If you are looking at the Vaio Z, you are a Computer User, a real one–in capital letters. Forget about the child’s play of 2-in-1s, the latest trend toward machines that are all flash and no bang–the Vaio Z is a solid, lightweight ultrabook with unholy power that blows them all out of the water.
For some of us the novelty of separating the screen from your laptop into tablet form is way overrated. We crave power, and the ability to use the computer for more than watching viral videos. For this type of user, a touchscreen laptop is what is needed, not a slightly souped-up Windows-based faux-iPad tablet that happens to have a detachable keyboard.
The Vaio Z is just such a machine–and it is a machine in the best sense of the word: a laptop designed to do it all. A workhorse with a solid chassis and even more solid specs beneath the hood, the Vaio Z has everything you could possibly want: we’re talking Intel Core i7 processing, 8GB of memory, and 256 GB of storage pushing data out through a gorgeous, brilliantly rich 13.3-inch WQHD touchscreen with 2560×1440 resolution that will leave you breathless.
The overall takeaway is that the Vaio Z is undeniably one of the premier ultrabooks out there. Outperforming the Macbook Pro on several fronts, and offering processor speed and ...
13.3 in WQHD LED (2560 x 1440)
Intel Core i7-6567U 3.30 GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 3.60 GHz
8GB LPDDR3 1866 MHz
|Hard drive size||
Windows 10 Pro, 64-bit
Intel HD Audio
Intel Iris Graphics 550 with shared graphics memory
2 USB 3.0 (1 powered) • 1 HDMI • 1 VGA via included HDMI to VGA adapter • Headphone output/Microphone input combo
Lithium-polymer (up to 13 hours, 45 minutes)*
2.58 lbs (1.17 kg)
The brushed aluminum-carbon casing is solid yet light, showing almost zero flex, sturdy enough to withstand the commute and dashing from meeting to meeting, but light enough to do so without breaking your back. And with two USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader, HDMI port as well as an HDMI to VGA adapter included, along with a combo headphone and microphone jack, virtually any professional will be set up for success if they rock this baby at the next meeting or conference.
This is not the machine you give to grandma to write emails and look at pictures of the grandkids.
Sleek and smooth, like a shark knifing through the waters of the modern office, the Vaio Z is deceptively minimalist at first glance. The aluminum-carbon top case is tough yet light, with no flex and plenty of beef in a lightweight package. The brilliant touchscreen is surrounded by the smallest of black bezels, and the carbon bottom is equally sturdy, holding aloft a black keyboard with chiclet-style keys.
In designing a machine for professionals, Vaio paid attention not only to looks, but also to the guts of the Vaio Z. Boasting a far from standard Intel i7 processor and an equally high-end 8GB of memory backing a fat 256 GB SSD storage, the Vaio Z is not just another pretty face. This is a premium laptop that many have compared favorably to the Macbook Air, and not just because of its sleek look and aluminum case.
Weighing in at a mere 2.56 pounds and measuring 12.76 x 8.48 x 0.66 inches, this laptop is easily transportable. The Macbook Pro is almost a full pound heavier while measuring approximately the same dimensions. And take heart, laptop lovers: the Vaio Z Flip, Vaio’s latest entrant into the burgeoning hybrid market weighs even more, nearly a half pound.
The Vaio Z also comes with plenty of ports for any reasonable user, with an HDMI port, an SD card slot, two USB 3.0 ports and a headphone/microphone jack, all nicely spread out on both sides of the chassis.back to menu ↑
The most eye-popping feature of the Vaio Z has to be the display, near-13-inch screen that is breathtaking with its WQHD LED display resolution of 2560 x 1440.
But the machine is lightning fast too. It’s about time someone started making laptops with a base of 8GB of memory–the difference for the user, especially in tandem with an SSD is hard to imagine until you’ve taken the Vaio Z for a test drive.
And with the Intel Core i7 processor running the show, the Vaio Z is right up there with the best the premium ultrabook market has to offer. In fact, several benchmark tests rated it as the number one machine on the market right now.
Another nice touch and one that is often overlooked by designers is that the Vaio Z team has come up with a much quieter keyboard than you find on most laptops. It makes for a much less intrusive workaholic experience for your seatmate on a plane, or for your significant other if you are working late into the night.
