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VAIO Z (2021) Review | PCMag




The use of carbon fiber instead of aluminum, magnesium, or plastic is rare, but it’s not unprecedented for ultra-portable laptops. This is, after all, the origin of the Lenovo award-winning ThinkPad X1 Carbon name and part of the popular Dell XPS 13. VAIO pointed out that it pioneered this method with the X505 in 2003, and the company took it to the next level, and in 2021, the flagship product VAIO Z was reborn. Rather than simply incorporating a sheet of material, this 14-inch notebook is made of contoured carbon fiber, reducing weight to 2.34 pounds on a 4K display. The new VAIO Z is also the lightest laptop with an Intel H-series Core i7 CPU, and competitors use low-power U-series chips. Unfortunately, this technology isn’t cheap. The VAIO Z here returns to an astonishing $ 3,579. The equivalent X1 Carbon may be a bit slower, but at a cost of $ 1,700 cheaper, the VAIO Z isn’t recommended unless you’re the wealthiest and mile-surprising content creator.

VAIO has become an independent company separate from Sony’s roots for those who may have lost sight of the brand in recent years. The new VAIO Z, which revived the last seen model name five years ago, may not be the first all-carbon fiber laptop — Gigabyte claimed to be a 11.6-inch X11 in 2012 — but it did. Rigidity when you make the most of the combination of lightweight materials. Not only does this laptop pass the MIL-STD 810H torture test against road hazards such as shock and vibration, it also bends a bit more than if you grab the corner of the screen, but withstands more drop tests than its rivals. The company says. Or mash the keyboard deck.

The sleek black VAIO measures 0.67 x 12.6 x 8.7 inches and fits in your bag or briefcase as easily as the Lenovo X1 Carbon (0.59 x 12.7 x 8.5 inches) or Dell Latitude 7410 (0.7 x 12.7 x 8.2 inches). can do. .. The Asus ExpertBook B9450 undercuts everything at 1.91 lbs, but the hair weighs less than 2.4 lbs of Lenovo and significantly lighter than 3.1 lbs of aluminum-covered Latitude.

Four configurations are available, all with a quad-core, 3.3GHz (5.0GHz turbo) core i7-11375H processor, Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, and a 3,840 x 2,160 pixel non-touch screen. (Core i5 and 1080p models will be available at a later date.) The $ 3,579 test unit features 16GB of RAM and 512GB of PCIe Gen4 solid-state drive. The top $ 4,179 has 32GB of memory and 2TB of drive. Wi-Fi 6 and Windows 10 Pro are standard.

The Z doesn’t have many ports, but unlike some ultra-portables, you can’t connect a USB-C DisplayPort adapter to use an external monitor. On the right side is a deep blue full-size HDMI video output. , Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C ports on both sides, audio jack and security cable lock notch on the left. The compact AC adapter connects to either Thunderbolt port. VAIO adds that laptops can also be recharged slowly from a 5 volt smartphone pack.

Comfortable display and input

According to VAIO, HDR-enabled anti-glare screens cover 99.8% of the DCI-P3 palette. The colors don’t pop out like poster colors, but they are rich and fully saturated. Brightness is sufficient if it is not dazzling. Good contrast, white background, dark black, wide viewing angle. The details look as clear as possible at 4K resolution. The screen opens 180 degrees and lays flat on your desk. Press Fn + 2 to flip the screen image of the person sitting opposite.

The IR webcam on the display features above average 1080p resolution and a sliding privacy shutter. Captures a slightly dark but sharp and colorful image with a little noise and static electricity. A copy of my test unit Windows 10 Pro said that Windows Hello could use fingerprint login as well as facial recognition, but I couldn’t find a fingerprint reader.

Like some Asus notebooks (called “ErgoLift” in Asus), when you open the system, the back of the lid hangs to support the keyboard diagonally. This makes typing on the desk more convenient, but the edges rub the knees. Your knees. The backlit keyboard has a small cursor arrow and top-line escape and delete keys, but it has a crisp typing feel and a comfortable layout. If you don’t have a dedicated Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys, you’ll need to pair the arrows with the Fn key. The right size touchpad has two slim buttons. Slide and click smoothly.

Stereo speakers (two small slits on the front edge) produce a small hollow sound. The volume is good, but the bass is minimal and the overlapping tracks are confusing. Dolby audio software can provide music, movie, game, or audio presets or try out equalizers. You can use the VAIO Control Center utility to adjust not only the battery and keyboard settings, but also the proximity sensor settings that lock the system when you are away.

VAIO Z Benchmark: Nearly record Photoshop performance

In the benchmark chart, the VAIO Z was stacked with four other 14-inch slim lines, from the Dell Latitude 7410 (the only one that matches a 4K screen) to the Asus ExpertBook B9450 and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Only Z boasts Intel H-series CPUs, but Z isn’t the only way to go for processing power. The HPE liteBook 845G7 is equipped with 8-core AMD Ryzen 7 Pro. (IT departments will find that neither Ryzen nor VAIO’s Core i7-11375H has the Intel vPro management capabilities provided by other business notebooks.) The basic specifications can be found in the table below. ..

