Suddenly the MacBook Air doesn't seem so expensive anymore. . .

Suddenly the MacBook Air doesn't seem so expensive anymore. . .

Summary: As rumored, Sony announced its new ultraportable this week. The old VAIO TZ series was a slick ultraportable, and the new VAIO TT series looks even better, though I'll wait for some full reviews for confirmation.


Sony VAIO TTAs rumored, Sony announced its new ultraportable this week. The old VAIO TZ series was a slick ultraportable, and the new VAIO TT series looks even better, though I'll wait for some full reviews for confirmation. In the meantime, the list of available options-- carbon fiber chassis that weighs 2.9 pounds, 11.1-inch LED-backlit widescreen display, integrated Blu-ray burner and HDMI-out, dual 128GB SSDs, wireless WAN--makes for one great press release.

The only catch: if you want it with all the good stuff, it will really cost you. You can pre-order the top-of-the-line VAIO VGN-TT190UBX for a cool $4,344.99 (or a little more than a dozen Asus Eee PC 900 netbooks). That gets you these specs:

  • Carbon fiber case
  • 11.1-inch widescreen LCD
  • 1.4GHz Intel Core2 Duo SU9400 processor
  • 4GB DDR3 memory
  • Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics
  • 256GB (128x2) SSD
  • Blu-ray burner

You can blame the SSDs and Blu-ray for the sky-high price tag. A 128GB SSD currently retails for about $400 to $500, and Sony's cheapest Blu-ray burner, the BWU-300S for desktops, will be available in October for $400. And to be fair, Sony does offer a configuration starting at around $2,000 with a slightly slower processor, 2GB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, and a DVD burner.

But it's hard to settle for those specs when you know what could be packed in this tiny laptop. Maybe Sony ought to bring Qualia back for this impressive, but pricey ultraportable.

Topics: Networking, Apple, Hardware

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Suddenly the MacBook Air doesn't seem so expensive anymore...

    Well in my opinion the Macbook Air still does seem
    expensive for what it is. The macbook air requires an
    external drive to be plugged, where as this computer
    has a drive (DVD or BLu-Ray) built right in. The specs
    (ie processor and ram) on the macbook air aren't
    nearly as good as the specs on these sony notebooks
    • They aren't?

      They aren't? I'm not being sarcastic, I'm wondering what
      the performance difference is between the Sony's 1.4GHz
      C2D SU9400 and Apple's 1.8GHz C2D; likewise, the
      performance difference between Sony's GMA 4500MHD
      integrated graphics and Apple's GMA X3100 integrated

      I do agree about the built in burner. I'd never buy a laptop
      without an optical drive.

      However, some points to note:

      * Sony's [i]base[/i] model with a 1.2GHz CPU is only $150
      cheaper than Apple's top model. It's expensive.
      * The TT is also bigger, presumably because of the built in
      optical drive.
      * No backlit keyboard on the Sony.
      * However, the TT has the built in optical drive [i]and[/i]
      HDMI, which is nice.
      * Sony copied Apple's chicklet keyboard, which I enjoy. So
      that's a plus for me.
    • Then there's the keyboard issue.

      Don't forget that the Sony, like every other computer except an Apple portable, has a real Delete key. Apple portables only have a Backspace key that's mislabeled "Delete".

      Not to mention other functions that have their own keys on most keyboards, but Apple buries under clumsy two-handed hotkeys.
  • Now everyone should hate Sony?

    Gee, where are all the Apple-naysayers now?

    I have a MacBook Air, don't miss the DVD drive AT ALL and
    everytime I pick up another portable I'm amazed at how
    light and sturdy this one is.

    When the new ones come out, I'll be upgrading. It's a
    fantastic machine.

    Now, Sony fanboys, have a good time Sony-bashing.
    • I don't think Sony (or IBM, Dell, Toshiba, et al) inspire...

      I don't think Sony (or IBM, Dell, Toshiba, et al) inspire as
      much fandom as Apple does for its products. People
      probably don't care enough about Sony products to bash
    • Money to burn?

      You paid 2K ($1799 plus tax) for a macbook air and love it (your choice, nothing wrong with that) but are looking forward to upgrading. By default, that means the current whatever is NOT completely satisfying. If it is, why upgrade?

      To the main story, I think Sony's timing is quite awful.

      • An Apple "upgrade" means...

        ...buying a whole new machine...

        hasta la Vista, bah-bie
      • Gadget-heads are not your average consumer

        As they simply have to have the latest and greatest tech-toys.

        To them, price is not an issue---which is why high-ticket computers and such will continue to sell.

        Remember---Sony and Apple cater to the "upper crust" consumer by the very nature of their products. The average consumer gets into the act once prices start falling.
  • does still.

    Yeah, the MacBook Air still seems too expensive (from the opinion of an outsider, mind you). This notebook just seems ridiculously more "too expensive."

    You the same way that a Lexus isn't cheap just because Bently's are even less so.
  • Sony fans will buy this

    Although not as irritating as Apple fans Sony has a legion of fans that will throw down cold hard cash for this puppy.

    I would also say that Sony hardware comes at the same premium as Apple hardware.

    Actually Sony and Apple are very similar in their type of consumer lock-in desires too. The only difference is that Sony oftentimes actually makes quality electronics and equipment that actually warrants the price.
    • Heck, I'm in...

      Having bought Macbook, Dells, Toshibas, and just about
      every other ultra portable out there, I can tell you
      that Sony's have no equal. I always go back to a Vaio.
      They have cutting edge technology, incredible battery
      life, and they just work. Macbook Air has unusably
      short battery life, Dells just keep having hardware
      failures, and Toshiba's new outdoor LCD is plain bad.

      As for the price, think of it this way. You could put
      $4K in the stock market and watch it goto $2K in a few
      months in todays market. Or you can buy this notebook
      and in 6 months, you'll still have a great notebook
      and maybe some cash left. ;)

      I carry a TZ today and wouldn't mind upgrading, but I
      do think the SSD and Blu-Ray options are still too
      pricey and not so useful yet.
    • I beg to differ...

      I have owned both products and can say with certainty that I have had ZERO problems with either of them.

      As with Sony, when you buy an Apple product you are buying into the mindset that the stuff has been built to a high standard and will stand the test of time.

      Of course you will have instances of products breaking, or not performing to the expected level. Yet Apple (and Sony) products continue to enjoy high resell values, so draw your own conclusions.
  • RE: Suddenly the MacBook Air doesn't seem so expensive anymore. . .

    Wow... EPIC FAIL of a title...

    You should compare a equilant notebook from apple to this...

    Oh that is right ... they dont have one...
    • At least Apple didn't skimp

      On the graphics card!

      So long as Intel supplies the graphics it'll NEVER reach it's full potential.

      $4k for a laptop with a bog-standard video card?

      I won't buy it---and I doubt many other folks will either :)
  • If it comes with Intel graphics...

    Sorry! I won't buy that! :D
    Grayson Peddie
  • MacBook Air is a cripple

    I have mainly Apple products, and waited through all the rumours for a replacement for the 12" PowerBook. However, when the Air came out I was very disappointed.

    It is not just missing an optical drive, but also many ports which are sacrificed to the fashionable thinness. Also, it misses its target by being 13.3 inches, which is too big for me.

    I finally bought a Sony Vaio TZ, earlier this year, and despite some frustrations with Vista, it has proven to be the best computer for a travelling user. No ports missing, no optical drive missing, and great battery life.

    Ok, I would like an illuminated keyboard, and a faster processor, but I think that the TZ has made the right compromises in the old model. Not sure if I would buy the new one at the price discussed.