VAIO Z Canvas over 50% off at MS Store! (2/8/2016)

Discussion in 'Buy, Sell, Trade and Tablet PC Deals' started by Shogmaster, Feb 8, 2016.

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  1. surfaceproartist

    surfaceproartist Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I wouldn't give Microsoft or VAIO marketing execs too much credit here. Microsoft is a relatively inexperienced retailer (remember the Surface RT and Nokia writedowns?) and VAIO is a totally new entrant into the US space. I think both companies overestimated the appetite for the product (and MS didn't help by launching the SP4 and SB a week after the Z Canvas went on sale).

    This definitely smacks of a fire sale and I'm sure both companies (but mostly Microsoft Stores) are losing major bucks per unit sold.
     
  2. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Even if that were the case and they are losing, let say, $1000 on each unit sold--it still is a very effective strategy:

    Consider if Vaio were to launch a tiny marketing campaign of say $1 million dollars (number for illustrative purposes), which would be equivalent to the estimated losses on 1000 units sold.

    But after such a campaign, they would still have a miniscule brand presence compared to MS/Dell/HP and still have to contend with technically-befuddled masses who seem to think the Z Canvas is "about on par" in processing power to the SP4.

    Contrast that with the situation now, where you lost that million dollars, but now you have a 1000 more units out in the wild, 1000 more people using it, talking about it, and learning about the engineering quality of the VAIO brand. You've also set up a good portion of those users to be watching for the next release of a Skylake/Thunderbolt3/etc equipped refresh of the Z Canvas.

    With the limitations of a smaller outfit like Vaio (foreign brand, low marketing budget, slow release cycle), intentional or not, this still becomes a brilliant strategy for maximizing dollars and building market presence--not to mention making a heluva lot of digital artists and tablet power users ultra happy! ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  3. Shogmaster

    Shogmaster Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Jebus, just the two 512GB Samsung M.2 SSDs are like $600 by themselves when bought separately. This deal IS the tablet deal of the decade.
     
  4. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    I'm currently very jealous of missing out on the tablet deal of the decade. Curse you Americans!
     
  5. Zeelobby

    Zeelobby Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I have to agree. This definitely smacks of fire sale. I think MS and VAIO have just not been able to push the quantity of devices they desired to. I think this sale was just to recoup some of those losses. I wouldn't be surprised if the next VAIO Z Canvas came with half the hardware these have and started at the sale price. Their new laptops are already a lot more consumer price friendly and are lacking half the ports these have. I just think their target audience was way too niche, in a field that's already purchased Wacom tablets for several years. At the price they were asking there was just no way theyd clear inventory. The optimist in me wants to believe they're doing a hardware refresh and a new device will be announced soon. The pessimist is that this may be the last power device released in tablet form.

    Either way, I still have mine in its box, and basically flip a coin every 5 minutes.

    Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
     
  6. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Why is everyone so pessimistic when it comes to Vaio? It's like when people were claiming the Z Canvas would be vaporware or never see the light of day on US shores.

    Vaio clearly understood what niche they were targeting when creating the Z Canvas. I summarized this in another thread, but I think it's relevant for people who didn't follow its development:

    "[Vaio] put a crazy amount of effort catering to the stylus crowd: documenting design intent specifically aimed at artists/graphics professionals, developing custom drivers and a new tip sensor to improve the N-Trig pressure curve, showcasing the product at Adobe MAX and various locations throughout Japan to solicit artist feedback, and finally hosting a series of workshops with notable industry professionals to showcase the synergy of the tablet form-factor with digital media creation."​

    If anything, Vaio's failure wasn't a lack of understanding their target market share (i.e mobile professional power-users), but failing to communicate to the hardware prowess relative to other tablets.

    When you have clueless comment sections and Reddit threads filled with people who don't understand the difference between ULV and full-voltage quad-core, and think all Core i7s from the same generation are "roughly equal", of course you'll have the pundits claiming "overpriced Vaio as usual".

    In the US market where the power-users seemingly are unable to do accurate hardware cost-benefit analysis, having this one-off sale was exactly what Vaio needed to kick-start its market presence. Remove the last barrier of price--and get people using the tablet.

    Look at the timing of the sale.

