Sony VAIO VGN-FZ180E/B
At a Glance
Midsize notebook with a nice screen and Blu-ray Disc drive turned in great performance and long battery life.
If you can adapt to the Sony VAIO VGN-FZ180E/B's slippery keyboard, you'll like this peppy $1999 laptop. It offers a big, bright screen, weighs very little, and has great battery life.
The VAIO VGN-FZ180E/B is certainly well equipped, with plenty of connections and a huge 200GB hard drive. The Blu-ray Disc drive and HDMI-output port are nice extras, to be sure. Its sound quality is dismal, however, and its A/V button does nothing more than launch Windows Media Player.
But the VAIO's 15.4-inch screen is superb. Based on Sony's proprietary Xbrite HiColor high-contrast technology, it is extremely bright and really makes colors pop. At 5.7 pounds, the VGN-FZ180E/B is light enough that you can easily carry this delectable screen almost anywhere, and the notebook held out for 4 hours, 28 minutes of battery life in our tests.
Equipped with a powerful 2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7300 processor and 2GB of RAM, the VAIO turned in a WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 75, but the Sony couldn't even launch--much less smoothly run--Far Cry or Doom 3 in our tests.
The keyboard feels a little cheaply made, maybe because the keys are so flat and polished, but the layout is fine. With practice, I got used to the slippery feel.
If you want a top-notch multimedia laptop, look to a Dell Inspiron or a Toshiba Satellite. For a nice work laptop with a great 15.4-inch screen, though, this VAIO fills the bill.