updated 04:00 pm EDT, Wed July 13, 2011
Sony VAIO Z 2011 ships to US
Sony on Wednesday afternoon rolled out the new VAIO Z to the US. The 0.66-inch thick, 2.5-pound, Thunderbolt-equipped ultralight is ported over largely intact from its European debut with a few additions for the switch over. Americans have the option of 3G data from multiple carriers, including AT&T and Sprint, as well as a unique two-tone design with a bright blue on the inside and conservative black on the outside.
Symantec VIP comes preloaded on the system and establishes a hardware-linked, constantly changing number that can prevent a fraudulent attempt to get into a banking site or other page.
The system's distinctive point remains its unique Power Media Dock, which links up through a proprietary approach to Thunderbolt and gives the 13.1-inch notebook much more power than its size would allow. It carries both the optical drive as well as Ethernet, added HDMI and USB expansion, and even a dedicated Radeon HD 6650M graphics chipset. Normal battery life lasts up to eight hours but can be doubled through a sheet battery that latches on to the bottom of the VAIO.
Pricing for the system puts it well out of direct contention with the MacBook Air at a minimum $2,000 for a system with a Core i5, a 1600x900 display, a Power Media Dock, and an unspecified amount of storage. Faster systems will have the full potential with up to a Core i7, a 1080p display, Blu-ray, and dual-SSD storage RAID striped together to get very fast load times. Sony hints that it may be trying to deliberately steer out of direct competition by claiming the thinnest and lightest "standard-voltage PC," putting it in a performance class above the low-voltage Air even if it dictates a higher price and lower sales.