VAIO Launches New PCs in US
First of all, let me say how wonderful it is to be back on Technigrated after all this time. We here at Technigrated have been working very hard as your first source for the latest technology news, reviews, and analysis.
Now, lets get to the big news – VAIO is back! I can’t even pretend to be impartial about this one folks – I am beyond excited to have VAIO back as the premier high-end PC OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) in America. For years I have been using Sony VAIO PCs, and when Sony sold off the division 2 years ago to Japan Industrial Partners I feared that it was the end of an era.
During the hiatus, there was a vacuum at the high-end of the Windows PC market. The only truly high-end player was Microsoft itself with the Surface Pro 3. HP, Lenovo, Dell, ASUS, Acer, Toshiba, etc. each offered their own top-of-the-line models and configurations, but they are not truly high-end brands. This opening gave Apple even further room to grow as the only luxury computer brand in America, with sales of its MacBook products increasing to its highest levels ever.
Finally last summer VAIO announced it would be returning to the US as its own brand, and its first product would be the VAIO Z Canvas tablet. VAIO made good on that promise in October 2015, offering the Z Canvas through its own website as well as throughout all Microsoft Stores. The Z Canvas, while a niche player, is the most powerful tablet computer we have ever seen. It packs a quad-core laptop-class (not to be confused with the lower-power Ultrabook-class) Intel Core i7, Intel Iris Pro graphics, up to 16 GB RAM, and 1 TB PCI Express SSD storage. Furthermore, it boasts an 12.3″ WQXGA+ (2560 x 1704) touch-screen display which scores a remarkable 95% for the Adobe RGB color spectrum. Its ancillary features include an easel-like kickstand, a keyboard cover (unlike the Surface it does not physically attach with a magnetic connector, it uses Bluetooth instead), an N-Trig digitizer pen, and a full array of ports, including (2x) USB 3.0 ports, a full-size SD Card slot, miniDisplay Port, HDMI, and Ethernet. All of this packaged in a tablet weighing only 2.67 lbs. and measuring 0.54″ thick.
This week, VAIO has begun the next stage in its revival with the introduction of the VAIO Z (flip), VAIO Z, and VAIO S.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the VAIO Z (flip). One of the main complaints with laptops that have a 360 degree hinge mode, such as the HP Envy x360, and Lenovo Yoga, is that the keyboard is exposed on the underside. VAIO has solved this problem by creating the fascinating dual-hinge mechanism pictured above. Instead of simply flipping around, the VAIO Z (flip) has a center hinge so you can flip the screen to face outwards, and then you can close the lid to use it like a tablet, with the keyboard neatly hidden behind the display.
The unique dual-hinge mechanism is not all that makes the VAIO Z (flip) special. It is the first PC in the United States to ship with the laptop-class (28W) 6th generation Intel Core i5 & i7 processors. This distinction is important, because devices like the Surface Book, Dell XPS 13, and HP Spectre x360 all use the Ultrabook-class (15W) processors. Naturally, the Z (flip) has everything else you would expect in a premium machine, with Intel Iris Pro graphics, up to 16 GB RAM, 512 GB PCIe SSD, 13.3″ WQHD (2560×1440) touchscreen display, and the same N-trig digitizer pen as the VAIO Z Canvas. The VAIO Z (flip) starts at $1799 and is scheduled to ship beginning February 26.
Next in the lineup is the VAIO Z. The VAIO Z is ostensibly the same as the VAIO Z (flip) without the dual-hinge mechanism. The VAIO Z is for those who do not have any interest in using their laptop as a tablet, but still want the bleeding-edge technology under the hood. Pricing for the VAIO Z starts at $1499, and VAIO has not yet provided a shipping date. Expect it to arrive sometime in March.
Lastly, the new VAIO S completes the lineup. The VAIO S is billed as the “new standard for business computing.” Like the VAIO Z, it is a 13.3″ clamshell laptop, but VAIO believes it will better suit business users because of its versatility and durability. It is constructed of a magnesium material and the lid is carbon fiber, which allows it to flex if pressure is applied to it. In terms of versatility, it has a full suite of ports, including a VGA port. Apple fans will scoff at the inclusion of such legacy connectors, but Sony knows that most workplace and academic environments still rely on VGA projectors. The VAIO S will ship in March for a starting price of $1099.