PC maker Vaio Corp. just took the covers off two new machines: the Vaio Z and the Vaio S. But some industry watchers are concerned the price is too high for the appetites of most business users.
The Vaio Z comes in two form factors. The 2-in-1 convertible, or flip, model (pictured above) starts at $1,799. The clamshell model starts at $1,499. At the low end, the Vaio S will cost you about $1,100. All three machines are aimed at mobile business professionals looking to drive productivity.
“Business professionals need long battery life and portability without sacrificing power or performance, so they can work on-the-go without slowing down,” said Ryosuke Akahane, executive vice president of Vaio, in a statement. Akahane said that although the new Vaio machines answer the demand, the price may be too high for most consumers.
Who’s Buying VAIOs?
Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, was taken aback by the upper end of the price range on the new PCs. His initial reaction: Vaio is dreaming.
“First all, Vaio is kind of a resurrection of the Sony brand,” Kay said. “Sony got out of that business and somebody thought it was a good idea to take the Vaio branding, which still has some luster, and try to continue on. The market has just become brutal.”
Kay told us he was chatting with a vendor yesterday who said laptop makers can sell machines priced above $1,500 if they have “very high-end configurations” -- but only to a small group of users who want the best and have the money to buy it.
Is Vaio Dreaming?
Vaio said that it’s new notebooks ease pain points for business executives. The machines include features like long battery life -- nearly 16 hours on the clamshell model -- multiple ports, and low weight.
The Vaio Z notebooks are less than three pounds and sport Intel’s sixth-generation 28W Skylake processor. The flip model comes with a 13.3-inch display and the clamshell model comes with a 13.3-inch display. If users want built-in cameras, the flip model has them covered and also offers a pressure sensitive digitizer stylus. The Vaio S also has a 13.3-inch display.
“These Vaios are very good for workstation-type tasks, like designing and printing. It’s similar to Apple’s market. Apple has done better than any vendor [going] winning the high-end market and the company does address a huge proportion of that market over $1,500,” Kay said. "The Vaio machines are a resurrection of an also-ran brand taking a premium strategy that requires some sort of reputation for people to even consider it. I just feel like they are dreaming.”
The VAIO Z flip model will be available for order starting February 8 and the Vaio S and Vaio Z clamshell model starting in early March.
Image Credit: Photo of Vaio Z flip, via Business Wire.