Wednesday Sony finally brought its VAIO Z series to the States, touted as the "world's lightest 13-inch standard voltage PC" thanks to an aluminum/carbon-fiber chassis. The portable rig measures just 0.66-inches thick and weighs just 2.5-pounds, making it slightly thinner than Apple's coveted MacBook Air but one fifth of a pound heavier.
Originally announced at the end of June, the VAIO Z series features a cool Power Media Dock: a "monolithic" expansion module that links to the laptop via a Thunderbolt connection. This external device boosts the laptop's graphical prowess with an integrated AMD Radeon HD 6650M card combined with 1 GB of dedicated DDR3 VRAM. The dock also provides a Blu-ray or DVD SuperMulti optical drive (depending on the model), three USB ports, and support for up to four HD displays (including the notebook screen) via HDMI and/or VGA output ports.
On its own though, the Sony VAIO Z isn't too shabby. As an example, the VAIO VPCZ21V9E sports an Intel Core i7-2620M CPU clocked at 2.70 GHz (with Turbo Boost up to 3.40 GHz), 8 GB of DDR3 1333 Mhz SDRAM, 256 GB of SSD storage (in Raid 0), and an Intel HD Graphics 3000 GPU. Other features include 802.11a/b/g/n, 3G WWAN; Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR; USB 2.0 x1, the docking station/USB port (supports USB 2.0/3.0 compatible devices), HDMI out (3D supported), an HD web camera powered by ‘Exmor’ (1.3 effective megapixels) and more.
Overall the new series features Intel's second-generation Core i5 and i7 processors, depending on the model. Certain versions will also have dual SSDs with RAID technology for faster boot times, mobility solutions including integrated Mobile Broadband, and Sony's exclusive Share My Connection technology which turns the laptop into a mobile hotspot for up to five devices. The LED backlit displays will be available in 1920 x 1080 and 1600 x 900 resolution levels.
"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," the company said Wednesday. "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."
Sony's Z Series starts at $1969.99, so start counting those pennies. It may take a while.
The only thing I may have a problem with is the absurd price and the relatively bland graphics card that doesn't deserve a desktop replacement price
There's been articles online in the past (http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1522180) where people have made makeshift external cards using removable pci cards, but it's great to see Sony adding some polish to the idea. All we need now is a AMD Llano-based laptop with a dock that allows video card upgrades. I can see it now: Hybrid graphics with a 6950 with a firmware upgrade and we'd have one rockin' system.