The Sony VAIO SZ160P/C is a 13.3″ widescreen laptop made by Sony. It is marketed as a high end configuration of the popular VAIO SZ series and part of that premium configuration is having a carbon-fiber casing for extra protection and light weight. Recently debate has raged as to whether the casing is truly carbon-fiber and people have claimed Sony has sold them a plastic casing laptop for $2,500, when they paid for and expected carbon fiber. We have talked to Sony representatives and they say no Sony SZ series uses plastic casing and clear up confusion caused by differences in carbon-fiber version between the Japan and U.S.
In a raging debate in our Sony forums seen in these two threads:
Owners wrangle and debate as to whether their casing is plastic or not. We asked Sony whether they did indeed sell plastic casing on these Sony SZ160 models that were promised as carbon-fiber and they offered the following response:
“It seems this is a simple misunderstanding. Claims that these SZ Series notebook cases are not carbon fiber are innacurate. Sony advertises that the VGN-SZ160 casing is carbon fiber and that is true. The confusion probably stems from the fact that in Japan there are two carbon fiber models. The first is the premium version that has a criss-cross pattern texture on the surface. The other is the standard carbon fiber version which is smooth. People may be confused because the smooth surface VGN-SZ160 model in the US does not look like the textured premium version sold in Japan.”
So, to clarify, in Japan there is an option for “Premium Carbon” casing on certain SZ series models, this casing has visible weaves. However, this casing option is not available on any North American configuration of the VAIO SZ. Instead, the SZ160 comes with what Sony calls “Black Carbon” in which it is a smooth look and the weave is not visible. See the image below for visuals on this:
- “Premium Carbon” = Available Japan ONLY for VAIO SZ Premium models.
- “Black Carbon” = Available Worldwide for VAIO SZ Premium models.
- “Black” = Available Worldwide, this is the standard magnesium-alloy casing on all non-premium VAIO SZ models.
“By reading this thread it looks like what caused this question to blow-out of proportion was that Sony rep who responded not knowing what he or she was talking about. In case I missed someone else’s post, you can check out various Asus units that feature carbon fiber composite lids & encasings, such as the Z33’s, V6’s and others and none of them have any sort of weave in them. And Sony does not offer a plastic lid for any SZ series; the other non-premium edition unit uses a magnesium encasing.”
It seems this is all a bit of a big confusion, and the flames of the debate stoked by uninformed tech support people at Sony. Some of this can certainly be attributed to bad/confusing marketing on Sony’s part, but no malice or rip off attempts were intended.