Sony Vaio Z

Thin and light often means slow and shoddy when it comes to 3D processing, but the Valo Z confounds that expectation.

It doesn't meet the full set of specs lntel requires to use the Ultrabook branding, but it has something none of its rivals do: a plug- in graphics card that gives it the power of a desktop PC when docked. The dock uses a proprietary connector that combines both the Thunderbolt technology used in Apple's MacBooks and a USB3.0- compatible port. Hook it up and it takes the role of charger, Blu-ray player and graphics card. The AMD HD6550M inside the dock won't run Battlefield 3 in super HO, but it's exponentially better than the lntel HD3000 graphics that feature in the laptop itself (and every other machine tested here), making the Vaio a viable desktop replacer.

The rest of the Vaio is less exciting, however. The carbon fibre body may make it lighter than the metal Zenbook, but it feels flimsy and unstable with it. That might not matter if it weren't so expensive, but you can buy a MacBook Air and a proper gaming desktop PC for less. Which means that, impressive as it is, the Vaio remains off - limits to people with only one house.

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