Just bought the latest of Sony ultraportables, the VGN-SZ18GP. This is what Sony calls the SZ "premium" series.
General info about the Sony SZ line:
Sony's SZ notebooks are divided into two major categories, "Regular" (Sony just calls them "SZ", but "Regular" is used here for clarity) and Premium:
* Regular SZ notebooks have magnesium bodies, weigh 4.1 lbs, and offer a manufacturer-estimated 5.5 - 6 hours of battery life.
* Premium SZ notebooks have carbon-fiber bodies, weigh 3.7 lbs, and offer a manufacturer-estimated 6 - 7 hours of battery life. They use a different type of LCD screen and backlight, resulting in an ultrathin screen (4.5mm thick) that supposedly looks better than the Regular type -- but the Regular screen already seems thin enough and bright enough, so the Premium one may be more of a luxury than a necessity.
The two types are otherwise the same. For more details, see Sony's SZ comparison page.
Key Features that made me buy this laptop:
It has an internal optical drive (a dual-layer burner, no less); a regular full-size keyboard; a 13.3" widescreen display; both a PC Card slot (which I use for EV-DO wireless Internet) and an ExpressCard/34 slot (which may soon gain popularity); 802.11a/b/g WiFi; Bluetooth; FireWire; a multi-card reader; a webcam; a fingerprint reader; and to seal the deal, a unique Hybrid Graphics System that allows the user to switch between an Intel integrated graphics card and a discrete NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400 card.
SZ-18GP Specs as I have:
* Dimensions: 12.5" (W) x 1.0" -1.5" (H) x 9.3" (D)
* Weight: 1.69 Kgs. with standard battery
* CPU: Intel Core Duo Processor T2400 1.83GHz
* Memory: 1GB DDR2 PC2-4200 533MHz (upgradable to 2GB)
* Hard Drive: 100GB 5400rpm SATA drive with G-Sensor Shock Protection
* Optical Drive: Dual-layer, dual-format DVD RW DL internal drive with max 8x read speed and 4x write speed
* Display: 13.3" WXGA 1280x800 XBRITE widescreen glossy LCD
* Graphics 1: (A built-in switch toggles between the two graphics cards) Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 with 128MB Shared Memory
* Graphics 2: (A built-in switch toggles between the two graphics cards) NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400 with 128MB Dedicated Memory
* Audio: Sony Sound Reality Audio Enhancer
* Wireless LAN (WiFi): Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG (802.11a/b/g)
* Bluetooth: Integrated Toshiba Bluetooth technology
* Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition with Service Pack 2 (the CD is not included)
* Battery: Standard-capacity lithium-ion battery with estimated life of 2.5 to 5.5 hours
* Power Requirement: 105W+10%
* Keyboard: 86-key full-size keyboard with 3mm stroke and 19.05mm pitch
* Pointing Device: Electro-static touchpad with two buttons and vertical & horizontal scroll areas
* Webcam: Built-in webcam and microphone
* Security: Fingerprint scanner
o 1x Memory Stick Duo Pro MagicGate
o 1x PC Card (PCMCIA Type II)
o 1x VGA output
o 1x iLink/FireWire/IEEE 1394
o 1x headphone output
o 1x microphone input
o 1x V.90 Modem (RJ-11)
o 1x 10/100 Fast Ethernet (RJ-45) (no Gigabit Ethernet)
o 2x USB 2.0
o 1x ExpressCard/34
o 1x DC-in (for power)
o 1x Port Replicator Connector
* Card Reader: 4-in-1 xD/SD/MMC/MS Pro flash media reader card that uses the ExpressCard/34 slot.
* Service & Support: 1-year Limited Warranty, 1-year toll-free 24/7 telephone support
* Installed Software: Microsoft Windows XP Pro Edition with SP2, VAIO Security Center, VAIO Update software, VAIO Recovery Wizard software, VAIO Support Central, Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition, Intuit, InterVideo WinDVD, Roxio DigitalMedia SE, Click to DVD - DVD Creation, DVgate Plus - Digital Video, SonicStage Mastering Studio - Audio Mastering and Remastering, SonicStage - Digital Music to name the major ones.
After you have bought the SZ:
There are minor niggles with the SZ series and here is a great place to know these and the hotfixes.