- The pros are obviously the speed and multitasking ability of the Vaio Z, exactly the sort of thing you want a laptop like this for. Also a huge plus is the incredible display and onboard Intel Iris graphics package, which allows for an amazingly rich and vibrant user experience. The 13.3-inch WQHD display featuring a matte screen with its 2560×1440 resolution is stunning in its lush colors and motion. In these days of smaller and smaller notebooks, it is a refreshing change to realize how good movies and other graphics look on a full-size screen.
- It is difficult to find fault with the Vaio Z, unless you are that type of cranky critic who simply must find some reason to naysay everything. That said, some reviewers were unimpressed with the Vaio Z’s chiclet-style keyboard, citing the short travel of 1.04 mm. But to call this a dealbreaker is frankly asinine. Every laptop types differently from every other, and anytime you get a new one it takes time to adjust.
Durability and Security
The Vaio Z is encased in a solid yet light aluminum-carbon case that is sturdy and feels substantial while retaining a feather-light weight. It is truly a masterwork of design, given that it is so solid yet weighs in nearly a pound lighter than the Macbook Pro.back to menu ↑
The backlit keyboard is a chiclet-style set with a proprietary anti-smudge coating on the key faces that is not unpleasant to the touch. As mentioned before, some have complained that the key travel is inadequate at 1.04 mm, but this is truly a quibble once you try it for yourself.
The trackpad has a pleasant roughness to its surface that allows for a firmer point of contact between your fingers and the pad. It proved responsive and accurate.back to menu ↑
Display and Audio
Again, you simply can’t say enough about the display on the Vaio Z. The WQHD 2560×1440 resolution is gorgeous and stunning, with a brightness that destroys the competition. One test found the Vaio Z registered 548 nits on a light meter test, in contrast with the Macbook Pro’s 389. It also covered 116 percent of the sRGB color space, as compared with 91 percent for the Macbook Pro and 104 percent for the ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
And the engineers didn’t skimp on the audio portion of the program either. Its sound can easily fill a room, delivering crisp highs and a decent low end too, especially for an ultrabook.back to menu ↑
Ports and Webcam
The Vaio Z comes with no shortage of ports, bearing a left-side HDMI port and audio jack, and two USB 3.0 ports on the right, one powered. It also comes standard with a HDMI to VGA adapter for presentations and etc.
Comes with a basic 1MP webcam.back to menu ↑
Running on the Intel Core i5 or i7 processor means the Vaio Z stands tall against the fastest ultrabooks on the market. One benchmark test of overall processor performance had it come in at 7,252, edging out the Macbook Pro at 7,113. operating along with 8GB of memory and a 256 GB SSD, the Vaio Z can perform tons of tasks simultaneously before showing any sign of lag.back to menu ↑
The onboard Intel Iris 550 graphics are stunning and sharp. The Vaio Z scored a breathtaking 98,256 on one graphics benchmark test, nearly doubling the category average of about 45,000. This may not be a gaming laptop per se, but it packs enough power and speed to hold its own on all but the most resource-intensive programs.back to menu ↑
Running that big old processor means taking lots of juice, and the designers at Vaio have come up with a battery that is up to the task of keeping the machine chugging along even without a power source. Vaio claims that the battery clocks in at over 13 hours; others tested it at over 11 hours. Either way, the Vaio Z ranks among the longest-lived laptop batteries out there.
From category: VAIOback to menu ↑
Software and Warranty
Running on Windows 10, there is a refreshing dearth of third-party software bundled with the Vaio Z, thankfully. It features a one-month trial of Microsoft Office and little else. It also comes with the Vaio Z Control Center, used to adjust the computer’s settings, and proprietary screenshot/clipping tool.
The warranty is a standard a one-year limited hardware warranty covering parts and labor. You can buy an extra two years of coverage for $199.back to menu ↑
The overall takeaway is that the Vaio Z is undeniably one of the premier ultrabooks out there. Outperforming the Macbook Pro on several fronts, and offering processor speed and memory that is double what most laptops have, the Vaio Z is a formidable entry into the market of premium laptops. Add to that the brilliant and lush 2560×1440 resolution display and what you get with the Vaio Z is a clear home run.
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I have to say, this is the best and most powerful 13” laptop I ever owned, and I owned quite a few of various brands over the years