SONY’s new Z2 notebook computer is lacking

SONY’s latest Z2 isn’t worth it. Take my advice and save your money. Look elsewhere for a notebook computer.

As an owner of an original Z series notebook, I eagerly waited for the new one and often searched for news on the new Z series of VAIO notebook. But it wasn’t worth the wait. Like many movies, the sequel doesn’t live up to the original.

When I shipped my Z to a computer company that I knew could handle the quirks of the original Z, I was disheartened when over the phone their technician said he said not think it could be repaired from the description of symptoms I described.

I had read the reviews on the Z2 and was very concerned about it not being usable. So, I wanted to see one in the flesh before I put down my hard earned cash. A search on Craig’s List showed a fellow in my suburb in the Greater Phoenix Area had a new Z2 configured about the way I needed it for sale.

A phone call later, we were meeting at a local car wash. I was concerned as it was a large purchase for me and I certainly had heard of some of the horror stories off Craig’s List ads. But I was amazed when the fellow brought it out of the car with the boxes. He even had the extra battery still in the box; it had never been opened!

When I saw the receipt, I called SONY and asked about the machine by its serial number. SONY confirmed they would honor the warranty until the end of September. However, when I asked if I could purchase additional warranty, SONY declined saying the machine was over six months old and they don’t sell warranties on machines that are over six months old. It was seven months old.

I was worried about what had been described as a “chiclet” keyboard, the sharp edges and the one piece touch pad mouse buttons. True, it had sharp edges. Gone was that characteristic SONY power hinge button but it was also significantly thinner. It could not have been made thinner and still use the original hinge power button.

The rocker piece mouse buttons below the touch pad seemed usable. But, after using the machine for some time, I can tell you SONY really blew the newer touch pad and mouse buttons! THEY ARE NOT USABLE.

At the time of my decision, I found the keyboard usable and since I use a USB mouse with my original Z, I was not too concerned with the touch pad of the Z2, but now I can tell you it is inferior to the original. So much so, that I hate my new computer.

Using the onboard touch pad is a lot like playing roulette. One never knows what is going to happen when one clicks a mouse button. Sometimes, nothing happens. Other times, it reacts as if it has been received two single clicks from the one input. And the touch pad is more jumpy than ever making typing documents almost impossible as the mouse jumps all over the page.

Frankly, the original Z touch pad and buttons look genius compared to those on the Z2. If that was all that was wrong with the new Z2, I would be able to adjust and live with it but, alas, it is not!

One thing about the new Z2 is that there are buttons for returning it to its original factory state should one get into trouble or should one need to erase data prior to reselling the Z2. There is a series of options for machine maintenance and configuration at the top of the screen which is a nice touch but I have not found those very useful. I like being able to roll the machine back to its original state without having to turn the computer on, without having to power it up.

The most egregious problems with the new Z2 are in the design. It appears SONY engineers designed the Z2 to be thinner and in doing so, SONY engineers compromised the one item for which we spend big bucks acquiring a SONY Z! The screen suffers because the computer lid closes so tightly down upon the keys that they keys actually touch the screen. And all the oils from one’s fingers jumps from the keys onto the screen. As a result when one opens the lid and fires her up, all one can see are the impressions of the oils from the keys upon the screen obscuring what otherwise should be one of the best computer displays in the world.

My old Z was repairable but at a huge cost and a lot of waiting. Even though it is far older and has a lower screen resolution, I like it better.

The one area the Z2 wins over the original Z is in battery life. With the extra plate battery, life is extended to over 10 hours—far superior to the 5 hours possible with the optional extra large battery of the original.

While SONY made a lot of improvements in the Z2, some of those are merely incremental. Take the video breakout box. Sure, it doubles the video RAM but it is far short of what SONY could have accomplished. SONY should have given the Z2 a much faster video card with twice the RAM. SONY missed the boat on this one.

If you have an original Z, hold on to it. It is ascetically a far superior machine and it does not suffer the design flaws of the newer Z2. The Z2’s touch pad and mouse buttons are a deal breaker. For many the keyboard will be unusable. But for all of us, the finger oil on an otherwise beautiful screen is going to prove a real nuisance.

My new Z2 is going to be relegated to a backup computer—an expensive second computer but I will use the old one more. SONY really missed the boat with their new Z2 and this may well be the last SONY computer for me.

While SONY has reduced the bloatware, the fact is you still can’t buy it the way you want it, and in this market segment, that is UNACCEPTABLE! For another, forget about having your machine augmented. SONY ended its relationship with Computer Upgrade King and that is very unfortunate. If you plan upon adding more RAM later, forget it! SONY now solders the RAM modules to the board so that one is unable to upgrade with affordable aftermarket RAM.

While I found one could order the new Z2 easily, getting the operating system of choice, the processor, memory and software is not possible. SONY needs to learn that at this strata of pricing, the buyer wants it his way—not some canned computer that marketing deemed acceptable.

Apparently SONY is learning this lesson the hard way. For the first time ever, SONY is offering step discounts on the new Z2 of as much as $1,000. This is unheard of!

However, if I had bought mine directly from SONY, I would be returning it. After working with the new Z2 for more than a month, I can truly say this is one computer purchase I regret deeply as it cut into my pocketbook in way that I can not justify.

The only reason to buy the Z series is if one absolutely needs a small form computer like I do in my lifestyle on the road. Certainly, there are far better values out there to be had. SONY’s original Z was so far ahead of the curve that SONY was selling refurbished units for practically retail price even after the new Z2 hit the market at a lower price!

But the proof is in the pudding and this time, SONY’s Z2 was outdated before it was released. The original was more pleasing ascetically to look at and having it all in one compact form factor is sorely missed. SONY’s new breakout video and optical box leaves much to be desired. The new touch pad and mouse buttons are deal breakers. The keyboard is lacking in feel. And, most importantly, the design results in finger oil depositing upon the video display which is grossly irritating.

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4 Responses to SONY’s new Z2 notebook computer is lacking

  1. Logan says:

    People like you piss me off. I absolutely love my Z2 and it has tons of features that are better than the old Z. Lighter, smaller, fast awesome screen. You are simply the wrong customer for the Z2. Go buy a netbook!

    • admin says:

      Features the new Z2 has but my comments were limited to the core facets I use all of the time. There is much to be said in support of the new Z2 but it falls short in the areas described. I hope SONY engineers will take note of my comments and revise the Z2 accordingly.

  2. Chris says:

    Lol, style is worse than the old Z, are you kidding. The thinness of the Z2 is outstanding. And how greasy are your hands to get it on the screen??? Also, there is a cloth to go between you know! You didn’t even mention the Power Media Dock which including the laptop can drive 4 displays. And even the new ram on the new MacBook pro is soldered. And why a review almost a year after the Z2 has been released!?!? I ordered mine fully customized!

    • admin says:

      I will take a look in the box and see if there is a cloth–that would help a lot. I limited my comments to core fetures I use every time that are sorely lacking. I have connected my Z2 to one monitor and recieved a message that I was “out of video RAM!” All I was doing was one U-tube video and surfing.

      As far as connecting four (4) monitors, SONY is a little deceptive about that because one must use the dated RGB output(s) to accomplish four external monitors. However, I have used the onboard HDMI output and the Power Media Dock HDMI output to have two (2) external modern flat screen monitors running along with the little 13.1″ SONY monitor.

      I write my review AFTER having gotten my new one approximately two months ago.

      I ordered another leather case in tan to protect my new machine. Nevertheless, I’d part with it today. $1900 delivered FedEx to you if you are interested.

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