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Sony Vaio TZ298: Price, Battery, Performance

Round Up: Five Powerful, Light Ultraportables
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Price

In a decision probably somewhat related to the short-circuit recall of many of the TZ units, Sony is no longer selling this computer on its Web site. The last price that it sold it for is $2,999, and if you can find one on a third-party retailer’s site, it will likely go for just slightly under that price. As mentioned above, Sony is ready with a new design, the TT, which Tom’s Guide will receive and review shortly.

It is a bit of a moot point to discuss the appropriateness of Sony’s pricing on the TZ, but we can summarize by saying simply that it was very over-priced. While this machine beat out even the Lenovo U110 in its overall benchmarking scores, has an enormous hard drive and a solid state drive, built-in broadband EVDO, and impeccable taste, it still shouldn’t cost $1,000 more than any other computer in this round up: it should have been about $2,300 at most. Factor in the slim possibility of an over-heating injury, and this machine is not worth purchasing today. We’ve reviewed it simply so that we can now compare it to the forthcoming TT, and to show you how Sony compared to the rest of the ultraportable market during most of 2008.

Price score: 2

Battery Life

Sony’s VAIO VGN-TZ298N is a notebook apart from the others included in this roundup. It features both a 250 GB 5,400 RPM SATA hard disk drive and a 60 GB Solid State Drive. Its 10.8 V 5800 mAh (designed and actual capacity) battery lasted for 207 minutes. The notebook’s somewhat lower speed processor likely contributed to this long battery life, but we also suspect that the design of the battery played a role.

Battery Life score: 5.00

Performance

The VGN-TZ298N also proved to be the best performer in our tests: that solid state disk drive helped it achieve a score of 6661 on the PCMark Vantage “hard disk drive” tests. Additionally, the same drive boosted many of the Sony’s scores on the other PCMark Vantage tests. In the Windows Experience Hard Disk benchmark, however, while the solid state drive provided a slight edge over the other notebooks, the Sony certainly didn’t run away with that benchmark.

Performance score: 5.00

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