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Forget MacBook Pro M1 — the world's first ‘3D molded carbon fiber’ laptop is here

vaio z news
(Image credit: VAIO)

VAIO has unveiled the world’s first 3D molded carbon fiber laptop, the VAIO Z, aimed at mixing powerful specs in a rugged yet sleek package. 

Created to compete with Apple’s MacBook Pro M1, the VAIO Z comes packing the latest Intel Tiger Lake processors and bountiful storage. But be prepared to pay a fair bit for this carbon fiber-swaddled machine. 

This isn’t the first laptop from VAIO to use carbon fiber. But previous efforts mixed in metallic and plastic parts, whereas the VAIO Z is fully 3D molded with each piece of the laptop’s shell being made of the tough material. 

This technology was co-developed alongside carbon fiber specialists Toray, and VAIO is so confident in the laptop’s durability that it put the device through a series of grueling drop tests. The VAIO Z came away pretty unscathed, surviving a 4ft drop with no signs of damage. 

It’s not just the laptop’s rugged casing that's impressive. Spec-wise the laptop is also pretty powerful. The VAIO Z packs an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with the integrated Iris XE GPU, up to 32GB or RAM, and an SSD that ranges from 512GB to 2TB depending on the model.

The display sports a 14-inch 4K LCD panel, and VAIO claims you should get around 10 hours of use out of a single battery charge. And it all comes in a lightweight package with the VAIO Z weighing just under 2.3lbs.

Other nifty features include a camera privacy shutter, though with Window Hello instant sign in support you might want to keep the lens uncovered, and an increased 1.5mm key pitch stroke.

It’s not without its drawbacks though. Firstly the AIO Z is a little light on ports only offering two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 connections, an HDMI port, a headphone jack, and a security lock, though that's more than the MacBook Pro and Dell XPS 13

Secondly, the price can best be described as eye-watering. Starting from $3,579 and going up to $4,179 for the highest specced model, the VAIO Z is never going to be classed as an impulse purchase.

Considering you can pick up a MacBook Pro M1 for around $1,200, it feels like a fairly uncompetitive price. But then you're getting a lot of carbon fiber rather than aluminum. If you're sold, VAIO is currently taking pre-orders for delivery later this year.

If however, you want something a little more affordable, we have a roundup of the best laptops you can buy right here.

Rory is a staff writer at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics including tech news, deals, gaming, streaming and more. When he’s not writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found watching a borderline unhealthy amount of movies and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.