot" but offset to the right. I imagine this is fine for right-handers. (The review also complains it is small. Can't comment, haven't used one. The author is probably addicted to the giant touchpads Apple is putting out these days.)

What Macbook are you finding louder than the Vaio? I have a 2010 MBP and I can't ever recall hearing its fan, even under heavy load.

The central point of the article -- that Sony occasionally stumbles on great design and then randomly iterates away from it for no good reason is telling. Just consider the fact that Apple stuck with one standard connector -- however flawed -- for the iPod since day one, while Sony hardly even manages to release a single generation of MP3 players with common connectors.

> Just consider the fact that Apple stuck with one standard connector -- however flawed -- for the iPod since day one

Nitpick: They did not. The original iPod only had a 6-pin FireWire connector for data and power; the dock connector was only added on the third-generation iPod, which was the first to use USB.

>Just consider the fact that Apple stuck with one standard connector -- however flawed -- for the iPod since day one

Conversely, Apple has gone through a plethora of different types of video connectors over the years.

The protocol is different but the connector looks almost identical though. You can even plug in Mini DisplayPort into Thunderbolt and it works.

No, he's talking about ADC and the myriad different laptop display ports they used before they started using Mini DisplayPort and now Thunderbolt.


My 2010 15" MacBook Pro w/ i7 @ 2.66 GHz and 1680x1050 has a loud fan. The fan spins up when I have an external display plugged in. It spins up when Time Machine runs. It spins up when Flash is running in a browser.

I find it really annoying and for that reason alone I will avoid the hottest CPU + GPU model in the future until Apple finds a way to reduce the volume.

Mine is the same (maxed out everything). So I guess I just got lucky or something (maybe some fans are noisier than others).

well, don't trust pictures. the touchpad if of course centered. on all models.

i have a MBP1, MBP 13 mid2011 and a MBA mid2011, the MBP is louder than the vaio on average (that is I can hear the fans). The vaio is dead silent til I compile stuff on all CPUs, then fans are loud, although not as loud as the MBP 15.

The article took the Z21 as target to make an example of "what not to do", not a MP3 player. If it did, maybe i'd agree with it. But, it did not. And unfortunately for him, the Z21 is actually awesome.

Compare with the Toshiba: http://www.wired.com/reviews/2011/11/ultrabooks-for-everyone...

The touchpad is noticeably NOT centered, but placed so to be under both your thumbs with your fingers on the home row. The Macbook has a way bigger touchpad, but it's aligned to the left of the spacebar, not to the right. I'm quite sure that for a smaller touchpad, Toshiba got it right and Sony got it wrong (particularly for left handed people).

MBP1=MBP15 lol

Looking at my laptop, the touchpad is exactly centered. I don't know if this is standard or not, but it's perfectly comfortable. I'm right handed, but I sometimes use my left hand to scroll around if I'm sitting in an odd position, and that's been fine too.

Just to satisfy my curiosity, when you say it runs linux properly, do you mean that the lightpeak media dock is working under linux?

I have looked at the Z21, but I haven't heard many reports about linux+lightpeak, so I am holding off my purchase until I can gather more data.

I've found pretty much all of this to be accurate, also running on Linux full time, although I have a cheaper setup.

The really fast hard drive access time is particularly nice, especially since I regularly need to run tests involving IO-intensive database calls.

EDIT: Also, can you tell me which distro you're running?

I run I/O-intensive DB tests very often myself, and I usually use RAM-disks to speed those up a lot to allow for faster coding/testing-cycles. Obvious tip perhaps, but I thought I'd share it =o)


I gotta also mention that I have an AZERTY keyboard. The AZERTY keyboard is a standard mapping.

The QWERTY Keyboard has a slightly odd mapping for the shift key indeed. Likewise, US laptops might have slightly more crapware /w Windows that I had (?)

I've been considering buying one myself. I had a quick question that I haven't been able to find the answer to: Can you boot from and SD card? I know it's not a high demand feature... but it's important for me.

i just checked (yay im so nice! ;p) and .. you can't, at least not with the stock bios. I haven't tried hacking it to enable the advanced menus yet. ssd boot, network boot and external boot only, which is short for "usb boot". did try to format a sdcard with a boot sector and linux on it just in case, no go

Thanks! =D

Really appreciate it. Bit of a bummer. Oh well.

Does the Z use hardware or software RAID? If hardware, what controller does it use, and can you put it into JBOD mode to allow software RAID to work?

its software raid

I just priced out the closest Vaio Z to the Air I'm contemplating - near $1000 more for the Z.

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