The VAIO Z Canvas is available in three different configurations, but the only difference between the three is the amount of onboard memory and storage. The base device comes with a 256GB Serial ATA SSD drive and 8GB RAM; the intermediate device has a 512GB PCI Express x4 SSD with 16GB RAM; and the top-line product packs a 1TB PCI Express x4 SSD and 16GB RAM. All come with the same powerful processor: a 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7-4770HQ, with Intel Turbo Boost technology up to 3.4GHz. All three configurations include an Iris Pro Graphics 5200 card, which is powerful enough to handle moderate PC gaming but was obviously put there to handle powerful video editing and 3D animation software.
The review unit we tested was VAIO’s intermediate level device, which retails at $2,599 and is powered by an Intel Core i7 and equipped with 512GB PCI Express x4 SSD and 16GB RAM. We found boot time lightning fast (which is also probably owed in great part to the SSD) and program launch speeds equally rapid.
The Z Canvas comes with Windows 10 Pro installed, which is yet another feature that differentiates it from standard tablets and – along with its processor – helps to propel it into the category of high-end laptop.
We put the Z Canvas through the paces, running no less than half a dozen benchmark programs to test its speed and responsiveness. The results are below.
PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):
PCMark8 Work (Accelerated) measures overall system performance for work-related productivity tasks (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark 11 is a benchmark that measures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
wPrime score in seconds (lower scores mean better performance):
CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:
Computers equipped with such powerful CPUs run two risks: high heat and limited battery life. Throughout extensive testing, heat never became an issue, and fan noise was minimal to the point of being indiscernible. This is the result of VAIO’s use of three separate fans, each of which the company says emits sound-cancelling frequencies.
The Z Canvas is equipped with a 63Wh lithium polymer battery. Although VAIO rates expected battery life at approximately 7 hours, this is clearly a best-case scenario timed under normal, everyday use. We tested the battery using the Powermark benchmark platform, which yielded a result of 2 hours and 35 minutes of life. Practical testing by streaming Netflix over Wi-Fi at maximum screen brightness resulted in a slightly more extended longevity of just under 3 hours; at precisely the 2 hour and 55 minute mark, the Z Canvas shut down.
Powermark, measured in minutes. Higher is better.
Considering this is a tablet computer built specifically for use by professionals likely putting in long hours while running high-power software programs, users may find the capabilities of the battery to be insufficient for their needs.