Productivity and media testing

PCMark 10 and 8 are a comprehensive performance suite developed by UL (formerly Futuremark) PC Benchmark Specialists. The PCMark 10 tests we run simulate a variety of real-world productivity and content creation workflows. Use it to assess system-wide performance for office-centric tasks such as word processing, spreadsheet work, web browsing, and video conferencing. PCMark 8, on the other hand, has a storage subtest that you can use to evaluate the speed of your system’s boot drive. Both generate their own numerical scores. The larger the number, the better. (See details on how to test your laptop.)

The VAIO Z offers excellent productivity and exceeds 4,000 points, which is considered a top score on the PCMark 10. Word and Excel are not a challenge for it. Also, there is no storage test for PCMark 8 today’s high-speed SSDs. The Core i5 Carbon performed well for systems with faster processors. The Expert Book was a minor.

Next is Maxon’s CPU Crunch Cinema Bench R15 test. It is fully threaded to take advantage of all available processor cores and threads. Cinebench stresses the CPU, not the GPU, to render complex images. The result is a unique score that indicates the suitability of the PC for processor-intensive workloads.

Cinebench is often a good predictor of Handbrake video editing benchmarks. In this benchmark, a stopwatch is placed on the system to transcode a short movie from 4K resolution to 1080p. This is also a rigorous test for multi-core, multi-threaded CPUs. The shorter the time, the better.

HP’s 8-core Ryzen Pro dominated these CPU-centric tests, with the VAIO being the next best, but when running hard, you’ll hear a cooling fan. Ultra-portable is usually not needed for video editing or image rendering, but Z can tackle difficult tasks.

It also runs a custom Adobe Photoshop image editing benchmark. Use the early 2018 release of the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop to apply a set of 10 complex filters and effects to standard JPEG test images. Time each task and sum up (the shorter the time, the better). While Photoshop tests are CPU-intensive, storage subsystem, and RAM-intensive, most GPUs can also be used to speed up the filtering process.

VAIO Z posted one of the fastest times recorded on a laptop in this test. Its speed and attractive high-definition screen share the drawback of ThinkPad, which lacks an SD card slot for importing images from a camera card, but it’s a highly mobile Photoshop platform.

Graphic test

3DMark measures relative graphics muscle by rendering a highly detailed game-style sequence of 3D graphics that emphasizes particles and lighting. Run two different 3DMark subtests, SkyDiver and FireStrike. Both are DirectX 11 benchmarks, Sky Diver is good for laptops and midrange PCs, but Fire Strike is more demanding, with high-end PCs and consoles supporting them.

Intel’s 11th generation CPU Iris Xe graphics lag far behind the discrete GPUs of true gaming laptops, but easily outperform the UHD integrated graphics of older chips. VAIO is not the latest single contraction title, but it can handle casual gameplay.

Next is another synthetic graphics test by Unigine Corp. Similar to 3DMark, overlay testing renders and pans detailed 3D scenes. It is rendered by the Unigine engine of the same name for a second opinion on the graphics capabilities of the machine. Shows the result of two overlays running in 720pLow and 1080pHigh presets and reported in frames per second (fps). This shows how smooth the movement of the scene looks. For low-end systems, maintaining at least 30 fps is a realistic goal, but more powerful computers should ideally achieve at least 60 fps at test resolution.

Again, Z is the best in terms of graphics power. No one wants to play the demanding $ 60 game, which is ultra-portable with integrated graphics.

Battery rundown test

After fully recharging the laptop, set the machine to power saving mode (not balanced or high performance mode) if possible, and some other batteries in preparation for an unplugged video rundown test. Make adjustments for savings. (Turn off Wi-Fi and put your laptop in airplane mode.) In this test, we set the screen brightness to 50% and set the volume of the video (stored locally in the Blender Foundation short film Tears of Steel). 720p file) loops. At 100% until the system shuts down.

Although Asus belongs to its own class, all of these lightweight laptops allow you to enjoy streaming entertainment at night in addition to your day’s work or school. VAIO’s stamina was minimal, but given its pixel-filled screen and full-bore H-series processor, battery life isn’t bad at all.

Strong candidate, but low value

The 2020 version of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has won the Editor’s Choice Award for its 14-inch ultra-portable. The VAIO Z has considerable challenges with its 11th generation H-series and 10th-generation U-series processors, but Lenovo’s keyboards are better and are just over half the price.

Elite laptops are luxurious in nature, but the price difference here will calm even the most luxurious buyers. It might be cool to say, “Check out my laptop … it’s all carbon fiber,” but how much is their bragging right worth to you? With shorter business trips and fewer personal interactions between independent businesses, it’s probably not worth the money.

VAIO Z (2021) Specifications Laptop Class Ultra Portable Processor Intel Core i7-11375H Processor Speed ​​3.3GHz RAM (Tested) 16 GB Boot Drive Type SSD Boot Drive Capacity (Tested) 512 GB Screen Size 14 inch Native Display Resolution 3840 x 2160 Touch Screen None Panel Technology IPS Variable Refresh Support None Screen Refresh Rate 60Hz Graphic Processor Intel Iris Xe Graphic Wireless Networking Bluetooth, 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) Dimensions (HWD) 0.67 x 12.6 x 8.7 inch Weight 2.34lbs Operating System Windows 10 Pro Tested Battery life (hours: minutes) 12:41

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