Saturday, July 9, 2011

New Sony Vaio Z - Available for Pre-order Now from Sony - Ships 7/29/2011

7/13 - DailyTech - Sony's VAIO Z to Come Stateside With $1,969 Starting Price: "Today, Sony has finally let us know how much of a dent the VAIO Z will put in our wallets. The VAIO Z will have a starting price of a whopping $1,969 in the U.S. (you can pre-order the VAIO Z right now at Sony's online store - Estimated ship date: 7/29/2011).

That base price will get you an Intel Core i5-2410M processor (2.3GHz/2.9GHz Turbo Boost), 4GB of DDR3 memory, 128GB SSD (64GB x 2 in RAID-0), 13.1' LED-backlit display (1600x900), Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) and the lowest end Power Media Dock (AMD Radeon HD 6650M + CD/DVD burner)."

Finally found the dimensions: Sony VAIO Z specs and price – flabbergasting battery life: "measures in at 13.0 x 0.66 x 8.27 inches"

Most reviews about the new Vaio Z say the machine is pretty awesome, so I'm just collecting the not-so-awesome comments here (I lied... also keeping some pluses and some nice reviews at the end of this post). T
his machine is so far only available outside the US. Monitoring Engadet for it's US debut.

7/13 - Sony VAIO Z Series (VPCZ216GX/L) review | This is my next...: "the Z’s speakers had to be the worst in the world. And the truth is, I actually don’t know the last time I reviewed a laptop with such terrible speakers — the sound is just unacceptably tinny, and even at max volume it’s hard to hear from five feet away. Even compared to a 10-inch Toshiba netbook, the VAIO Z emits muted and muffled sound. Of course, Sony had to be aware of the horrendous external sound since it does include a set of comfortable noise-canceling earbuds and has done some fine tuning to optimize the audio-out quality."

7/13 - Sony Vaio Z Review - CNET: "The bad: The Vaio Z starts expensive and goes up from there. Between the various power connections and AC adapters, you may end up with a confusing mess of wires, and the shallow keyboard isn't great for long-form typing."

"The flat-topped keyboard will be familiar to anyone who has used a Sony VAIO in the past several years (or a MacBook, for that matter). There is one important difference, however. Because the body of the notebook is so thin, the actual keys are extremely shallow — more so than we've seen on any laptop in recent memory. That made typing an awkward experience, at least until we got used to the design. it will never become our favourite notebook for long-form writing."

7/12 - Be careful. This machine is not yet available in the states. If you see one for sale it is not the New Z (likely a refurbished old Z - the old Z is nice but I blew mine up in ~2 years). Currently the new Z is only available outside of the states and does not have the specs out of the box for you to run here.

7/8 - Sony Vaio Z (2011) VPCZ21M9E review | IT PRO Reviews: "The disadvantage of the fast processor in such a slender chassis is that the underside of the Vaio Z can become incredibly hot when it’s churning through demanding tasks – so much so that you won’t want to use it on your lap. To be fair this is true of many other laptops, but especially so in this case. When using Office apps and web browsing the Vaio Z runs cool enough for lap use and without the loud cooling fans ramping up to unbearable levels."

Sony Vaio Z (2011) VPCZ21M9E rating | IT PRO Reviews: "There’s no doubt that the Vaio Z is a very desirable laptop and in many ways it’s a pleasure to use. However, it’s also very expensive at £1,599 ex VAT and it can be even pricier if options such as a Core i7 processor, a larger SSD and a Blu-ray version of the Power Media Dock are added. // It is possible to get a Vaio Z for £1,195 ex VAT by removing features such as the Power Media Dock, the 3G modem and opting for Windows 7 Home Premium instead of Professional. Even so, design issues such as the keyboard, concerns about sturdiness and the heat means it’s still a plaything for status-conscious C-level executives rather than an ultraportable workhorse for wide or even limited deployment. There's nothing quite like it at the moment, but more practical alternatives include the Apple MacBook Air, the Toshiba Portégé R830 or Sony’s own Vaio SB1V9E."

6/28 - webplanetfreaks official blog - Web Planet Freaks: "With so many of Ultraportables to choose from i wonder why people will go for the new Sony VAIO Z laptops. I am not saying it's a bad laptop. It is a solid device but the price of the new VIAO Z is the biggest turnoff. Costing you over $3000 you might as well go for the Macbook Air that looks classy. Moreover the new Power Media Dock is a burden to carry around and hampers the portability of the laptop in general. My advice, if you got the money and you like Sony's new VIAO Z style go for it. Otherwise go for the Samsung Series 9 or the Macbook Air."

Keeping some pluses/notes here:
  • Compared with the ubiquitous 13-inch MacBook Pro, the Sony Vaio Z is not quite as thin, but it's definitely lighter (source).
  • For years we've dinged Sony for its bloatware and adware-filled systems, but the company has toned its act down of late. The Vaio Z shoves only a handful of marketing come-ons at you, including one labeled "Secure your Vaio rewards," which in our case was an offer to buy a one-year license for Norton security and LoJack for laptops software for $99 (source).
  • In anecdotal use, we found the Vaio Z116 to be probably the fastest 13-inch laptop we've used, and great for effortless multitasking, aided no doubt by the 256GB solid-state hard drive. Then again, for a $2,000-plus laptop, we'd expect nothing less. (source).
  • Sony includes an industry-standard one-year parts and labor warranty with the system, which smartly includes onsite service. Support is accessible through a 24-7 toll-free phone line, as well as an online knowledge base and driver downloads. The included support software, accessed via quick-launch button on the keyboard tray, connects you directly to diagnostic tools, online resources, and troubleshooting tips (source).
  • The VAIO Z offers a wide Synaptics touchpad that supports some multitouch features. Controls such as pinch zoom and flick work, but Sony opted for Chiral-scroll and vertical-swipe instead of the increasingly popular two-finger scroll (source).
  • One feature I did like was the inclusion of a dock connector port on the bottom of the notebook. It includes four USB 2.0 ports, DVI and VGA-out, Gigabit LAN, and an input for the AC-adapter. The docking station is a $200 option and not included with the notebook  (source).
  • PRICING:  Right now the Z starts at $1,919 for a base configuration (128GB RAID0 SSD, i5 540M, 4GB RAM) and goes all the way up to $4,799 for a Signature Edition (512GB RAID0 SSD, i7 620M, 8GB RAM, 1080P panel). (source)
  • ...Even so, you’ll find it hard to tear your eyes away from the VAIO Z's 13.1in display. Our model came with the 1,600 x 900 resolution display, and it delivers stunning image quality across the board. With a huge 860:1 contrast ratio, a measured maximum brightness of 353cd/m2 and a stunningly low average Delta E of 4.3, this is as good as laptop displays get. The semi-gloss finish is the perfect compromise, too, blending the glare-reducing benefits of a matte display with the deep black level of a gloss screen. (source)
Some of the best reviews:

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