VAIO Z Series laptops reborn with 3D carbon fiber to take on MacBook Air

The VAIO Z series ultraportable notebooks are returning and while they may not have Sony branding any more, the focus on sleek design and a premium price tag are certainly being kept. Built using what VAIO Corporation says is the world's first "three-dimensional molded full carbon body," it means a sub-2.3 pound weight but no shortage on power.

Like regular carbon fiber, the new VAIO Z uses layers of fiber sheets laid atop each other to build up a thicker, stronger form. What the company is doing here, though, is stacking the sheets in three dimensions, adding curves and contours to avoid joins and shut-lines in the final design.

The result is a hinge that opens 180-degrees, which VAIO says can be opened and closed with one hand without having to hold down the touchpad in the process. A new keyboard design promises to be quieter, and increase keystrokes from 1.2 mm to 1.5 mm, while the VAIO Z elevates it to an angle when opened for more comfortable typing. There's also a new keyboard backlight.

For power, meanwhile, there's the 11th Generation Intel Core i7-11375H from Intel's H Series, running at 3.3 GHz or up to 5GHz with Turbo Boost, with Intel Iris Xe graphics and either 16GB or 32GB of LPDDR4 4266 MHz RAM. Storage is either a 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB PCIe SSD. The display is a 14-inch 4K 3840 x 2160 panel, though it's worth noting that it's not a touchscreen.

While ultraportables typically aren't known for their blistering speed, VAIO says the new Z should still be able to power up to two external 4K displays. They'll can plug in via the two USB Type-C Thunderbolt ports, one on each side. The same ports support charging, with VAIO slimming down its AC adapter as well, and there's an HDMI port too.

There's a motion sensor, which can wake the laptop up when you sit down in front of it, and facial recognition using Windows Hello to log you in. Alternatively, there's a camera privacy shutter to slide across the 2-megapixel sensor if you'd prefer. Wireless connectivity includes WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1, and VAIO says the skinny notebook should last for up to 10 hours on a charge.

Just like the original Z Series when Sony was at the helm, these new ultraportable laptops don't come cheap. The VAIO Z range kicks off at $3,579, running all the way up to $4,179 for the flagship spec. They're available to preorder now.