The VAIO Z Canvas might be one of the most expensive Windows tablets on the market… but it’s also one of the most powerful.

The $2,199 tablet features a 12.3 inch, 2560 x 1704 pixel IPS display, an Intel Core i7-4770HQ processor, Intel Iris Pro 5200 graphics, an active digitizer and pen, and Microsoft Windows 10 software.

VAIO launched the tablet in Japan earlier this year, after spinning off as a separate company from Sony. Now the Vaio Z Canvas is available for pre-order in the US, where it’s expected to start shipping in October.

vaio z canvas_001

An entry-level model has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of solid state storage. If that’s not good enough for you, there are pricier options:

  • 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage for $2,599
  • 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage for $3,099

While the starting price is nearly 3 times the cost of an entry-level Microsoft Surface pro 3, it’s worth noting that a Surface Pro 3 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage sells for $1549. Microsoft’s tablet also uses a less powerful Core i7 processor and the price doesn’t include a keyboard, which is sold as a separate accessory.

In other words, the VAIO Z Canvas may not exactly be cheap… but the price isn’t entirely out of line when compared with other devices on the market, especially when you consider the fact that VAIO’s tablet has a full-sized Ethernet jack, HDMI and DisplayPort (for connecting up to two 4K monitors), and full-sized SD card and USB ports.

On the other hand, the Surface Pro 3 is about to become old news… Microsoft is expected to launch its successor at an event in October.

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17 replies on “VAIO Canvas Z tablet goes up for pre-order for $2199”

  1. Not liking the looks of that hinge design. It seems like a less stable solution that a traditional kickstand.

  2. I would like to see some objective research that determines whether or not this kind of screen resolution is sensible on a screen this size. For a variety of tasks, can a person really tell the difference between this and 1080p on a 12 inch screen?

    1. It would seem likely given that tablet screens are often not much further away from a person’s face than phone screens. It certainly makes more sense to have higher resolutions on tablet-sized screens than on phone-sized screens.

  3. what use is all that 2-year-old-Haswell power on a tiny 12 inch screen? I admire Vaio making a come back to the States, but they gotta up their game a bit. This is MacBook Pro price, but it’s trying to compete with the dozens of 2-in-1’s out there that are a fraction of the price.

    1. It definitely depends on your use case. My Dell Venue Pro 11 is pretty great as a tablet, but when connected to a keyboard or particularly its desktop dock (because, you know, a 2-in-1 should be more than just a tablet) it’s easy to ask more of it than it can handle. UHD displays, virtual machines, you name it, it’s doable with low voltage CPUs but it’s far better with more power and more RAM.

      Now, if I could somehow get the power of a workstation laptop, combine that with the form factor and portability of a 2-in-1 (good so far) and not have it cost more than a grand (oh darn, there’s the sticking point) I’d buy fifty of them.

    2. A MacBook Pro doesn’t have an active digitizer. Any tablet or laptop with one is in a completely different market category than any device without one, though people who don’t have a use for a digitizer usually don’t recognize that. For anyone doing any kind of digital design or artwork, a digitizer is an irreplaceable necessity.

      1. HP and Fujitsu make tablets with active stylus, for much lower price. The iPad pro with the new stylus is also another option. Again, I see Vaio heading towards doom with their product strategy.

        1. If you’re comparing the new iPad Pro to a system with a high end 47W TDP Core i7, then sorry but you’re crazy… This may be priced way too high for regular consumers but creative types are used to paying premiums for hardware they can actually do real work on because that’s what it usually takes to do real work…

          Like the article states, even the Surface Pro 3 uses a “less” powerful Core i7… While this even has more full size ports…

          The only thing that might hurt them is if they used a regular Active digitizer instead of a high end WACOM digitizer, because regular Active Digitizers based on N-Trig are less sensitive and tend to be laggy compared to the WACOM based ones and thus defeats the purpose of a getting a work horse system…

          Especially, as this will suck in terms of battery life and weight for portable usages…

          1. You guys are hilarious. Apparently, you are not allowed to compare the Vaio against a MacBook because it has a stylus, but you are not allowed to compare it against the iPad Pro either because it has a better CPU.

          2. They have a point though, if your need is good stylus + horsepower you’re not even going to consider a macbook or an ipad pro. One lacks the stylus, the other lacks the horsepower. You’d probably consider that wacom device or a surface pro (2, before they moved away from wacom).

