Sony may be known for the high-end features and design (and price) of its Vaio laptops, but it is hoping to change that perception a little with its new Vaio Fit lineup. Comprising both the Fit and Fit E series, the portables are being marketed to students and mainstream buyers with prices starting well below $1,000.
Featuring Windows 8 and optional touchscreens to take advantage of the touch capabilities of the new OS, both the Fit and Fit E include a 14-inch and 15-inch model. The Fit E is the more cost-conscious of the new two series, starting at just $549, while the Fit lineup starts at $100 more.
All Vaio Fit laptops offer Intel third-generation Core (aka, Ivy Bridge) processor options, with the Fit's 14-inch display sporting 1,600x900 resolution, and the Fit's 15-inch screens featuring 1,920x1,080 resolution. There is also an option to add Blu-ray drives and Nvidia discrete graphics, or in the Fit's case, solid state drives (or hybrid storage options).
The Fit is also differentiated from the Fit E with its chassis materials: The Fit is housed in brushed aluminum, while the Fit E makes do with plastic. Either line is available in black, white, or pink. The Fit 15-inch also comes with a number pad as part of its backlit keyboard. Targeted at younger buyers, the Fit E gets what Sony describes as "big box speakers", with the 15-inch adding a subwoofer.
Sony hopes to improve the performance of the Fit's webcams by integrating its Exmor R CMOS sensors — used in its Xperia phones — to boost the image in low light. It's also integrated NFC technology, giving you direct Bluetooth and wi-fi connections with other mobile devices just by touching them to the laptop.
The Fit and Fit E are due later this month, but aren't currently available for pre-order on Sony's online store, so we're unable to see all the configuration options. However, our sister site CNET has already managed to score a Fit 14 for review.