Vaio laptops are back. Well, sort of. The brand is no longer owned by Sony, but it’s back with a comeback flagship laptop, the Vaio Z.
It’s unlikely to gain back the attention that the Sony Vaio laptops of the late 1990s enjoyed, but the Vaio Z has just enough weirdness to make it an interesting successor to the brand’s legacy.
Vaio boast about the “world’s first three-dimensional molded full carbon body design,” which might be overselling it a bit. But the design really is unique. Vaio says it uses stacked layers of carbon fiber sheets to ensure the rigidity of the chassis. The result is something quite different than the average aluminum laptop.
The laptop lid also features an interesting cut near the hinge that really makes it stand out. You won’t be confusing the Vaio for a MacBook or a ThinkPad anytime soon.
The processor Vaio has chosen for the laptop is just plain odd. The 35H chips were announced last month at CES by Intel, but they were primarily made with ultrathin gaming laptops in mind, such as the Predator Triton 300 SE. In such laptops, the 11th-gen 35-watt chip would be paired with an Nvidia RTX 3060 for decent 1080p gaming in a surprisingly sleek form factor.
The Vaio Z is no gaming laptop, though. It relies only on the integrated Intel Xe graphics. The result is a very powerful processor without a graphics card to match, which may leave gamers and content creators scratching their heads.
But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a bit more performance under the hood, right? That’s always appreciated, especially when the Vaio Z doesn’t sacrifice anything in the way of mobility. It’s just 2.3 pounds and 0.67 inches thick. The only compromise is the airflow solution. The Vaio Z sits up at an extreme angle when open, and the sides include some aggressive vents.
Mark this one down as another head-scratcher: The laptop uses an old-school touchpad that includes dedicated left-click and right-click buttons below. Even weirder? The touchpad itself doesn’t click. We haven’t seen laptops like that in many years.
The port selection is also quite unique. The two Thunderbolt 4 ports are nothing new, but the Vaio Z also includes an HDMI port. It’s a port many people still wish they had on their laptops, but it’s inclusion here without other ports such as USB-A is unheard of.
The Vaio was known for its sky-high prices back in the day, and that’s one part of the legacy that’s stayed intact. This laptop starts at $3,579. That’s right — that’s the base configuration. From there, you can add in 32GB of RAM and 2TB of storage if you want to spend upward of $4,179.
All models come with a 14-inch 4K screen, but still, you can buy two MacBook Pros for that price.
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