Sony’s VAIO Z Series has been MIA for quite some time. For a while, the product line served as Sony’s flagship laptop category, with sleek designs and performance components built into every machine. Unfortunately, the ultraportables were also extremely expensive and beyond the reach and price points of many.

It seems like with the debut of the VAIO Pro Series, Sony is attempting to spark interest again into its premium line of ultraportable product offerings. Hopefully the company has learned from his past mistakes. Here’s one take on the improvements that have been made.

The new Vaio Pro (11-inch and 13-inch models; $1150 and $1250 starting configs, respectively; out June 9 in black and silver) does away with almost all of the crap that made the Z so unusable. That too-shallow, too-small, too-awful keyboard is gone, replaced with a usable, typable island keyboard with nice spacing and travel distance. The cramped and tiny and also totally unusable trackpad is replaced with a big glass one that seemed to work reasonably well when we saw it a few months back, when its software was still in the early stages. The screen is a very nicely balanced 1080p. And it retains its lightness with the carbon fiber body, but adds an aluminum wrist plate to give the unit a more solid feel. (There was a good amount of flex in the keyboard as we used it, but Sony seemed to imply that it would be fixed for final production; we’ll let you know when we get review units in.) The 11-inch weighs 1.92 pounds, and the 13-inch 2.34 pounds. They also have the Vaio’s traditional optional and ugly sheet battery, which doubles battery life.

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Current Special Offers For: VAIO Pro Series Ultrabooks