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Round Up: Five Powerful, Light Ultraportables

Sony Vaio TZ298: Price, Battery, Performance


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


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

  • Thanks for writing this article; I have been interested in how these things perform.
  • these are all at the high-end of the price spectrum, have you considered the asus eee pc or acer aspire one? i have one of these, and while it's not exactly a gaming powerhouse it does all you need in a small laptop... mind you the linux distros these things come with can be a real pain
  • JJeng1
    A possible reason for the fingerprint reader placement. Look into the options of the fingerprint software, as sometimes the reader doubles as a scroll wheel.
  • Regulas
    Rubbish, get the the new Macbook, 13" screen plenty of power no viruses and no bloated Vista for the low end of cash stated in this review.
  • bjornlo
    Rubbish, get the the new Macbook, 13" screen plenty of power no viruses and no bloated Vista for the low end of cash stated in this review.
    Typical ignorant fanboi BS.
    Get your facts straight. Nothing wrong with a Mac other than total cost of ownership and slightly reduced software choices... although the default browser is very unsecure (but fixable, DL any other). But, there is nothing special about them except their style and slightly better ease of use for the "technologically challenged".
  • Placebo
    First of, Macs are rubbish. Buying one is alright for the creative crowd, whose fav. software is exclusive for OSX. Other than that, the company would have already closed up, if not saved by the mighty (LOL) Ipod-brand.

    Regarding the otherwise brilliant review, how come the Dell M1330 isn't mentioned, or even tested, its not even on the site?!?!

    Best selling product in the category for almost two years. Anyone buying should look into it. Had one for around a year, can honestly say its the best electronic device i ever owned.

    Its cheap, lightwight and with supurb spec! for notebooks :-)Sry... they jus do a better job.

  • cruiseoveride
    Linux > OSX >> Windows

    I wish the IBM one was cheaper.
  • boostercorp
    i guess i never understood why you'd need such a small underpowered laptop and also never knew who would buy such a thing.
    But if you're on the road alot like me it would be more handy then dragging around a 8 pound 17" laptop like i 'm currently doing.

    i only hoped they'd be a little less expensive cause i bought my 17" for € 899 and got a shedload of stuff i didn't need like that fingerprint scanner ,bluetooth ,ir , ...
  • Can we post a review of ultraportables with eSATA and Express Card ? I think the ASUS U6V (not sure) has one, the Dell E4200 and E4300 have eSATA but no Express Card. The Lenovo X200 and X300 series have some great features. I really hope manufacturers start making machines with eSATA and Express Card and not one or the other. Oh and How about the Toshiba dynabook R6 ?
  • enforcer22
    "Rubbish, get the the new Macbook, 13" screen plenty of power no viruses and no bloated Vista for the low end of cash stated in this review."

    O your right and look i cant do anything i want to do with it either.. I also cant get it to look like a computer instead of a over priced pos paperweight. Linux is as usless to me as that over priced thing keeping my desk up to.