Sony Vaio Z has carbon fiber body, Light Peak dock

Eat your heart out, Apple. Sony has announced an ultra-thin business laptop that, in a number of ways, puts the MacBook Air to shame. Despite packing a standard-voltage Sandy Bridge processor, the 13.1″ Vaio Z weighs a scant 2.6 lbs and measures 0.66″ in thickness. Not only that, but the machine can be purchased with an auxiliary Light Peak dock that has a discrete graphics processor inside.

The Vaio Z has a 13.1″ anti-reflective display with a 1600×900 resolution. In its top configuration, the machine packs a 2.7GHz Core i7-2620M processor, 8GB of DDR3 system memory, 512GB of solid-state storage, 3G connectivity, a seven-hour lithium-polymer battery, and other amenities including Bluetooth and 802.11n Wi-Fi. In addition to the standard battery, Sony offers an optional “sheet battery” that users can charge “separately from the PC” and attach to the bottom of machine without having to shut it down. With both batteries installed, the company quotes a run time of 14 hours.

More interesting still is the Power Media Dock, which hooks up to the Vaio Z via a dual-use port meant to accommodate both USB 3.0 and optical Light Peak connections. (Yes, Sony specifically says “optical,” so this is altogether different from the Thunderbolt ports Apple has pioneered.) The Power Media Dock includes a DVD or Blu-ray drive, a Radeon HD 6650M graphics processor with 1GB of DDR3 RAM, and additional connectivity, including support for up to to three auxiliary displays.

If this all sounds too good to be true, the machine’s price tag ought to put things in perspective. In its base config with a Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, an 128GB SSD, and no docking station, the Vaio Z will set you back a cool £1,434 ($2,295) on Sony’s UK online store. The dock alone costs an additional £400-525 ($640-840), depending on whether you want a Blu-ray burner, a Blu-ray reader, or a plain-old DVD combo drive. Computer hardware tends to be more expensive in Europe, so I’d expect saner price tags once the Vaio Z series hops the pond… but it’s pretty clear Sony is going all out with this machine. Check out the image gallery below for more shots of the system. (Thanks to Engadget for the tip.)

Comments closed
    • Rakhmaninov3
    • 8 years ago

    Finally someone not racing to the bottom!

    Looks sharp and I bet it’s crazy fast. As long as they didn’t cheap out on the keyboard and touchpad this could be a great computer.

    • link626
    • 8 years ago

    i’d like to steal me one of these

    • ShadowTiger
    • 8 years ago

    Hopefully they will make a version with an ultra low voltage CPU that gets ~10 hrs of battery life.

    How much do you think underclocking this to 1.5 – 2 ghz would save you, if you turned turbo boost off (assuming you can do all of that).

    • indeego
    • 8 years ago

    Comes with 20…nope, wait, 21 ports open by default.

    edit: 22 ports now.

    • adisor19
    • 8 years ago

    Wow, i have to say, this has the MBA beat on all counts.. never thought I’d see that happen.

    Apple better pull a rabbit out of the hat for their sandy bridge refresh of the MBA.. i mean, OS X can only add this much value to a device.. and these days hackintoshing isn’t that difficult to accomplish..

    It feels very weird to write this.. i need some moral support from my fellow Mac users.. anyone ?

    Adi

      • nagashi
      • 8 years ago

      Not a mac user, but price? Also, we really ought to see what the SB air refresh brings to the table. I don’t see apple doing anything really neat like the external graphics card, but in terms of screen/ram/hd/proc options, I think the air will likely come out pretty comparable at a lower price point.

        • kamikaziechameleon
        • 8 years ago

        CARBON FIBER!!!! I know its not as good at radiating heat as aluminum but its sturdier per pound and its fingerprint resistant.

          • Bauxite
          • 8 years ago

          Sometimes radiating all heat into your lap is not a good thing, or an effective cooling design.

          (see: macbook pro)

          • Corrado
          • 8 years ago

          Carbon fiber is usually polished epoxy finish and a COMPLETE fingerprint magnet. On the contrary, the anodized aluminum of the macbook’s is … extremely fingerprint resistant.

