Sony Vaio Z: The thinner, lighter, Thunderbolt friendly Apple MacBook Air alternative

Sony has announced the launch of a new 13-inch Sony Vaio laptop, the Sony Vaio Z, that is thinner and lighter than the current Apple Macbook Air, but will cost almost twice the price; £2,699.

Well and truly taking the fight to Apple, the new Sony model will weigh just 1.18 kg (compared to 1.32 kg for the same sized MacBook Air) and be just 16.65mm thin (compared to 17mm). The complete dimensions are Approx. 210 x 16.65 x 330mm.

Sony has also managed to fit the Vaio Z with a backlit keyboard, something that the MacBook Air doesn’t currently offer (it’s rumoured a new model is due any day now).

“On-the-go usability is enhanced further by the backlit keyboard with extra-wide palm rest and ergonomic new ‘button-less’ touchpad,” says Sony, adding: “With a resolution of 1600x900, the 13.1-inch VAIO Display Premium features an anti-reflective coating that cuts glare from direct light sources and ensures crisp colour reproduction.”

Those happy to splash the cash will get an Intel Core i7-2620M 2.70GHz (with Turbo Boost up to 3.40GHz), 8GB of DDR3 SDRAM, and up to 256GB SSD RAID storage tucked away in it’s ultra thin casing.

As with previous Sony laptops, the model will feature Quick Boot that promises to saves precious time when you’re in a hurry, loading Windows 7 Professional up to 50 per cent quicker than conventional notebooks.

Embedded VAIO 'everywair' 3G WWAN on selected models connects via your mobile broadband operator. It will also have a biometric sensor to log in and unlock. 

Those worried that the new thin size means they lose battery life, or a DVD drive and other input and connectivity options shouldn’t. Sony is one step ahead of your concerns and has created the “Power Media Dock” and “Sheet Battery” ready to be snapped up as optional extras.

The Power Media Dock is described by Sony as a “monolithic expansion module” an brings with it Thunderbolt connectivity (labelled by its original name Light Peak), HDMI and VGA connectivity to connect up to four displays, and 1GB of RAM extra graphics courtesy of AMD to boost overall graphics performance. It also comes with a DVD or Blu-ray drive.

The Sheet Battery, as the name suggests, is a battery that you can place under the main chassis of the laptop giving you a further 7 hours in addition to the Sony Vaio Z’s already impressive 7 hour battery giving you 14 hours in total.

There’s a HD web camera powered by Exmor technology for video chat and those that really want to push the boat out can opt for the optional Full HD (1920 x 1080) LCD screen.

The new 2011 VAIO Z Series of ultra-portable performance notebook PCs is available from the end of July 2011 and cost over £1300 more than Apple's top of the line MacBook Air model.



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