The Vaio Z's mix of powerful performance and portability is hard to match. It also provides long battery life and a bright 13.3-inch display. Unfortunately, its flat, mushy keyboard makes it a questionable pick for serious work – especially considering the system's steep $1,499 starting price.
Commuters and frequent travelers will appreciate the system's ultraportable design, though. Weighing in at 2.56 lbs., it's a whole lot lighter than Apple's 3.5-lb. MacBook Pro. It's even lighter than Lenovo's super-lightweight ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which weighs 2.6 lbs. but has a larger 14-inch display.
And while lightweight systems often feel cheap, the Vaio Z's premium aluminum design is sturdy and sleek. Other hardware highlights include a full-power 2.9-GHz Intel Core i5-6267U processor with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage. That configuration provides powerful performance that's a few ticks ahead of what the MacBook Pro and ThinkPad X1 Carbon have to offer.
We were also impressed by the Vaio Z's long battery life, which will easily last through the end of the workday and beyond. The system ran for 11 hours and 42 minutes on our battery test, which simulates continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi. That blows past the category average of 8:11, and it easily beats the X1 Carbon's mark of 9:06. The MacBook Pro is the best of the bunch, though, running for 12 hours and 4 minutes on the same battery test.
Unfortunately, the Vaio Z's second-rate keyboard brings the whole system down a peg. You get a pitiful 1.04 millimeters of key travel, far less than the 1.5mm we look for in a work laptop. The short key travel makes typing less comfortable, and increases the likelihood of typos as you "bottom out" on each key stroke.
Check back soon for a full review of the new Vaio Z, or check out our picks for the best business laptops currently on the market.