Sony is touting the VAIO X as the world's thinnest, lightest notebook — and it probably is. Weighing as little as 655g and only 13.9mm thick, it beats the Apple MacBook Air's 1.36kg and 19.4mm, and is aimed at the style-conscious business user.
Sony's claiming a battery life as long as 16 hours, although you'll need the extended battery to achieve that, adding a few millimetres to the depth and a significant amount to the weight of the machine. Normally, you'll get eight hours autonomy. The 11.1in. diagonal, 1366-by-768 resolution screen is backlit by power-saving LED technology and you can specify one of three solid-state disk (SSD) sizes: 64GB, 128GB or 256GB. Only with a 64GB SSD and without the optional, HSPA-capable 3G module does it achieve 655g; the added components boost weight by 130g to 785g. Still, hardly a heavyweight.
The lightweight carbon-fibre casing is either gloss or matte finished, depending on whether you specify, respectively, the top-end VPC-X11Z1E/X with a 2GHz Atom processor and a 256GB SSD, or the entry-level VPC-X11S1E/B, which sports a 1.86GHz CPU and a 128GB SSD.
The entry-level model's matte finish is arguably more attractive and, unlike the top-end model, doesn't need constant polishing to remove fingerprints, although I was assured by the product manager that the glossy model includes a polishing cloth. Both come with 2GB DRAM, an Intel graphics subsystem and 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity. Also standard are a pair of USB ports, a neat, space-saving Ethernet port, SD card and Sony Memory Stick slots, Bluetooth and a camera. You get VGA-out too for powering a projector.
Despite the cumbersome names, the models are both attractive and very easy to walk around with and to use. Usability features include a multi-finger touchpad (although I didn't test this) and it comes with Windows 7. The only question mark is the screen: it's just over 2mm thick and flexes alarmingly, although it didn't seem to suffer from being picked up by the corner of the panel.
The Sony VAIOX is a very attractive piece of kit that hits the high end of the desirability scale, but only some time spent with it will tell if it delivers what it promises. Expect a full review in these pages soon.
Available from November 2009, the entry-level VAIO X costs £1,299, while the the top-end model costs £1,799.