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CNET First Look
Sony Vaio ZWith slim 13-inch SSD laptops now well under $1,000, Sony's expensive, high-end Z series laptop is a tough sell, although the long-life slice battery and unique GPU/optical dock help make its case.
I'm Dan Ackerman. We're here taking a look at the latest version of Sony's Vaio Z Laptop and of course, the Z is the highest end of Sony's various laptop lines because, you know, what comes after Z right. We first saw the current version of the Z in the summer of 2011. It was really impressive. It was a very slim, very lightweight 13 inch laptop, good construction, lots of extras, fairly powerful, even thought it was very very expensive. Now since then, a lot actually kinda happened. Now we have these ultra laptops that are also 13 inch laptops, also very slim, also very light. In fact, they have for the most parts the same CPUs and even the same SSD Hard Drive as something like the Vaio Z. But there are maybe a thousand dollars a little bit less, a little bit more. The Vaio Z now start now starts at about $1,650. This particular configuration is $2,000 and it just goes up from there. So it kinda have some pretty special extras on it to justify all that extra money. I'll show you a couple of them, then it's kinda up to you to decide whether or not it's worth the extra bread. Now the 1st thing is every Vaio Z, even the $1,600 one comes with an external GPU dock. It looks like an external DVD player or hard drive or docking station but inside is an optical drive, this case is a blu ray drive but also AMD GPU. And it connects via the special cable, the use of the same back end as Intel Slender Vault Technology so you can actually use the GPU in real time with the laptop in order to do things like play high end games and maybe do better video editing and of course you don't have to have a built into laptop all the times. You can just take this part with you which is thinner and lighter and leave this at home then when you get home, you plug it all in together and of course you got a much more powerful laptop. We also got in our configuration this external slice battery. And this is a popular feature you see on some laptops now instead of a big add on battery that comes out of the bag in a laptop or it's kinda bulky, just get this thin slice that just fits right under it. It just increases the thickness over it and really can more than double the battery life in some cases specially because it uses the slice battery and then the internal battery. If you put that together with the dock, you know can see why the Vaio Z is a lot more expensive than ultra book 13 inch laptops. You also get some nice extras like 1600 by 900 screen and of course, the cool back lit keyboard as well as Sony's memory stick slot just in case you have some memory sticks lying around in addition to the regular SD card slot. I'd be more inclined to look at something like Dell's new XPS13 or maybe Lenovo's U300S if I just wanted a slim 13 inch laptop to carry around with me or of course, the Mac Book Air. But if you want something that will do double duty as a super slim, super portable system, but then you could also plug in this extra guy and have a more powered system at home, the Vaio Z is the really the only example of that I have seen. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the latest version of Sony's Vaio Z