- Hong Kong-based player hopes Vaio can bring back glory days
- Introduces two somewhat dated models, with more to come
IN A move reminiscent of how Finnish mobile company HMD Global Oy relaunched the iconic Nokia brand in 2015, the Vaio brand – previously established and wholly-owned by Sony Corp – has been resurrected with Hong Kong-based Nextsgo Company Ltd having acquired the licencing rights to relaunch the Vaio range of laptops exclusively in Asia.
Speaking during the official launch of Vaio Malaysia in Petaling Jaya on Aug 15, co-founder and CEO of Nextsgo Alex Chung (pic) said his company is honoured to work with the Vaio Corp to bring back the iconic Vaio series of laptops to Malaysia.
“Despite the brand being away from the market for a few years, the Vaio brand impression remains strong amongst its users,” claimed Chung during the launch.
News of the Vaio brand relaunch first hit the headlines, when Nextsgo made the announcement at the annual Computex Taiwan expo in June 2018. The announcement was significant as Sony had sold off its PC-making business to a private investment firm known as Japan Industrial Partners in February 2014.
The newly spun-off company, known as Vaio Corp, however re-entered the market by first selling laptops under the Vaio brand in Japan in mid-2014. It later ventured into the United States and Brazil in 2015. But there was no sign of it making a comeback to Asia anytime soon.
Chung explained that Nextsgo, which began as a startup in Hong Kong in 2016, began showing interest in bringing back the Vaio brand and range of products about 18 months ago.
“We believe in the product brand, the quality and reliability it represents, and the strong name it has amongst business users, and thus we approached Vaio Corp with the idea of bringing the product back into the Asian market,” he explained.
Asked what prompted this thinking, Chung said both Vaio Corp and Nextsgo believed in the same philosophy, namely to bring a high-quality product to consumers whilst enhancing its customers’ experiences.
“We met with them about a year and a half ago and after much negotiation, we concluded the deal,” he said. “We share the same thinking in bringing quality products to our customers.”
Quizzed as to how successful he thinks the Vaio brand can be in the four markets – Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore – it has chosen to launch in, Chung was bullish, saying, “Nextsgo has high expectations for the Vaio brand.
“Based on our experience, Vaio has very strong brand value in these four countries. [When Sony marketed them], it was well received, and many have come to love the high quality of the product. What we can expect is that we can make a comeback and can hopefully even improve on the market share.”
In conjunction with the relaunch of the Vaio brand, Nextsgo brought in two laptops, which the company hopes will resonate with Vaio fanboys. The models aren’t new as they have already been launched in Japan.
The first of the two is the Vaio S11, an 11.6-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution IPS display, equipped with 8th generation Intel Core i5 processors. The device sports 8GB of main memory and either 256GB or 512GB of SSD storage. The device weighs in at an impressive 0.85kg and has a rated battery life of 11 hours.
The second is the Vaio S13, a 13.3-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution IPS display, equipped with 8th generation Intel Core i7 processors. It also comes equipped either with 8GB or 16GB of memory, and either 256GB or 512GB of storage. The S13 weighs in at 1.07kgs and has a rated battery life of about eight hours. Both models have an integrated fingerprint reader.
Nextsgo head of brand management Rick Hung noted that one of the biggest selling points of both devices is that they sport a feature known as Vaio True Performance, which is essentially a souped-up CPU boost feature, which claims to improve CPU performance by between 11% and 13%.
The modifications to the design and architecture of its heat sink allows the laptop to perform at longer periods of time because of its ability to be more efficient at dispersing heat, Hung said.
When asked how well these machines will do amongst competition, given their relatively high price and the fact that competing products have newer features such as USB-C charging and touch screen, Hung acknowledged that the two launched machines do not have such features but was quick to argue that “it’s just the beginning for Nextsgo.”
“These ‘made in Japan’ models are the first we’re bringing into the market. We are continually keeping track of the market wants and in future, we will definitely be bringing in other models that will fit with what consumers want.”
“But as for these devices [S11 and S13], we believe that they are competitively priced compared to what’s out there,” he argued, noting that Nextsgo believes it will appeal to Vaio fans.
The Vaio S13 comes in black or silver, while the S11 comes in five colour options – black, silver, brown, pink and white. The price of the S11 ranges from RM6,499 to RM6,699 whilst the S13 comes in at RM6,199 to RM8,399.
Interested buyers will be able to purchase them at either Low Yat Plaza, Digital Mall’s Nextsgo flagship store, or Lazada online store beginning Aug 18. As a promotional offer for one month until Sept 17, buyers of both devices will receive a free additional one-year warranty on top of the original one-year warranty, bringing the coverage to two years.
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