We test the super luxurious $4000 Vaio Z laptop and it is definitely... something
Office users looking for a portable high-end laptop might consider the venerable Apple MacBook or HP EliteBook series. At least one company, however, dares to be even better with the guts to charge two times the price of most Apple or HP products.
Japanese manufacturer Vaio just launched its Vaio Z clamshell for North American users with SKUs retailing in the $3500 to $4200 USD range. The makers of the prestige laptop recently gave us a chance to test a configuration firsthand, but we can't say we're blown away by what it is offering as many aspects of the system are weaker than what you'd find on cheaper Dell, HP, Lenovo, or Apple models.
Examples include the teetering hinges of the Vaio which are nowhere near as rigid as the hinges on most other high-end laptops. The base has audible creaking even when simply lifting and closing the lid. Meanwhile, the display maxes out at about 376 nits to be noticeably dimmer than the displays on the Dell XPS 13 and certain 1000-nit HP EliteBooks for poorer outdoor visibility. The bottom panel is difficult to remove for simple SSD upgrades. Battery recharge rate is extremely slow at 3.5 hours compared to 1.5 to 2 hours on other laptops. The system lacks an SD reader, USB-A, touchscreen, fingerprint reader, and 4G options in North America. For a $4000 laptop, it's not unreasonable to expect many of these features to outperform or at least match the top-end models from competitors.
On the plus side, the high performance of the system is impressive especially in relation to its very low weight of about 1 kg. You're not going to find another 14-inch laptop that is both as light and as fast as the Vaio Z at the time of writing. This is, after all, the lightest 14-inch laptop with a Core H-series CPU. Unfortunately, the system has prioritized weight so much so that it falls flat in most other areas where alternatives from Dell, HP, Apple, and others often come out on top for just a fraction of the price.
See our review on the Vaio Z here.