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Head to Head: Apple MacBook Air vs. Sony VAIO TZ-Series Subnotebook

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The new Apple MacBook Air was unveiled today during Steve Jobs' highly-anticipated Keynote address at the Macworld Conference & Expo. Direct comparisons were made to the Sony VAIO TZ-series subnotebooks in size, weight, and processing speed. We put both notebooks next to each other to see which system offers the best bang for your buck.

Sony VAIO TZ-Series
Apple MacBook Air
Price
$2,099.99
$1,799
Weight
2.7 pounds
3.0 pounds
Width (at thickest)
1.17"
0.76"
Screen
11.1" 1366x768 widescreen LCD with LED backlight
13.3" 1280x800 widescreen LCD with LED backlight
Processor
Intel Core 2 Duo U7500 1.06GHz dual-core processor with 533MHz front side bus
Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz dual-core processor with 800MHz front side bus
Memory
1GB PC2-4200 533MHz RAM
2GB PC2-5300 667MHZ RAM
Hard Drive
100GB 4200 rpm IDE hard drive
80GB 4200 rpm IDE hard drive
Video Card
Intel GMA 950 with VGA output
Intel GMA X3100 with mini DVI output
Optical Drive
8x dual layer DVD burner
(none)
Wireless Networking
802.11n + Sprint Mobile Broadband
802.11n

While the Sony manages to cram an optical drive into its TZ-series subnotebook, it does so at the expense of a larger case. And although the VAIO does weigh a couple of ounces below the MacBook Air, it sacrifices nearly 2" of screen real estate to get there. Not to mention that for sheer speed, the VAIO's 1.06GHz processor pales in comparison to the MacBook's 1.6GHz CPU.

Feature-wise, both notebooks come with an integrated camera and Bluetooth, although the MacBook Air features the newer Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR spec, which consumes less power and makes it easier to pair your gadgets. Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, which is what you'll find inside the VAIO, sucks up a little more juice from your battery and requires you to enter PIN numbers when trying to get your gadgets to play nice. Security freaks, however, will like that Sony integrates a biometric fingerprint sensor onto its laptop, an option not available on the MacBook Air.

When it comes to connectivity, we also give kudos to Sony for having integrated WWAN, so if there's no open network around, you can still check e-mail and update that Facebook profile via Sprint's Mobile Broadband service. (Of note, this requires a monthly subscription, not to mention it wipes your battery out in no time flat).

However, Apple's knockout punch comes via its operating system. Sony's notebook, naturally, runs Microsoft Windows Vista Business, while the MacBook Air has OS X Leopard at its core, with the ability to run Windows via Bootcamp.

No doubt about it, the MacBook Air leaves the Sony VAIO TZ choking in the dust, with a bigger screen, a better processor, a thinner profile, and most importantly, a lower price tag.

Louis Ramirez, with additional reporting by Jeffrey Contray

Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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