Sony announced a "little surprise" Jan. 22 - a spring refresh of its Vaio laptops that for whatever reason it decided to stay mum about at the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show.
Decorated to the hilt and with new CPU options and color possibilities, the changes extend to Sony's Z Series, S Series and C Series notebooks.
Starting from the top, the Z series now comes with optional LTE mobile broadband and the latest second-generation Intel Core processors, from the Intel Core i5 to the Core i7 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5GHz and RAID solid state drives. Plus, as these new spring offers are all about color, there's now the option of ordering the Vaio in a shade called Carbon Fiber Silver.
"Technically we're calling this a 'refresh,'" Sony's Gina wrote in a blog post introducing the new Vaios, "however with spec changes like this one, one could consider this a healthy upgrade from the already massively spec'd out power house of the Vaio line."
The Z Series, complete with a Power Media Dock drive, starts at $1,950.
Beginning in February, also expect refreshes to Sony's 13- and 15-inch S Series models. Both sizes will be upgraded with up to Intel Core i7 processors and include Hybrid Graphics with a choice of the AMD Radeon HD 6470M (512MB VRAM) or AMD Radeon HD 6630M (1GB VRAM).
The 13-inch model will start at $800. The 15-incher - with its 15.5-inch Full HD display (at 1920 x 1080 pixels) and IPS technology for improved viewing - will start at $980, when paired with the Intel Core i5 option.
Both sizes also have the option of a sheet battery - covering nearly the full expanse of the laptop's bottom - for added battery life.
The big news surrounding the C series refresh is the aesthetic liberties Sony gave to its designers. One option, called Kaleidoscope Pink, was inspired by Art Nouveau floral patterns and has an engraved look that's available on models with 14- and 15.5-inch displays. There's also a Geometric Black model.
It's hard to even begin describing this option, though Gina gave it a good try, writing:
Think 60's retro meets the Matrix. [It has] shapes and shadows in various tones and not only is featured on the top case but creatively spreads onto the inside keyboard area ... Designers planned to give this laptop design a stereoscopic effect and in order to do that, they intentionally created layers of several geometric patterns and when you see it, it expresses a shining ripple across the top of the casing. ... What is especially interesting about this design decision is that it allows the owners I know who prefer the basic black design of laptops to have some personalization/expression without something being too obvious or over-the-top. I'm excited to see what our VAIO designers have up their sleeves next.
Sweetening the deal further - and anyone going for Kaleidoscope Pink likely has a taste for sweets - Sony will be giving away free laptop sleeves to anyone purchasing a 14- or 15-inch model through February 4. Made of a nylon outer layer and "super-soft interior," the sleeves normally retail for $40.