Design and Ergonomics
We received Sony’s VAIO VGN-SZ1HRP/B and VAIO VGN-SZ1XRP/C notebooks as test samples, without their regular packages and accessories, with a single power adapter for the two and with a card-reader installed into the VGN-SZ1XRP/C. But both these models are already selling, so you’ll see all the necessary photographs in this article.
Even the packages of these twin models resemble one another. The difference is that there is the word Premium on the front of the package with the senior model (VAIO VGN-SZ1XRP/C). The model names are printed on the side panels of the packages.
The notebooks look cute, like thin A4-format folders. By the way, the manufacturer deliberately chose this form-factor because a majority of folders, briefcases, etc. are designed for this paper format as the most frequently used one in office. Notebooks from the new SZ series will readily slip into your briefcase without requiring a separate bag.
The design is Sony-style exquisite: the notebook is very slim at the front, but grows thicker towards the rear. There is a difference in height of almost 1 centimeter between the notebook’s front and rear panels. The two reviewed models have different color schemes: they chose light silver for the VAIO VGN-SZ1HRP/B and a darker silver tone for the VAIO VGN-SZ1XRP/C. If you take a look at the notebooks’ lids in the photographs, you can hardly tell them apart, but the materials employed are absolutely different, which is one of the reasons for the difference in price. The case of the VAIO VGN-SZ1HRP/B resembles the VAIO VGN-T2XRP/S to the touch because both are manufactured out of a durable magnesium alloy with a coarse coating of the lid so that the notebook wouldn’t slip out even if your hands were wet (for details see our article called Small but Stylish: SONY VAIO VGN-T2XRP-S Notebook Review). The material the case of the VAIO VGN-SZ1XRP/C is made from is much more durable than the magnesium alloy and is used in Sony’s exclusive solutions only, e.g. in the VAIO VGN-TX1XRP (for details see our review called SONY VAIO VGN-TX1XRP Review: New Look of the Popular Laptop Family). It is carbon fiber, the same as they use in Formula 1 cars and in the flight industry. This material feels odd to the touch, but it is not coarse. The lid is smooth and is thus much easier to clean from your own dirty fingerprints than the other model’s lid.
The large letters “VAIO” are traditionally placed in the middle of the lid; a small Sony logotype is near the edge and close to the user when the lid is closed. The notebooks’ front panels are free from connectors, which is not very typical of Sony’s products.
There is no lid latch here; the display is held down by means of spring-loaded locks in the hinges. The VAIO VGN-SZ1HRP/B can be unfolded by a little less than 180 degrees and the VAIO VGN-SZ1XRP/C, by a little more than that.
The color scheme of each notebook continues inside. The touchpad of the VAIO VGN-SZ1XRP/C with its light silver coloring doesn’t match the rest of the case, though. There are rubber pads around the black screen bezels; the word “VAIO” in white letters is under the display.
The top model has an integrated camera in the middle of the bezel above the screen (the manufacturer calls it the Motion Eye); a single-channel microphone is located on the left of it.