Sony's revamped premium ultraportable notebook has finally washed up on American shores. Arriving just ahead of Apple's long-anticipated MacBook Air refresh, Sony's latest creation is more compact than most thin-and-light machines while leveraging an external dock to deliver performance that would make the existing competition drool with envy. The notebook's aluminum and carbon fiber chassis measures 0.66 inches thick, weighs 2.5 pounds, and houses your pick of a second-generation standard voltage Intel Core i5 or i7 processor with Turbo Boost clocks up to 3.40GHz.
You'll also find a 13.1-inch 1600x900 or 1920x1080 display, 4-8GB of RAM, and dual 128GB, 256GB or 512GB SSDs in RAID 0. The standard configuration ships with a single 4000mAh battery that offers up to eight hours of life and that can be doubled with an optional 4400mAh sheet battery. There's no shortage of connectivity with SD and Memory Stick Pro Duo slots, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, WWAN, Bluetooth + EDR, Intel WiDi, HDMI and VGA-out, and one USB 2.0 port. Other noteworthy specs include a backlit 83-key keyboard, a multi-touch touchpad, as well as an HD webcam.
While the notebook is impressive in its own right, the VAIO Z's "Power Media Dock" sweetens the package by adding more horsepower and connectivity. The included dock features an AMD Radeon HD 6650M 1GB graphics card, a slot-loading DVD or Blu-ray drive, two more USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port, as well as another HDMI and VGA output (meaning you can drive up to four separate displays between the notebook and dock's video outputs). Sony's US pricing kicks off just shy of $2,000 ($1969.99 to be precise) and skyrockets beyond $4,000 with higher-end configurations.