Retracting My Favorable Reviews Of Sony Z Series Laptops Hot

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The Sony Z Series is 3.5 pound ultraportable desktop replacement, marketed as a CEO’s computer.

I wrote about my Sony VGN Z690 in Financial Advisor in August 2009 and also mentioned them favorably on A4A.

Sony laptops always sport the fastest Intel processors and lightest weight among ultraportables.

It comes at a high price. I’ve bought one every two or three years for the last seven or eight years, and they always seem to cost about $3750—after buying the fastest processor, hard drive, upgraded video card, Microsoft Office Professional, and a three year on-site service contract.

I currently own what is probably my fourth or fifth Sony ultraportable, counting the S Series laptops that preceded the Z Series.

The last three times I bought a Z Series laptop, it contained a solid state drive. They’ve all broken within two years—all three.

I’m a professional reviewer. I started reviewing technology as a business reporter for The New York Daily News and then reviewed personal finance software at Worth. For the past 15 years, I’ve reviewed technology for financial advisors at magazines including Investment Advisor and Financial Advisor. 

What I’ve learned as a reviewer is not to be so tough on consumer companies. You can’t expect perfection, not even from Apple. While I only tell readers about great products, sometimes I have to settle for great products that become good products. That’s been true with Sony fort the last couple of years. My enthusiasm since 2009 has been dampened by repeated problems. 

Now Sony has broken its compact with me and other consumers. It has repeatedly failed me, and deserves at this point to be called out for it.

I’ve been a loyal Sony customer, but Sony sold me an expensive computer that has failed within two years three times in a row now.

The first failure was two years ago with my first Sony Z Series laptop. I loved that machine. But after about 10 months, it starting shutting down without notice. There was no chance to save my work. It just shut down.

Sony’s repair department put me through a six-week nightmare saying the parts were back ordered. They finally refunded my money on the 10 month old computer and I ordered a new one, a Sony VGN Z 890.

It worked well and on November 10 2010, ordered another Sony Z so I could give my wife the VGN Z 890 and buy a new model for myself.  In mid-August, the solid state drive failed.

Sony said the parts needed to repair it were on back order. I was told by Sony that its repair depot had the parts and that it would be repaired faster if I mailed in the computer instead of waiting for an onsite service.

Last week, after waiting for a month for the parts to come in and an onsite service call, I shipped the computer to the Sony “repair depot.” This past Saturday, I received an email from Sony saying the parts were back ordered.

In the meantime, I am using a back-up machine. It’s my old Sony Vaio VGN Z 890 that I gave to my wife. And guess what: It is now starting to shut down without notice.
Apparently, the processor is overheating.

So not only is my 10 month old Sony Vaio Z Series in repair, but the one I bought less then two years ago is also failing.
It’s a shame. I'm willing to pay up for the most expensive, fastest, lightest laptop. And the Sony Z Series is great when it's working. But they don’t seem to last.


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