Ever since Sony introduced its VAIO Z back in 2008 it’s made one thing very clear: its premium thin and light notebook wasn’t going to be subject to a performance cap like so many others on the market. Nope, the VAIO Z has never been just any ultraportable, and it’s almost seemed as if the guys in Tokyo have been morally opposed to using anything but brand new technologies in the line — the premiere Z was one of the first laptops to be sold with an SSD and switchable graphics, and the 2010 refreshed model was packed to the brim with the latest components, including a backlit keyboard and a quad-SSD option.

The 13.1-inch VAIO Z of 2011 is no different in that regard — it’s the epitome of a groundbreaking computer. The thickness has been practically sliced in half since the previous version, and yet, it’s still powered by a fresh Core i7 processor and speedy solid state drive. Its most interesting feature, however, is undoubtedly its new high-speed port based on Intel’s Light Peak, which provides the optic tubes to connect an external GPU and Blu-ray optical drive — what Sony calls the Power Media Dock. And then, of course, there’s its matching slice battery that promises up to 14 hours of battery life as well as that full 1080p display. The spec list is no joke, but of course, neither is its plus $2,000 price. So, does the VAIO Z continue to be the must-have ultraportable? Or is it simply just an overly luxurious laptop for Sony to brag about? Hit the break for the in-depth review you’ve been waiting for.