Fans of VAIO laptops may recall that the flagship Z series was known for its impressive portability, until it quietly passed away in 2017. The good news is that the Sony fallout is bringing this line out of retirement, thanks to a breakthrough in carbon fiber production. New VAIO Z is allegedly the first laptop in the world to sport a “3D-molded carbon fiber body,” as each carbon fiber part is contoured on all sides on the cover, palm rest, and base assembly. Previously, VAIO could only use flat carbon fiber sheets, so it had to rely on metal or plastic parts to hold them together.
Using this new production technique co-developed with carbon fiber specialist Toray, the result is a more solid structure – which apparently can survive. 127cm or 4.1ft drop (a little beyond the MIL-STD-810H requirement) – while keeping the weight of the laptop at just under 2.3 lbs or 1.04 kg. Not bad, considering that the VAIO Z packs a 14-inch 4K anti-glare LCD display, as well as a backlit keyboard with improved 1.5mm keystroke travel.
But in terms of jacks, you only have one Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port on each side, a full-size HDMI port, a headphone jack, and a security lock slot. Far from VAIO earlier SX Series.
For reassurance, VAIO has added a physical privacy shutter to the 2-megapixel webcam, although you’d want to keep it open for Windows Hello instant login, of course. Similarly, the VAIO Z provides a keyboard shortcut (Fn + Tab keys) to mute both stereo microphones in an instant.
Another main selling point here is battery life. The company claims that the VAIO Z can last up to 10 hours (the Japanese technical sheet even lists 17 hours, based on local testing standards), but it’s powered by a high performance Intel Core i7-11375H processor with Iris Xe graphic. This is a welcome change from the low voltage processors of the older models.
Interestingly, the US market only gets the VAIO Z Signature Edition, which starts at $ 3,579 (16GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 512GB of “4th gen” PCIe SSD) and reaches a high of $ 4,179 (32 GB of RAM and 2 TB of SSD). Despite VAIO’s attempt to pit the Z against Apple MacBook Pro M1 in his opening remarks, it’s clear that this laptop isn’t for everyone. But by all means, if you’re looking for an excuse to splash around while being stuck at home, VAIO is now take pre-orders. Otherwise, there are obviously plenty of other more affordable options.