After being splintered off from its parent company Sony, the storied VAIO computer brand is finally ready to make its push back into the portable computing market. VAIO has just announced the pre-order for its VAIO Z Canvas, a high end Windows 10 hybrid device aimed squarely at artists and digital illustrators.
It features a woefully outdated but massively powerful 4th-generation (Haswell) Quad-core Core-i7-4770HQ processor. It must be emphasized that this is not the same Core-i7 used in the top-end Surface Pro 3, but a much more power-hungry and powerful version more akin to its desktop counterparts. Featuring Intel Iris Pro 5200 graphics, the company claims the H-series processor gets up to six times the CPU performance and 3.7 times the graphics performance over a Celeron Dual Core in their benchmarks:
The premium art device comes standard with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage, both of which can be bumped up to 16 GB of RAM and 1 TB of PCI-Express x4 SSD storage. It also features the usual array of ports not found on the iPad Pro: full-sized USB 3.0, SD memory card reader, mini-DisplayPort, HDMI output, even a built-in LAN (RJ45) port.
Where things get really interesting is in its artistic capabilities. The VAIO Z Canvas features a 12.3-inch touch screen with a resolution 2560×1704, a near a 3:2 aspect ratio like the latest generation Surface devices. In an effort to make the display as color accurate as possible, the display features an incredibly wide gamut, covering 95% of the Adobe RGB spectrum. It is also color management compatible, allowing the color profiles of graphics cards to be rewritten and modified.
VAIO has gone out of its way to manufacture a unique optical resin between the LCD and glass, which it claims dramatically minimizes the screen’s parallax: the physical distance between the pen tip’s contact point on the screen and the actual screen cursor.
The pen has 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, and can be equipped with various nib textures to better suit the artist’s preference. It features an adjustable pressure curve and fine-tuning at 4 points. The pen also includes an adjustable grip, allowing artists to choose their preferred grip position.
Taking a note out of the Surface playbook, the pen also features a click-to-open feature that opens OneNote for quick note-taking. It also features a second button that opens the company’s own VAIO Clipping Tool, for easy screenshot capturing.
What pen technology the VAIO Z Canvas features is not yet known.
Moving beyond the pen, the Canvas sports a readily adjustable stand like the Surface devices (albeit protruding from a different location). The Canvas also features a wireless keyboard which VAIO claims can be placed around the computer based on artist’s preference, helping alleviate physical symptoms such as fatigue.
All this artistic goodness does not come cheap. In fact the Canvas is almost ludicrously expensive, starting at $2199, and surging all the way to $3099. At least it comes with the keyboard.
The pre-order is currently limited to US customers only. The device is expected to ship on October 5th.
VAIO will also be showcasing its devices at the upcoming Adobe MAX conference from October 3-7 in Los Angeles. Which, interestingly enough, coincides with Microsoft’s October 6th event.