We worried about Sony. We gnashed our teeth and pounded our fists and wondered what had happened to this titan of tech. But between this sleek 2.5-pound full-voltage speed racing laptop and this morning's tablet wünderkinds, well, welcome back Sony.
The Vaio Z series was already the cream in Sony's sea of half-and-half rigs—with prices to match—but this update goes a long way to validating the $2,000 (and that's just for the base model) price tag. The chassis is carbon fiber, the thickness is just over half an inch, and the guts are as powerful as what you'd find in much fatter rigs. Unlike, say, the Samsung Series 9's ULV Core i5 processor.
Other specs? Also what you'd expect to find in a lap-crusher: a Blu-ray upgradeable optical drive (how?), dual SSDs, Radeon 6650M graphics (Update: The how turns out to be the optional Power Media Dock, which includes goodies like the Radeon and the optical drive but also, obviously, adds thickness and weight). . And it act as a mobile hotspot for up to five devices. Pretty damn impressive considering how slight a package you're dealing with. The only trade-off you're looking at is battery life, which is listed at 8 hours and realistically probably weighs in closer to five or six. There's an optional sheet battery accessory that doubles your usage time, but that takes away your weight advantage in a hurry. Compromises!
The new Vaio Z certainly outguns pretty much any other ultraportable out there. The question becomes: is it worth it? For the casual emailing and word processing types, you're likely still better off with a MacBook Air or any among the army of heavier ULV PCs. But if you need serious firepower and a extreme mobility—and have money to burn—this just hit the top of your wish list. Available today at Sony.
SONY ANNOUNCES WORLD'S LIGHTEST 13-INCH STANDARD VOLTAGE PC
VAIO Z Series Laptop Packs a Heavyweight Performance Punch into Featherweight Design
Sony's new flagship VAIO® Z Series ultra-portable laptop packs high performance features, wireless hotspot functionality and quick boot with dual solid state drives – all into a sleek 0.66-inch, 2.5-pound aluminum and carbon fiber chassis.
"This new Z laptop builds on the attitude that an ultra-portable can also pack high performance into a slim profile," said Mike Lucas, senior vice president of Networked Technology and Services Division at Sony Electronics. "The Z Series is ideal for performance demanding road warriors who need excellent battery life."
Z Series plus Power Media Dock™: the Perfect Pair
The Z Series incorporates a bold, new concept – the Power Media Dock™ system. This "performance factory" docking station delivers the power of an AMD Radeon™ HD 6650M graphics card with 1GB VRAM, slot loading optical drive, three USB ports (1 x 3.0 and 2 x 2.0), HDMI® and VGA ports. When paired with the supplied dock, the Z Series transforms into the ultimate workstation and can even support up to four full HD displays (including the system LCD).
High Performance; Low Footprint
Thanks to its engineering design elements, the new Z Series laptop is lighter than its predecessor by half a pound without the Power Media Dock.. The core is comprised of a carbon fiber matrix – the same material used to build Formula 1 race cars – to add flexibility and durability without adding extra weight. A seamless piece of solid aluminum forms the keyboard and palm rest deck for an elegant look and feel. The Z Series is available in three color options: carbon black, carbon indigo, and premium carbon black.
The Z Series laptop is fully flat, abandoning protruding ports, unnecessary seams and bulky batteries for a slim profile that delivers up to 8 hours of battery life. Users looking for even more flexibility can purchase an optional large-capacity sheet battery that attaches flush to the bottom of the computer and extends the battery life to up to 16 hours. The thin profile doesn't mean the VAIO Z Series makes any compromises in performance. Second generation standard voltage Intel Core i5 and i7 processors with Intel Turbo Boost with clock speeds of up to 3.40 GHz power the new Z Series, while dual-channel solid state drives with RAID technology (select models) ensure quick boots, fast application launches, and ample durable storage.
Security is also enhanced with Symantec VIP. This service creates a hardware-based number computed between the PC itself and participating web sites that require heightened security like online banking. Access to these sites is only granted when these numbers match, and the number changes every 30 seconds, helping keep private information safe.
Select models feature mobility solutions including integrated Mobile Broadband, which offers a secure connection through carriers such as AT&T and Sprint. Additionally, the Z Series features Sony's exclusive Share My Connection™ technology, which turns the laptop into a mobile hotspot for up to five PCs or Wi-Fi enabled devices such as smart phones, cameras or media players.
Sony brought its prowess in developing HD televisions to the Z Series' LED backlit displays, available in1920x1080 and 1600x900 resolution levels. The display's 16:9 aspect ratio is ideal for viewing Blu-ray Disc™ movies (select models) with the accompanying Power Media Dock™ system. The display also features anti-glare coating and deep, rich colors for more true-to-life images, and less light reflection.
With new built-in Intel Wireless Display Technology, the Z Series can send movies, videos and photos stored on its drives or home network to a television in full 1080p HD and 5.1 surround sound (TV adapter required and sold separately).
Three capacitive touch buttons provide quick access to software. Users can launch directly into Sony's own Media Gallery™ software by pushing the designated VAIO button on the keyboard and create high-quality home movies. The ASSIST links directly to VAIO Care™ software to help maintain and troubleshoot any issues, and WEB accesses to the internet without a full boot up into Windows®.
The VAIO Z Series comes equipped with the latest select Windows® 7 operating systems. The laptops will retail for about $2,000 and will be available at www.sony.com/pr/zseries today.