Yes, it’s another long, boring, techie-wannabe filler review, since we’re out of carseat material for today. My current HP ZD7000 notebook is almost 5 years old. Not bad, considering it spent a substantial percentage of its first year being repaired (or not repaired as the case may be) by HP. It was relatively problem free for two years after that, until it died again a couple years ago. They replaced the motherboard with a new video card under warranty and it has worked like a charm since then, knock on wood. Other than a loose power connector, it might last another couple years, if only as a video player or for the kids to beat on. Problem is, it’s a tank. It’s a 17″ widescreen model and combined with its huge power adapter, it weighs well over 10 pounds. Plus, it eats through a full battery in less than 2 hours of surfing and can warm a small room with all the heat it generates. It has a 3.06GHz Pentium 4, 1GB memory and ATI x600 graphics, pretty much top-of-the line in 2004.
It wasn’t meant to be a portable machine; I bought it as a desktop replacement that had a lot of power and you could even play games on it. Now, I want something light and easy to carry on trips or around the house. I tried a netbook. It was a nice computer, but ultimately I returned it because of a quirky touchpad, an uncomfortable palm rest and a keyboard that was just a hair too small and made touch typing error-prone. I then bought a pretty typical 14″ notebook, a Samsung X460 targeted at business travelers. It was also nice, but it had a screen with a very narrow sweet spot for viewing and washed out quickly if you tilted it up or down even slightly. Mine also a problem with Vista errors and crashes that made me decide to sell it and start looking for yet another notebook. Well, that and two trips for repair in the first month brought back painful memories of my HP ZD7000. I do credit Samsung with customer service that is far, far better than my experiences with HP, though their repair department is probably no better.
Anyway, back to the new computer. I took a look at a Sony Z590 when I was shopping last time. It really fit the bill of what I wanted. Despite having a full size keyboard, it is quite compact and very light weight. Solid battery life. Good display. Reasonable power. Bluetooth. Vista Business with XP downgrade disc included. And a whole lot more. Overall, a nice upgrade to my HP desktop replacement in a package that was one third the weight and lasted twice as long on a battery. Problem was, most people seemed to be paying well over $1500 for them and much more in many cases. The current model is the very similar Vaio VGN-Z690 series that are even a bit more expensive.