The lightweight Sony S Series Vaio offers road warriors up to 15 hours of battery life, while the new widescreen F Series makes a play for gamers and media buffs.
Sony is growing its Vaio laptop portfolio with the introduction of new S Series and F Series models.
Introduced May 25, the 13.3-inch S Series is geared toward business travelers and students, or really anyone wanting a solid, thin and light notebook (but not needing the hardcore enterprise features of a Lenovo), while the F Series, with its high-resolution 16.4-inch widescreen display, was created with gaming and entertainment enthusiasts in mind.
The magnesium-and-aluminum S Series has a starting weight of 3.8 pounds-with the standard lithium-polymer battery-and measures 0.95 inches thick. There's the option of up to an Intel Core i7 processor, as a well as a sold-separately sheet battery (for $150) that can boost battery life to 15 hours.
"You can fly nonstop from Los Angeles to Tokyo or attend a full day of classes on just one charge with this S Series laptop when combined with the optional sheet battery," Mike Lucas, senior vice president of Sony's Networked Technology and Services Division, said in a statement.
Regarding the S Series' obliging nature, performance is another feature Sony would like to stress. Select models include an AMD Radeon HD 6630 1GB Hybrid Graphics card with 1GB of VRAM-which is said to offer "premium visual quality and intense HD performance without placing huge demands on the CPU," in addition to optimizing the machine's overall performance.
It features a backlit keyboard, as well as dedicated Vaio, Assist and Web buttons for launching the Media Gallery software, Vaio Care software and Internet, respectively, without the need to fully boot up Windows. For video conferencing or chatting, there's a Webcam with an Exmore sensor for a better experience in low-light situations and face-tracking technology that helps the camera follow a user and adjust the focus on him or her.
On the multimedia front, the S Series offers the option of a Blu-ray drive and, courtesy of Intel Wireless Display 2.0 technology, the ability to wirelessly stream videos, music and photos to an HDTV.
As for the F Series, Sony is calling it a "powerhouse." Its 16.4-inch widescreen display has a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080, and Sony's outfitted it with S-Force Front Surround 3D technology and Dolby Home Theater v3 sound. The graphics are trusted to a 1GB Nvidia GeForce 540M or 512MB 520M chip, and there's the option of up to a 750GB HDD.
The Webcam and Exmor sensor, backlit keyboard, and dedicated Vaio, Assist and Web buttons are on board, along with the Windows 7 Home Premium OS; USB 3.0 ports-for the super-quick transfer of data-A/V control buttons for pausing, stopping and playing; and the ability to connect to a PlayStation 3 or other Sony gaming devices using a Remote Keyboard.
Both new Vaios are now available for presale. The S Series starts at $1,350 and comes in burnished brown, jet black or platinum silver-though wait until June and Sony will add pink and blue options to the mix.
The F Series, in a choice of matte black, silver or premium white, starts at $1,100.
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.