The Sony VAIO Z series has long been known as a no-compromise laptop in every sense of the word. It’s been the king of ultraportables; with RAID 0 SSDs (up to four), the latest and fastest processors and even gaming-capable graphics–all in an exceptionally slim chassis. It has also been (and most likely still is) equipped with a no-compromise price tag.
Now Sony has just announced the latest version of its highly coveted machine, but unfortunately the dedicated graphics card has moved out of the laptop to reside in a “Power Media Dock” on the side, which looks and sounds a lot like AMD’s failed XGP concept, but instead of a proprietary PCIe port it uses Intel’s Light Peak (i.e. Thunderbolt) interface to hook up an external video card as well as a Blu-ray or DVD player. Nevertheless, words like “innovative” and “new” are used for describing the dock in the European press release.
XGP was a good idea in theory… no wait, it was a bad idea in theory. Why would anyone want to pay lots of money for a laptop with a graphics card that isn’t actually built into the laptop? The laptop wasn’t invented so that we would be able to carry a computer around in two separate parts to make full use of its capabilities. To add insult to injury, the
XGP box Portable Media Dock is only equipped with a Radeon HD 6650M with 1GB of DDR3 video RAM. This GPU is a decent mid-range option that is often found in budget laptops from Acer, but in all those cases it is actually built into the actual laptop.
In all fairness, the new Sony VAIO Z looks fantastic, and just like its predecessors it comes with standard-voltage Core i7 processors and all the other bells and whistles that the Z series is know for plus a backlit keyboard. It is also exceptionally lightweight at just 1.18kg/2.6 pounds. If you are looking for an ultraportable and have money to burn, then the VAIO Z is certainly a viable option, as long as you don’t expect it to perform as well as it used to in the graphics department.
The Sony VAIO Z is available from late July at you local Costington’s.