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VAIO Z Canvas Review, A 12.3″ Laptop, and a possible alternative to the Surface Pro 4


VAIO Z Canvas Review In Few Words (Mini Review)

VAIO Z Canvas is a good tablet that can do well as a desktop replacement, it doesn’t just come with a quad-core i7 processor, but it also has 2 USB 3.0 ports, as well as ethernet port. The color of its screen is very nice, making it good for using it for design & other similar tasks.

Compared to the Surface Pro 4, VAIO Z Canvas gives a good value for the money, the high-end configuration of it could be cheaper, giving you get a lot more from it. The i7 processor is a bit older than the one in the Surface Pro 4, but it has 4 cores instead of 2. And you get the keyboard out of the box.

Overall, VAIO Z Canvas is a good Surface Pro 4 & Cintiq Companion 2 alternative to consider, as long you don’t mind its cons.


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Pros Of VAIO Z Canvas

  • Comes equipped well enough to be a desktop replacement, not just laptop replacement.

Cons Of VAIO Z Canvas

  • Compared to the other tablets, like the Surface Pro 4, there is some lack in the accessories for VAIO Z Canvas.

Technical Specifications

  • Screen resolution:- 2560 X 1440
  • 12.3 inch screen
  • Gamut 95% RGB?
  • Processor:- Intel Core i7 4770HQ
  • Ram:- 8-16 GB.
  • Storage:- 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
  • Contrast:- 570:1
  • Pressure sensitivity:- 1024 levels
  • USB Ports:- 2
  • Other ports:- SD Card Slot, Ethernet port.
  • Weight :- 3.4lb

The Screen

VAIO Z Canvas comes with a 12.3 inch screen very nice screen with a 2560 X 1440 resolution. The color gamut is 95% RGB, which is nice if you want to use it for photo-editing, or in tasks where colors are important. In case you needed more than one screen, you will be able to hook additional displays to it, I will talk more about that later in this review.

Battery Life

Battery life is okay, it totally depends on how you use it, you get minimum of 4 hours in general, but it can extend 5 hours at times. This is a good battery life to get out of a full-fledged computer like this.

Ports, Stand & Accessories

Compared to the Surface Pro 4, the latest version of Microsoft tablet by the time of writing this review. VAIO Z Canvas is generous, it comes with 2 USB 3.0 ports, as opposed to the one USB port the Surface Pro has. This makes it less likely you are going to need a USB hub or anything to connect your devices.


VAIO Z Canvas comes with a keyboard right out of the box, the keyboard is nice. And it is detachable, so you can place the tablet right in front of you, for drawing or other things, and have the keyboard on the side for shortcuts and the like if you want. While connected to the tablet. The keyboard charges by taking power from it. There is a touchpad on the keyboard, something you may or may not like, but you can turn that off if you want, so this is not an issue.

When it comes to display ports port, VAIO Z Canvas is again, generous. It has one mini Display Port, as well as HDMI. So it will connect to many kinds of modern displays without the need for an adapter. And with the right adapters, you will be able to connect it to two external monitors. Making it suitable to use on your desktop when you are home.


VAIO Z Canvas has additional ports, like a SD cards slot, it also has an ethernet port, which may seem old, but it is something you will prefer if you care about fast networking, as ethernet provides low latency & faster speeds.

VAIO Z Canvas Kick Stand

On the back of VAIO Z Canvas, there is a kick stand, which can be adjusted in multiple of ways.

Different Configurations

VAIO Z Canvas comes in 3 configurations. All the 3 has the same quad-core i7. But the main different is the amount of Ram and SSD storage. Bear in mind that the Ram can’t be upgraded later, so choose the amount of memory that will last you as much as possible.

Kindly find the various configuration for VAIO Z Canvas in the following table:-

Models VJZ12AX0311S VJZ12AX0211S VJZ12AX0111S
CPU Intel Core i7 4770HQ Intel Core i7 4770HQ Intel Core i7 4770HQ
RAM 8GB (onboard) / 8GB (not expandable) 16GB (onboard) / 16GB (not expandable) 16GB (onboard) / 16GB (not expandable)
SSD SSD 256 GB x 1 Serial ATA 6 Gb/s High Speed SSD 512 GB PCI Express x4 (32 Gb/s) High Speed SSD 1 TB (512 GB x2) PCI Express x4 (32 Gb/s)

To check the price for the available configuration. Check out the following Amazon links:-


Drawing Experience

Keyboard on the side

Since VAIO Z Canvas has a stylus with it, it is nice to talk about how it could fare when it comes to drawing. It would be even nicer to try one yourself before buying, as however you like drawing with it partly depends on you.

In general, the pen makes it much easier to do a lot of design work on the go. The digitizer in it is n-trig, the same kind used in the Surface Pro 3 & 4. This kind of digitizer has one known advantage over the one made by Wacom:- It has less parallax near the corners of the of the screen. In case you are new to digital art, let me explain what parallax is.

Parallax is a misalignment between where you place the stylus pen, and where the cursor on the screen actually is. Parallax is caused partly by distance between the cursor & the pen tip resulted from the glass separating them. Parallax tends to happen more near the edge of the screen. Calibrating your drawing tablet alleviate this problem.

Fortunately, with N-Trig digitizer, this is less than a problem. That’s the good thing, a problem with this kind of digitizer it that it could require you to press a bit harder to create a stroke. Which could make it worse for those who want to use VAIO Z Canvas for drawing, but for design & other things, this is not as much as a problem.

When it comes with pressure sensitivity, VAIO Z Canvas’s pen supports 1024 level, which is more than enough for almost all kinds of drawings. In case you don’t know what pressure sensitivity is, it is a feature that allows you to draw thicker or thinner lines based on pressure. Beyond a certain point, you don’t need to emphasize on this feature. While 1024 is less than the 2048 features in most graphics tablets nowadays, it is more than enough for almost everything.

VAIO Z Canvas’s pen has no eraser at the back of it, and it doesn’t support tilt sensitivity, a feature that makes it possible to vary your strokes by tilting the pen, just like the way pencils work (The art software you use must support this feature for it to work).

And Finally

In case you are looking for a nice alternative for the Surface Pro 4, and in case you want more value for the money. VAIO Z Canvas is a good choice to consider in here, and it is bit lighter as well.

I hope you liked my VAIO Z Canvas review, and see you again in another review. ^^


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I am an anime artist, and huge fan of digital art. I love drawing with pencils too. But I rarely do that anymore nowadays. Since some aspects of digital art can be tricky, I try my best to explain the concepts as easily as possible.

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