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Vaio surges back into the party with a unique convertible tablet offering

Down but not out, the now almost-independent computer manufacturer Vaio is ready to make a return to the market with a premium convertible tablet offering not unlike the Surface or iPad Pro. The Vaio Z Canvas marks the first system that will be sold in the United States since the brand mostly split from Sony, and packs some premium features into a small space.

Intended for use by creative professionals and artists, the standout feature of the Canvas is its big, beautiful display. The 12.3-inch LCD has a super-high resolution of 2,560 x 1,704, which gives it a PPI of 250. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Vaio claims the screen can render an almost flawless 95 percent of the AdobeRGB spectrum. That rating, if verified in testing, would be in good company with high-end desktop monitors, and well above almost every mobile display we’ve tested. If you need to use your Z Canvas with an external monitor, you can even use it to calibrate the color profile there and on other systems.

The display supports touch, and also includes a stylus that features a number of purpose-built enhancements. Rather than a gap of air between the touch panel and display, the thin space is filled with a special resin that Vaio says improves the writing experience noticeably. The pen has a pair of buttons, one of which opens OneNote with a single press for a quick note, and the other opens a clipping tool to quickly grab a screenshot or blurb of text.

The form factor reflects the Z Canvas’ target audience, with an adjustable kickstand on the main tablet portion of the device to let you position it in whatever configuration works best for you. To assist with that effort, the included keyboard is wireless, so you can change the layout of your entire desk to match your workflow.

It’s no slouch internally, either. The Z Canvas is powered by a quad-core Intel Core i7-4770HQ, a chip with a base clock of 2.2GHz and a Tubo Boost of 3.4GHz. The Haswell generation chip is a bit dated, but should still provide excellent performance, largely due to having a higher 47 Watt TDP and Intel Iris Pro graphics. Paired up with 8 or 16 gigabytes of RAM, the Z Canvas should be quite speedy, and with Windows 10 Signature Edition — indicating minimal third-party software and pre-installed Windows Defender — takes a lead over a lot of products in its category performance-wise.

Vaio didn’t forget about storage. Opting for the latest and greatest in SSD technology, the Z Canvas supports a 256GB SATA drive, or your choice of one or two 512GB PCIe hard drives, which provide measurable speed boosts over traditional SATA drives. For connectivity, the Canvas boasts a pair of USB 3.0 ports, one with improved charging capabilities, full-sized SD card slot, HDMI and Mini DisplayPort (both of which support 4K output), Ethernet, and 3.5mm audio. That’s an impressive set of connections for a mobile device, especially one that’s only .71 inches thick.

Unfortunately, all that power doesn’t come cheap. The most basic, 256GB version of the Vaio Z Canvas will set you back $2,199, and the 1TB PCIe version with 16GB of RAM costs $3,099. If you need a fast performing convertible tablet with a high-end display that has the flexibility to fit your workflow, and have the cash to spend, you can pre-order the Z Canvas now on the Vaio store page.

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Brad Bourque
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brad Bourque is a native Portlander, devout nerd, and craft beer enthusiast. He studied creative writing at Willamette…
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