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Sony Vaio Z series laptop boasts external graphics and Thunderbolt tech

The Sony Vaio Z series is thin and light enough to bother the MacBook Air, and is the first PC to use Intel's Light Peak technology, for speedy data transfer.

Sony's setting its sights on Apple's MacBook Air with the Vaio Z series, a laptop so thin you could shave with it, and that packs enough battery life to last 7 hours away from the mains.

Unlike most super-portable laptops, it packs serious graphical grunt too -- in a massive extra slab of hardware that plugs into the Z series. It's called the Power Media Dock, and as well as rocking an AMD Radeon HD 6650M GPU, it's got an HDMI port, VGA output and an optical disc drive that can be specced to play Blu-rays.

The 13.1-inch laptop will be the first non-Apple device to feature Intel's Light Peak technology, which allows for insanely speedy data transfer, and is the tech behind the Thunderbolt ports you'll spot on the new MacBook Pro and iMacs. The Z series uses this superfast port to connect the big-pimpin' dock.

Despite weighing just 1.2kg and being just shy of 17mm thick, the Z series packs some fairly meaty tech. There's an Intel Core i7-2620M processor clocked at 2.7GHz, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, 256GB of flash storage and the display has a 1,600x900-pixel resolution.

Battery life can be extended another 7 hours with a 'sheet battery' that plugs on to the laptop's underside. Obviously these add-ons will bulk up the Z series considerably, but they are optional. If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever an ultra-thin laptop that has extra, modular power-boosting add-ons available when you need them.

The Z series will be out from the end of July, and starts at over £1,400. If you configure it up to its maximum spec, you'll be looking to spend about 4 grand, so uh... start saving about three years ago.

We're going to get a preview of the Z series extremely soon, so stay tuned for our first impressions of this Apple-bothering laptop.

In other Light Peak news, Apple's announced pricing for its Thunderbolt cable -- it'll set you back £39 from the Apple Store. Ouch.