Following a few leaks, Sony's new high-end Vaio Z laptop has been announced by the European arm of the Sony Vaio group, a few weeks ahead of its expected American debut.
The 13.3-inch laptop is slim and light, under 17mm thick, but still manages to pack in a full-voltage Intel Core i7 processor (paired with an SSD hard drive). The screen has a 1,600x900-pixel resolution, which is higher than most 13-inch laptops.
But the real interesting part of the new Vaio Z is its docking station. The vertically mounted Power Media Dock not only includes an optical drive and a rarely seen Intel Light Peak port, but also a fully functioning AMD Radeon graphics card, which can be used by the laptop when connected to the dock. Sony, in its European press release, says:
The performance of [the] Vaio Z Series is taken to new extremes by the unique Power Media Dock2, a monolithic expansion module that links with Vaio via an optical cable...Featuring high-speed I/O data transfer based on the architecture codenamed "Light Peak," Power Media Dock boosts graphics performance while adding numerous extra connectivity options [and] new-generation AMD Radeon HD graphics with 1GB VRAM effortlessly handle demanding graphics tasks, from 3D CAD to gaming.
This is easily one of the most interesting laptop packages we've seen this year. External graphics for laptops is a concept many companies have played with over the years, notably Asus, but this is the closest we've seen to a mainstream implementation.
The Sony Vaio Z will be available, at least in Europe, by the end of July. There's no official price yet, but you can be sure it'll be on the high end of the spectrum.