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