Can The New Vaio Z Flip Hybrid Take On Microsoft Surface Book And Surface Pro 4?

Ever since Microsoft found major success with the Surface Pro 3 (and now, Surface Pro 4), other companies have tried to match the success and have failed. The new VAIO Z is the latest to try and take the crown away from Microsoft. Engadget has the news.

“As ever, the Z is a halo product, one that puts an emphasis on both thinness and performance. All told, it weighs just 2.9 pounds — not bad considering it packs both a 13-inch 2,560 x 1,440 touchscreen and a 28-watt Core i5 or i7 processor.”

Engadget adds that the 13-inch VAIO Z isn’t like the other Windows 10 hybrids, in that instead of using a 360-degree hinge to flip the touchscreen into tablet mode, the Z allows the screen to flip over the panel. The VAIO Z also as an 11.5-hour battery life (though that hasn’t been tested), comes with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM, and has either a 256GB or 512GB SSD.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4
The Surface Pro 4 has a smaller screen, but it has a higher pixel density than the new VAIO Z. [Photo by Daryl Deino]
This all sounds good in writing, but the 2,560 x 1,440 touchscreen sounds problematic, especially when the Surface Pro 4 has a smaller 12.3-inch screen with a 2736 x 1824 pixel resolution. The price tag, which starts off at $1,799, sounds ridiculous, as well.

VAIO laptops, which used to be made by Sony, are iconic. Before MacBooks became popular, seeing somebody use a VAIO was like seeing somebody drive a Mercedes Benz. VAIO laptops were always more expensive, but have always been built with premium materials, outstanding keyboards, and various connectivity options. The VAIO Z series in the 2000s is the most iconic.

The VAIO Z series, which used to be made by Sony, is iconic. [Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images]
Right before the Surface Pro 4 came out, Microsoft released the VAIO Z Canvas, which has a 12.3-inch IPS screen with a 2560 x 1704 pixel resolution and comes with a Bluetooth keyboard. Just like the new Surface devices, it has a 3:2 aspect ratio. The “cheapest” model has an Intel i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB solid-state drive. It also costs $2,199.

The VAIO Z canvas has received a lot of criticism for coming with an Intel 4th generation Haswell processor, rather than the new 6th generation Skylake processor. VAIO’s new laptop hybrid has received a lot of mixed reviews. Winbeta‘s Rick Rodriguez was especially disappointed with the pen capabilities.

“I’d say my reaction to the pen performance is lukewarm. It wasn’t bad by any means; it just didn’t feel special. In fact, it felt familiar, bearing many of the niggling problems of other current generation N-Trig devices.”

While the VAIO Z Canvas is meant more for artists, the new VAIO Z is definitely aimed towards those who would buy the Surface Pro 4 or even the Surface Book. If people don’t mind the lower-resolution screen, it could be a decent alternative, especially since both the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book have been riddled with problems.

Microsoft has offered firmware updates for both of these products. The problems aren’t affecting the Surface Pro 4 as much as they are the more expensive Surface Book, which — according to some — is practically unusable. Microsoft may want to fix these problems soon as people may buy the new VAIO Z, which hits stores later this week, instead.

[Photo via Daryl Deino]

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