        • demani
        • 8 years ago

        Fortunately Apple doesn’t need to do the dock, and there are some options that may get that out before too long (and that would be good for everybody looking for a thin and light notebook-that’s ThunderBolt’s real advantage). But this certainly shows that the idea can be done pretty easily.

        And love the screen options.

      • WillBach
      • 8 years ago

      Hi Adi,

      It’s going to be okay. 🙂 MBA will get Sandy Bridge and Lion and Thunderbolt and arrive soon: [url=http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/06/10/apple_poised_to_build_nearly_400k_next_gen_macbook_airs_this_month.html<]Apple poised to build nearly 400K next-gen MacBook Airs this month[/url<] In the future, It may get a carbon fiber body, too: [url=http://arst.ch/18d<]Apple files patent for improving aesthetics of carbon fiber[/url<] But not in the too-near future: [url=http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/11/06/20/apple_rumored_to_offer_next_gen_macbook_airs_with_black_finish.html<]Apple rumored to offer next-gen MacBook Airs with black finish[/url<] :-/ Even now, judging from the pictures, the MBA has a much better track pad. It also (oddly) has a lower price. We won't know exactly [i<]how[/i<] much lower until the new Vaio arrives in the US but £1,434 is a steep bill for an entry-level model. What you should be hoping for is for this Vaio to take off. Then there will be more pressure for all laptop manufacturers (including Apple) to offer better screens. - Will PS How odd is it that Apple is using a universal TB controller and Sony is going in its own direction? It used its own i.LINK branding for IEEE 1394 but I'm still really surprised that they're forging their own sub-spec for TB when there is concern among analysts about even regular TB being adopted by enough manufacturers. My personal opinion is the vanilla TB will be successful, and so will be USB 3.0. Manufacture-specific TB extensions, I'm not so sure, especially when many consumers are wary of adopting that manufacture's specialized technologies, see UMD disk, Memory Stick, Mini CD, etc.

      • pdjblum
      • 8 years ago

      How does OS X add value to a device? That implies OS X is better than Win 7, and not everyone would agree.

        • demani
        • 8 years ago

        Then for those who do see it as the better option it is a value-added tick. Why must you be so argumentative for such an obvious issue? We get it- you like Windows better…sheesh.

        • adisor19
        • 8 years ago

        This is of course my own opinion. In my case, OS X adds value to my computer and it’s an important factor in my buying decision.

        Adi

      • Skrying
      • 8 years ago

      Wouldn’t you expect a computer that costs more than twice as much to be considerably better? I really have no idea what you’re even getting at. It really is like you had a minor fanboy breakdown.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 8 years ago

    It’s not so portable once you figure in the fire extinguisher.

    • ltcommander.data
    • 8 years ago

    I thought the governing body behind USB objected to Intel trying to use the USB port for Thunderbolt which is why Intel switched to a miniDP port in their final implementation. So did Sony manage to get approval from the USB Implementors Forum where Intel failed or did Sony just do it anyways, which means there may be legal challenges coming?

      • adisor19
      • 8 years ago

      Sony was probably waaaay to advanced in prototyping this machine so they never bothered to change it to the final DP port connector as Apple did.

      Adi

    • ImSpartacus
    • 8 years ago

    Why can’t all laptops be like the Vaio Z?

    It costs only £40 to upgrade the anti-reflective 13.1″ screen to 1080p.

    I would probably own an X200 if I could have more than 1366×768 petty pixels in its screen.

    What can’t all laptops be like the Vaio Z?

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]What can't all laptops be like the Vaio Z?[/quote<] Because very few people can even justify a $2,300 laptop, let alone afford it. The vast majority of buyers are perfectly willing to sacrifice considerable quality and performance in exchange for a pricetag that's literally [b<][i<]1/6th[/b<][/i<] of this.

        • kamikaziechameleon
        • 8 years ago

        “What can’t all laptops be like the Vaio Z?” he is referencing the screen options, the fact that they exist. Thats all he sights down the line.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 8 years ago

          Any laptop above $1,000 should have screen options. Even most at the $700 mark do. That still doesn’t make a lot of sense, considering this is probably $2,000.