    Is it a coincidence that they are having the sale right before all these CES Skylake Core M tablets are slated to be released in late-February/early-March. Essentially, Vaio is pre-empting the market: all those mobile professionals that might have bought a $1400 Core M5/8GB/256GB slate, now have a 47W/16GB/1TB powerhouse! Once those users get accustomed to that performance, it is not likely they will ever want to downgrade again (a feeling I am sure the die-hard T902 and 2740p users can attest to ;)).

    Every other tablet other than a Z will simply be a toy--and that's good thing for the future of Vaio.
     
  7. Zeelobby

    Zeelobby Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Maybe pessimism was the wrong term. More like realism. There is no way they didn't take a hit on this sale. I mean unless they were trying to operate under Apple's 50% profit margin, which based on the cost of the hardware, definitely isn't the case. At the price they were asking, they weren't selling thousands of these. Maybe hundreds. My businesses video/design staff all use Wacom displays and high-powered desktops. The number of people who actually graphic designed or video edited on the go is an EXTREMELY limited niche. All of the photographers we use shoot first, and edit at home on their desktops.

    I'm not denying that this is, and will be. The most powerful tablet ever produced, but the number of users who actually NEED this is a very small number. And at their retail price, that's only a smaller crowd. To be honest, the lack of usability on the lap outright kills this device for the majority of our users who travel. It's nice being able to answer emails while on a shuttle between flights.

    In all honestly I think the Z Flip is a lot more sensible of a purchase for our design professionals.

    Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  8. Marty

    Marty Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    The typical creative workflows of most design studios evolved when there simply weren't any portable devices worth the hassle of lugging around in lieu of a Cintiq + desktop setup. Heck, I have such a setup too.

    So yes, most professionals won't need the Z Canvas (because they already have an existing setup). But the professionals who want to be able to move around freely, while having a fully capable (for 2D work) production machine in a svelte form factor? I think that's a large market: photographers, graphics/print designers, digital artist.

    The only problem is most of these mobile professionals assumed the Vaio Z was "just another SP4 competitor" (and an expensive one at that) and chose to get Surfaces or ThinkPad convertibles instead. Aside from the poorly-understood performance leap, how many professionals were aware that the Canvas' display still beats the latest SP4 in color gamut (95% to 75% Adobe RGB)? It's little details like that, that made the Canvas' components fully justify it's price.

    But by removing that perceived price barrier, Vaio has cleared nearly it's entire US inventory and now has built a solid base of customers--as many customers as they had units to sell (minus eBay trolls). Once you have that critical mass of satisfied power-users, I think you'll see an uptick of studios that will start looking to to incorporate Z Canvas into their main workflows.
     
  9. Zeelobby

    Zeelobby Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I would agree with your conclusion if wacom wasn't such a studio power house. I know I still prefer EMR over N-Trig. So do many designers. That's not saying the new N-Trig isn't good, simply that if its not broke why fix it.

    Sent from my SM-T700 using Tapatalk
     
  10. Shogmaster

    Shogmaster Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    EMR is fine for large displays, but for anything smaller than 13.3", the dege drift and accuracy really starts to become a problem.

    In the old days I completely dismissed N-Trig due to the pressure curve hijinks, slow sample rate, and utter lack fo software support. But these days, you have Adobe CC and Painter, Clip Studio Paint and others supporting Microsoft tablet API out of the box. So software is much less of an issue. And with Duo Sense 2, the hardware has pretty much caught up to Wacom, and it's now Wacom having to catch up to N-Trig with their AES digitizer and pen.

    Competition is always a great thing, and I'm very glad that Wacom no longer has an iron grip on artist community's figurative balls.

    And I'll say one more thing: VAIO Canvas Z is a perfect companion (har) to a large sized Wacom Cintiq since you only have to install one Wintab driver (Cintiq's pro driver) on it. On Wacom EMR tablet or convertible, you'd be stuck with the pro driver for the Cintiq and the Penabled driver for the tablet eventually corrupting each other. I had to resort to dual booting two copies of Windows 8.1 in my Fujitsu T902 to get around that problem.

    I'm so glad that N-Trig is such a great viable solution these days.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
    Steve S and surfaceproartist like this.
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