            If you want an ipad pro for netflix on the sofa, writing an email while looking at a web page then yeah this is overpriced. Likewise if you’re just looking at a beefy laptop you could pay half this and get something decent before even considering macbooks.

            My guess is vaio think there are enough beleaguered artists out there either chained to their desk by wacom devices or carrying 10kg of laptop, tablet and cheese toastie maker from place to place to justify the product.
            *edit* ooh, or people like me who want a tablety device but with more than 8GB of RAM and a decent CPU, none of these weedy low voltage dual cores. Couldn’t care less about the stylus.

          3. And as I implied in my first post, all that horsepower and stylus can’t even put to good use on a tiny 12 inch screen. I feel sorry for any “artist” who has to work on a netbook-sized screen.

            I work in an office with a a dozen designers and artists. Their tool of choice these days is iMac + Wacom, which can be had for less than this Vaio. Most of them will probably get an iPad Pro to try it out, which has an even bigger screen than this Vaio. Pretty sure none of them will even have a second thought about this Vaio.

            All in all, I love how Vaio was on the brink of bankruptcy, and their strategy is to invent a niche market to fit themselves in. Love that product strategy.

          4. How many of those designers then have to leave their work at the office because they can’t take their imac and wacom tablet with them? Or I suppose they’ve bought another set for home costing them far more than this tablet and a few decent monitors? If so they’d be totally missing out on the 2-in-1 lifestyle.
            Even if they got as close as possible to it with a macbook (pro 15, because 12.3″ and by extension 13″ is too small right?) and a tablet that’s 3kg of weight vs 1.55kg for the vaio with its keyboard. While we’re at it, it’s ever so slightly more expensive than the vaio.

            What it’s going to come down to is personal preference. Either option is about as expensive as the other so which would you prefer, Mac OS or greater flexibility? Personally, flexibility every time. If you’re a big business Mac OS would probably win it for you.

          5. Sorry but that’s an exaggeration as 12.3″ is not a netbook size… Laptops screens start at 11.6″!

            While tablet sizes have always been a balance between usable screen size and portability… The more portable you want to be then the smaller the tablet needs to be…

            Besides, if you had done any creative work then you’d know most programs you would use allow for both zooming and multiple monitor support…

            Modern systems allow for Miracast, Chromecast, etc. for wirelessly using multiple monitors and the VAIO does have full size ports that allow hooking up 4K monitors as well… The tablet itself mainly only needs to be large enough to use the pen comfortably…

            While a product targeting creative types may be a niche market but it can still be a very profitable one because creative types are willing to spend a lot more than regular users…

            The only question is whether the niche has room for another competitor because WACOM has been filling this niche for years… VAIO isn’t trying to create a new niche but to get in on WACOM’s niche…

            Samsung, Asus, etc have tried before as well… mostly before mobile tablet market took over, but there are still creative types who need a heck of a lot more than a mobile tablet and the WACOM solutions tend not to update very often… So there could be room for some more competition in at least the full tablet digitizer PC niche…

          6. @CyberGusa:disqus I want to add that N-Trig has come a long ways. My current portable art station is an Acer R7-572 – it’s got the same CPU as the Surface Pro 2, with the same N-Trig digitizer as the Surface Pro 3. I don’t think it has tilt sensitivity, and fluorescent lighting interferes with the digitizer, but otherwise the accuracy and sensitivity are really superb, at least as good as my old Wacom-enabled Tablet PC. N-Trig now has full WinTab support as well, so that it works with pretty much any program Wacom works with. I’d encourage anyone shopping modern tablets to not write one off just because it’s got N-Trig.

          7. Fair point, but WACOM technology hasn’t exactly stood still either and it depends just how much is good enough for the end user… So regardless, try it yourself or at least wait for reviews from actual professionals…

        2. That argument makes much more sense to me than comparing it to a MacBook Pro. I think the iPad Pro isn’t really comparable due to its not having a full desktop OS, but I agree that this Vaio’s price is higher than many of its competitors. I wonder if they’re aiming to be a competitor of the Wacom Cintiq Companion 2? The $2K Wacom model has the same storage and RAM. It also has dedicated buttons and a better processor, but lower resolution and no keyboard dock. Maybe that’s the market Vaio is targeting with this one, higher-end digital content creation. I still can’t imagine they’d sell a lot of them though.

          1. Yes, this most likely intends to compete with the WACOM Cintiq Companion 2…

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