Sony has launched the new Vaio Z2 notebook, a 13.1-inch ultrabook with a breath-takingly sharp 1080p display and a second battery pack which can double mains-free runtime. There’s also an external dock box which gives users an optical drive and enhanced connectivity, as well as a dedicated GPU to cut through those pixel-crunching chores when the ultrabook is in multimedia or gaming mode.
Sony has clearly made sure that the various shortcomings of the standard ultrabook format are all addressed. The last generation of Sony Vaio Z Series notebooks also crammed optical drives and GPUs into the main case, but the need to constrain the notebooks dimensions to fit in with the ultrabook specs has necessitated these extra features to be externalized.
Technically the full-power processor in the Z2 disqualifies it as an Ultrabook (going by Intel’s trademark stipulations) as does the starting price of over $1600, but for all that it’s a fabulously slender and powerful machine.
Processor-wise Sony have stuck a hyper-threaded dual core i7-2620M inside, with a base clock of 2.7GHz, boostable to 3.4GHz with 4GB 1333Mhz DDR3 RAM. For onboard graphical work there’s Intel’s capable HD 3000 integrated graphics, but when you need extra graphical power the 1GB AMD Radeon HD 6650M card can be hooked up via the dock.
The Vaio Z2 has a 13.1-inch (16:9 ratio) display of the matte variety, so outdoor use isn’t a problem. The Vaio Z2 measures 13 x 8.3 x 0.7 inches and weighs 2.57 pounds.
For added snappiness Sony have rigged up two 128GB SSDs in RAID 0 configuration WiFi and Bluetooth are included on the main shell, with an Ethernet cable jack on the external dock. There’s a USB-3 port as well as the usual pair of USB-2 sockets found amongst ultrabooks.
Prices start at $1649, though the model detailed here costs $2499. The Sony Vaio Z2 is clearly aimed at the premium ultraportable market. Sony’s use of a full-wattage CPU and dual SSDs mean this will cruise through most benchmarks.
The connectors to the two RAIDed drives are of the 3GB/s type, while theoretically the chipset supports two 6GB/s throughputs, which means the advantage of two separate drives is questionable. Also the RAM is soldered to the motherboard, so upgrading is not possible – users will have to stick with whatever comes on their version of the Z2. The base model of the Sony Vaio Z2 brings a 1600 x 900 pixel display, but it’s nevertheless a fine display, with vibrant colours and deep blacks for a great contrast ratio.
The external ‘Power Media Dock’ brings full multimedia capability to the Z2, and the 1GB discrete graphics card inside can be used with the Vaio Z2′s screen itself, rather than needing to be hooked up to an external monitor, as is often the case with docks offering GPUs. The standard dock features a DVD rewriter, but can be upgraded for a Blu-ray reader or writer if desired.
The Sony Vaio Z2 is a mighty powerful take on the ultraportable format, and while it has very few if any weak points, its high price reflects it’s premium status. Amazon has
Sony VAIO Z2 for $1629.
Check out these Sony Vaio Z2 pictures:
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