Sony Vaio Z Laptop & ‘Thunderbolt’: MacBook Air Rival Due July

Since Apple began using Intel’s Light Peak (named as Thunderbolt for Apple) technology back in February with the MacBook Pro refresh many of us have wondered when we would see the first non-Apple notebooks using Light Peak. Wonder no more and let me introduce you to the Sony Vaio Z laptop.

The Vaio Z was revealed today and will be a rival for Apple’s MacBook Air line of ultra-portable laptops, which are due for a refresh imminently. The Vaio Z is lightweight at only 2.6 pounds and only 0.86 inches thick, has a 13.1-inch display with 1600×900 resolution, up to Intel Core i7 processors and up to 256GB of SSD RAID storage with a Quick Boot feature. Sony has altered the position of the optical drive and dedicated graphics to reduce the size of the laptop and instead has moved them to what it calls the Power Media Dock, an external box.

Sony is not playing on the Thunderbolt or Light Peak connection, choosing instead to use the Power Media Dock instead of Apple’s solution of the Mini DisplayPort, however this uses the same technology. According to Josh Ong on Apple Insider, the Power Media Box, as well as housing a Blu-Ray optical drive and AMD Radeon graphics, also includes an ethernet port, extra USB ports and both HDMI and VGA outputs. Sony plans to release the Vaio Z in July for Europe and it’s expected to also become available in the U.S. although there is no timescale available yet.

More details on the Vaio Z are available from Richard Lawler over on Engadget, sourced from Sony, who adds that it has a 8GB of RAM, a 2.7GHz Core i7 processor and sheet battery. Engadget also has price details from the Sony UK website where you can order your configured Vaio Z. Pricing starts at £1,434 ($2,294) for a Core i5 CPU with 4GB of RAM but that’s without the PMD which costs an extra £400 ($6400) and no optical drive included.

We’d be interested to hear your first impressions on the Sony Vaio Z series and the Light Peak or ‘Thunderbolt’ technology for its Power Media Dock? Let us have your comments on this.