          • dpaus
          • 8 years ago

          That makes considerably more sense, but sadly, the response is still largely correct 🙁

    • oMa
    • 8 years ago

    Is it possible to play on the laptop screen with the external graphics? REALLY hope so!

      • Hattig
      • 8 years ago

      Possibly via frame copying over PCIe to the HD3000. 1920×1080 at 60Hz is 4Gbps, and there’s 10Gbps available each way.

      I suspect that in this case the external GPU is meant to be connected to an external monitor, and thus act as a true Dock (hence the Ethernet and additional USB ports).

        • oMa
        • 8 years ago

        Letæs hope your suspicion is wrong. The external GPU would be worthless to me. Vaio S would be Sony’s most powerfull gaming laptop at 13″.

        Dual link light peak? :angel:

        • Bauxite
        • 8 years ago

        With an optimus config you can redirect video back through the intel gpu, and its compressed.

        People are already doing it with DIY eGPUs (expresscard/minicard to pci-e) on a single x1 1.0 lane and its still enough to really improve things.

    • Jahooba
    • 8 years ago

    Wow, that is one sexy computer! (and way beyond my price range)

    I learned some time ago that Apple hired a carbon-fiber expert – I wouldn’t be shocked to see them release a similar body for their laptop line. Heck, that would certainly be awesome for decreasing weight on the iPhone line, too (that thick glass back-plate on the iP4 is heavy!).

    Sorry to go off-topic a little, I’m just excited that perhaps carbon fiber parts will become commonplace and cheaper 🙂

      • Flatland_Spider
      • 8 years ago

      I’m excited they’ll do something other then the bare aluminum they’ve been sporting for the last decade or so.

      I’m seriously surprised Apple didn’t use ceramics for the back of the iPhone 4. I used to live next to a refinery, and one of the products they made was a super tough ceramic. I had an ashtray made from the stuff, and I was never able to break it. I also didn’t try super hard to break it; I just threw it around a parking lot once.

    • Hattig
    • 8 years ago

    It looks nice, but it probably steals your passwords and posts them to twitter.

    I was going to make a comment about VGA output, but I saw the HDMI on the other side.

    The price though … makes the MBA look reasonably priced. In the UK the 4GB with 128GB SSD is £1,252.00 incl. VAT (I also included a mini-DP to DVI adaptor and a USB Ethernet port) – but this is now an older design with the new one coming next month.

    I like the option to have a 1920×1080 13.1″ display, the styling, the processor, the weight. Shame the backlit keyboard is another £15.

    It’s also annoying to have another custom port, especially one using USB as the USB Forum explicitly disallowed it, so connecting anything besides the Sony Dock will be difficult as nothing will be made.

      • Bauxite
      • 8 years ago

      “I was going to make a comment about VGA output, but I saw the HDMI on the other side.”

      VGA is still useful in the business world with a huge install base of projectors, and no they aren’t in a hurry to upgrade them when the powerpoints look just fine as is.

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    Saw that thing this morning. It’s a sex machine, and it seems to be a little overpriced, but it’s nice still. i WANT the extra GPU’s on notebooks!

      • TheBulletMagnet
      • 8 years ago

      As someone else on here commented,

      “Unfortunately, PC laptop vendors are still going to give us cheap plastic chassis with keyboard flex, and low-resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio TN panels with washed out colors and bad viewing angles whose deficiencies will be papered over with a glossy screen. Not to mention bad touchpads that still don’t recognize multi-touch gestures and fans that sound like my old 60 mm Delta at load.

      This is all part of the death spiral of reduced quality that has infected most laptops over the years.”

      This is one the few laptops trying to give you more than that, so you gotta pay for it. In order to qualify your statement of this laptop being overpriced can you find 2 to 3 laptops with similar weight, size, screen resolution, and hardware specifications for less money?

    • Jigar
    • 8 years ago

    I have never been impressed by laptops, but this one is exceptional.

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