Sony's Super-Slim VAIO Z MacBook Air Challenger Now Available

Sony's much-anticipated VAIO Z series laptops are finally available for purchase. Boasting a thinner profile than Apple's MacBook Air, and the dubious title of "world's lightest 13-inch standard voltage PC," the VAIO Z series packs some impressive hardware specs and comes at a premium price.

The aluminum-and-carbon-fiber laptop is just 0.66 inches thick and weighs 2.5 pounds--that's slightly thinner than the MacBook Air and one fifth of a pound heavier. But the Sony VAIO Z has something the MacBook Air does not have (and will likely not have, even after the anticipated refresh): the ability to transform, via an optional dock, into a more powerful workstation.

VAIO Z Specs (Click to Zoom)
The Power Media Dock gives the VAIO Z acces to an AMD Radeon HD graphics card with 1GB of dedicated video RAM--four times that of the current MacBook Air--a Blu-ray disc drive, three USB ports, and support for up to four HD displays. The dock, which was unveiled in Europe late last month, also incorporates technology that Apple pioneered: Intel's Light Peak technology, a.k.a. Thunderbolt.

Even without the dock, the Z series boasts some high-end features, such as two HD display options (1920 by 1080 pixels, and 1600 by 900 pixels) and dual-channel SSD with RAID on select models. The Z series also gives you the option of doubling the 8-hour battery life with an extra battery slice. VAIO Z Series models are available with second generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

All of this comes at a price, of course (you can't make a laptop out of race car material without incurring some costs): about $2000, which is several hundred dollars more than Apple's current 13-inch MacBook Air. It looks like Sony is attempting to steal the ultra-premium, ultraportable title away from both Apple and Samsung--whose Series 9 laptopv

is currently the reigning Windows challenger in the category.

Follow Melanie Pinola (@melaniepinola) and Today@PCWorld on Twitter

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.