Sony Updates VAIO Notebook Range

Nathan Eddy is a contributor to eWeek and TechWeekEurope, covering cloud and BYOD

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Sony is the latest manufacturer to unveil new laptops, including a green machine that has a plastic chassis made up of recycled CDs

Sony has joined the long line of manufacturers offering new laptops, after it announced the release of four VAIO notebook computers at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

This includes the Z-Series ultra-portable notebook, housed in a lightweight carbon-fibre chassis, the F-Series multi-media notebook, featuring Sony’s Transfer Jet technology to wirelessly transfer digital photos, W-Series Eco Edition mini notebook, incorporating a reprocessed plastic chassis and packaged in a reusable carrying-case, and the Y-Series notebooks.

At just over three pounds, the Z notebook is housed in a carbon-fibre aluminium chassis and includes the latest Intel processor technology, as well as s a 13.1-inch (diagonal) high-resolution LED backlight screen, which conserves power and provides a wide spectrum of true-to-life colors. The Z model also has an optional Blu-ray Disc (BD) optical drive for creating and storing high-definition content. The PC integrates wireless 3G Mobile Broadband technology provided by Verizon Wireless Mobile Broadband Built-In (optional), Wi-Fi (802.11n) and Bluetooth wireless technologies. The Z Series comes exclusively in solid state drive (SSD) models – up to 512GB. The Z Series will retail for about $1,900 (£1,192) and be available in late spring, according to a company release.

Meanwhile the VAIO F Series features a 16.4-inch (diagonal) screen, and it offers an optional BD drive and an HDMI output connector so users can connect to a high-definition TV set. An NVIDIA GeForce dedicated graphics card provides high-definition graphics processing and allows users to make their own films by launching directly into Sony’s own Media Gallery software by pushing the designated VAIO button on the keyboard. The also PC incorporates Sony’s Transfer Jet technology on select models, enabling users to wirelessly transfer digital photos from select digital cameras. Users simply place the camera on the palm rest and the digital images transfer automatically. Sony noted a Transfer Jet enabled digital camera and Memory Stick are required. The F Series will start at around $1,000 (£627) and is available online for pre-orders through the company’s web store.

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The eco-friendly W-Series features a reprocessed plastic chassis comprised of approximately 20 percent recycled CDs. It also comes in a reusable carrying-case made from recycled PET bottles with no wasted cardboard packaging. The entry-level mini notebook, marketed as a casual PC or for kids, has a HD (1366×768) 10.1-inch LED backlit widescreen display, 250GB hard drive and comes pre-loaded with Microsoft Windows 7 Starter. The W-Series starts at $480 (£301).

Finally, the Y-Series VAIO notebook comes packaged in durable magnesium casing and delivers up to seven hours of battery life. Sony also offers an optional Intel Core 2 Duo ultra-low voltage processor and up to 8GBs of RAM, as well as 13.3-inch LED backlit widescreen display with lower power consumption to improve battery life, as well as Stereo Bluetooth technology and HDMI output. The Y-Series starts at $800 and is currently available for pre-order online.

“Sony engineers have raised the bar once again” said Mike Abary, senior vice president of the VAIO business group at Sony. “By melding cutting-edge technologies such as a Blu-ray Disc optical drive, HDMI output and a hybrid graphics system into highly-mobile PCs, consumers can now enjoy HD content on their terms- in the living room, on-the-go, where ever.”