Fans of VAIO laptops may remember that the Z Series flagship was known for its impressive portability, until it quietly disappeared in 2017. The good news is that the Sony spinoff is now bringing this line out of retirement, thanks to a breakthrough in the production of carbon fiber. The new VAIO Z is reportedly the world’s first laptop to have a “3D-molded carbon fiber body”, which in each piece of carbon fiber is contoured around all sides of the lid, palm rest and base unit. Previously, VAIO could only use flat carbon fiber sheets, so it had to rely on metallic or plastic parts to hold them together.
Using this new production technique developed with carbon fiber specialist Toray, the result is a stronger structure – one that can apparently survive a drop of 127 cm or 4.1 feet (slightly beyond the MIL-STD-810H requirement) – while keeps the laptop’s weight just under 2.3 kg or 1.04 kg. Not bad, considering the VAIO Z packs a 14-inch 4K anti-reflective LCD, along with a backlit keyboard with enhanced 1.5mm key height.
But when it comes to electrical outlets, you only get a USB-C Thunderbolt 4 port on each side, a full-size HDMI port, a headphone jack and a security lock slot. Far from VAIO’s previous SX series.
For your convenience, VAIO has added a physical privacy shutter to your 2-megapixel webcam, though of course you want it open for Windows Hello instant login. On a related note, the VAIO Z provides a keyboard shortcut (Fn + Tab keys) to mute both stereo microphones instantly.
Battery life is another important selling point here. The company claims that the VAIO Z can last up to 10 hours (the Japanese specification sheet shows up to 17 hours, based on local test standards), but it is powered by an Intel Core i7-11375H high-performance processor complete with Iris Xe graphics. This is a very welcome change compared to low voltage CPUs on older models.
Interestingly, the US market only gets the Signature Edition VAIO Z, which starts at $ 3,579 (16GB LPDDR4 RAM and 512GB “4th generation” PCIe SSD) and maximizes $ 4,179 (32GB RAM and 2TB SSD). Despite VAIO’s attempts to set the Z up against Apple’s M1 MacBook Pro in its main direction, it’s clear that this laptop is not for everyone. But by all means, if you happen to be looking for an excuse to splash while stuck at home, VAIO is now taking pre-orders. Otherwise, there are obviously many other less expensive options.