Review: Sony's flash-based notebook -- a road warrior's dream

What's notable about this almost-weightless workhorse is that there's no traditional platter-spinning 2.5-in. hard drive

When I bought my HP Pavilion laptop two years ago, 100GB was among the largest storage capacities available, and I easily filled it up. These days, 160GB to 250GB is now the upper end. The Sony's 32GB hard drive capacity is tiny by comparison, especially when 6GB of that space is taken up by a hidden partition (for system recovery) and still more is taken up by the operating system (Windows Vista Business).

The laptop came loaded with lots of trialware (including Norton Internet Security, games from Sony, Microsoft Office 2007, Roxio and AOL, among others) cluttering the system, plus preinstalled software (Works, for example). Once I'd jettisoned the software I knew I would never use and loaded the benchmark applications and OpenOffice (which takes less hard disk space than Office 2007), I had 10.2GB left for applications and documents. True, I could always use thumb drives for additional document storage, but those drives can be agonizingly slow for reading and writing files of even moderate size, such as Word documents of even two or three pages. Ten gig just isn't much to work with.

I found the system listed for about US$3,100 online. That's a lot to pay for such small capacity, especially for road warriors. If your principal needs are e-mail, Web browsing, and the occasional memo or small presentation, then the portability that the Vaio TZ191N affords may make it a good choice. Its quiet operation makes it a good option for presentations in small quarters. Otherwise, you may be better served by other alternatives.

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Rich Ericson

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