Sony VAIO Z series purchase


Sep 10, 2012
Dear Friends,

I am looking to replace my 5 year old Sony VAIO Z series with the latest model. If anyone has personal/professional experience with the Z series your help is greatly appreciated.

1. Does anyone know what Sony's refresh cycle is like? I know they updated their Z series line in June of this year so safe to assume nothing major is coming. Also i would like to avoid getting a new laptop shipped with Windows 8. Not for me.

2. The prices of SSD. I am considering customising and getting the 256GB upgraded to 512GB. However the extra 256GB of memory is coming to $800. I am happy to save this $800 and buying a 512SSD drive later (much cheaper on amazon) and installing it myself. Any known issues I should be aware of with this idea?

3. Are there any viable alternative laptops out there I could consider for this price bracket?

Thank you


Oct 3, 2012

I would personally think twice or atleast take precautions like extended warranty before laying my hands on another Z series. I own the earlier version of Z series which came out in 2010 (VPCZ126GG). Before I actually bought the Vaio, I had to cut down all my expenses 6 months prior to that so that I can afford AU$3,300 for a machine that had a stimulant effect on my whole body. And finally that day came when I walked out of the store with the top of line Z series. I took so much pride owning the Z series, it felt like as if I own the NASA's supercomputer.

At the time of purchase since I had already emptied my bank paying for the laptop and its accessories, I simply didn't have any money for addtional extended warranty. And also to some extent I thought with such a strong build quality of the Z series (which is still made in Japan) I probably don't need to worry about its warranty at all. Boy! I was wrong.....

After about 3 months of expiring my standard 1 year warranty, one day I noticed vertical black lines with shadows on my screen, which at first just used to appear randomly, before going full blank. I honestly could not believe the worst nightmare is just around the corner. So struggling to cope up with the shock, I bought an external monitor to connect with it. Just few days of using it with an external LED monitor, one day I swtiched on the laptop and it simply wasn't booting. It would power up, backlit keyboard would light up, I can hear the SSD spinning too for a few minutes. I simply felt like jumping off a building, because by then the warranty expired, I relocated to another country where they don't have any authorized centres to fix Z series. So I went to a gadget geek friend of mine whose heart was also missing a bit while he took it apart. He had a look at the heat sinks, SSD, ribbons which connects the LCD. After carefully inspecting all the possible parts, his findings were 1. LCD needs replacing 2. nVidia graphics chip set is also not working as it should be. I took two more expert opinions who also had the same suspicion. It would still power up and run fine whenever it used to feel like. So on my next overseas trip to Singapore, I took it Sony centre, and they also seem to agree with what my friends told me and ofcourse they can fix it, and it is 'ONLY' going to cost $950 to get it fixed. WTH??? Nine hundred and fifty dollar??? Are they crazy?? I could buy a brand new laptop with the same amount.

So now I am stuck with $3000+ laptop which needs $950 worth of fixing. I can't just throw it away because Z series is/was like my first love and trying to sell it may even bring more disappointments because I probably won't get $300 for it even.

I emailed Sony few times, and everytime they replied with the addresses of their service centre closest to my city.

Even though Z series is aimed for a premium segment, and Sony will treat you like a premium customer only during your warranty period, and after that you are on your own even if buy their most expensive Z series with maximum configurations (which could easily set you back $4000).

The whole purpose of spending all my bucks for a single laptop, was the satisfaction that I am buying the most premium laptop which I expected to either outperforn and outlive all the other laptops, and at least Sony should take the effort of providing a sensible solution.

So gone are my loyalty and royalty with Sony Vaio. I am again saving some money for another laptop, but it is definitely not going to be a Z series (my case is not unique, it is quite common in some of the Z series). I am looking at Macbook Air which has far superior customer service policies.

Sony doesn't seem to care what happens to their product after their warranty period, but Apple at least shows genuine concern about any faulty Apple device. They really stand by their product's reputation.

So before you make a purchase decision, please consider think all aspects logically and then go for it. Other manufacturers are also coming up with promising design these days (like Asus & Samsung ultrabooks), so may be you should just explore your options and don't let the tempation of the Z series designs dictate you.

I always believed that Z series are the Rolls Royce of all laptops, but it turned out to be just a lexus with all options, which is good but definitely NOT THE BEST.