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Sony refreshes Vaio laptops

The new S, C, F and L Series machines bring the Vaios up to date with Intel i5 and i7 processors, more RAM and larger hard drives, with a battery-life boost in the S models for business users

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Topic: Mobility
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Sony Vaio S Series laptops

Sony has unveiled its new 13.3-inch S Series laptops along with new C, L and F Series devices, the earliest of which will go on sale at the end of February.

The devices — which were shown in London on Tuesday — will all arrive with an Intel i5 or i7 processor and come with Windows 7 64-bit pre-installed.

The new S Series (pictured above) is the most business-focused of the ranges and sports a 13.3-inch (1,366 by 768-pixel resolution) Vaio Display Plus screen with a low-reflection coating that the company says will suppress reflections while maintaining clear images.

The chassis measures 224.5 by 23.9 by 331mm and weighs in at approximately 1.75kg. Sony said the battery will last for around seven hours, and there is an optional 'slice' battery that will provide an additional seven hours of usage. The slice battery pack will retail seperately for around £150, a Sony spokeswoman said.

The S Series devices lend themselves to the business user, thanks to the capable processor, promised maximum 14-hour battery life, and lightweight, slimline design.

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Sony Vaio laptops

The base model — which does not include 3G connectivity — comes with an Intel Core i5 processor and Windows 7 Professional. It also has dual 'hybrid' graphics, which combines a discrete AMD Radeon HD 6470M graphics card with integrated Intel HD graphics. The system simply switches between the two, depending on the demands of the task at hand, thereby conserving battery life, according to Sony.

A 500GB hard drive, 4GB DDR3 SDRAM, Bluetooth 2.1 and a DVD drive round off the specs.

The notebooks come in black or silver. Prices start from around £900 for the lower-specced model, going up to around £1,000 for a model with 3G capabilities. They will be available from March.

Sony is also considering introducing a higher-end model with an Intel Core i7 processor and Blu-ray drive that will retail at around £1,500, a company spokesman told ZDNet UK. This model would be expected to launch at the end of April.

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Sony Vaio C Series

The new 14-inch Vaio C Series chassis comes in a wide range of colours. These include two 'light-emitting' translucent options — the orange and green models — which gently emit light along the edges of the lid and other parts of the casing. For the less adventurous, it also comes in black or white.

Hardware-wise, the C Series base model will ship with an Intel Core i5 processor, AMD Radeon HD 6470M, 320GB hard drive and 4GB DDR3 SDRAM. Like the other ranges, the C Series can be customised online.

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Sony Vaio C Series webcam

The C Series also features an integrated HD webcam and an HDMI-out port that will support 3D output of videos or games to a 3D TV.

C Series notebooks all come with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit and a quick web start option, which promises to boot into an internet browser-only session in just 10 seconds. Booting from there into the main operating system will require a restart, though.

There is also an ambient light sensor that detects low-light conditions and switches on keyboard backlighting.

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Sony Vaio C Series availability

The devices also all come with what Sony describes as a "curvaceously sculpted" Bluetooth wireless mouse, plus detachable coloured keyboard skins.

The C Series will be available from 21 March, with prices starting at around £750.

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Sony Vaio F Series

The F Series is Sony's top-end multimedia machine and comes with a 16-inch full HD (1,920 by 1,080 pixels) 3D display. It also promises to upscale 2D movies and videos to 'simulated 3D' at the touch of a button.

Sony said that the screen will deliver a "super-fast" response time and wide viewing angle, as well as an up to 240fps refresh rate for a smooth viewing experience.

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Sony Vaio F Series specs

Under the bonnet, the F-series comes with an Intel i7 processor, 8GB DDR3 SDRAM, 640GB hard drive, Blu-ray disk drive and an Nvidia GeForce GT 540M graphics card with 1GB DDR3 VRAM and DirectX 11 support.

There is also Bluetooth 3.0 and two USB 3.0 ports on-board for faster data transfers.

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Sony Vaio F Series availability

Like the C Series, the F Series also has an ambient light sensor that controls the keyboard backlight. 3D video and gaming will require a pair of active shutter (3D) glasses.

Due to arrive from the end of February, the C Series will retail from around £1,800. Sony only aims to sell around 5,000 in the first batch for the whole of Europe, according to the company spokesperson.

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Sony Vaio L Series

The L Series is Sony's all-in-one multimedia desktop machine with a 24-inch full-HD touchscreen display, with an "Edge Access" touch-sensitive bezel around the outside of the screen. This allows users to touch the bezel, rather than clicking the mouse on screen, to carry out common tasks such as navigating the web, zooming in and out, closing windows and quickly jumping between windows.

Powering the L Series is an Intel i7 processor, 8GB DDR3 SDRAM, 1TB hard drive, and a Nvidia GeForce GT 540M, as well as the usual USB, Bluetooth (3.0) and Wi-Fi connectivity. It also comes with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

The 24-inch desktop can be used as a full-HD monitor for a PlayStation 3 or other HD source even when the PC is switched off, thanks to its HDMI input and output.

Pricing for the i7 model starts from around £1,500. Sony plans to create an Intel i5 version with 4GB of RAM for around £1,200, a company spokesman said. The L Series is expected to hit the shelves from early May.


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