If you cried when Sony discontinued its performance-heavy VAIO F Series, it looks like the company’s marketing team heard your complaints: Sony just announced the VAIO E17, the closet thing it’s had to a proper multimedia machine since discontinuing the F line. As the name suggests, the E17 (pictured) has a 17-inch panel, which is good news for anyone who’s gone shopping for an oversized notebook lately — there simply aren’t that many non-gaming-laptops this size. As befits a system in this class, it has a 1080p screen, and can be configured with a quad-core Core i7 processor and discrete AMD Radeon HD graphics. Meanwhile, Sony also announced that it’s going to offer the existing VAIO E14P with a touchscreen — a $100 upgrade. Look for both of these to land before the end of the month, with the E14P starting at $690 (sans touchscreen) and the E17 going for $730 and up.
In case you haven’t noticed, Sony just announced pricing for all sorts of touch-friendly Windows 8 products — namely, the VAIO Duo 11, Tap 20 and the E14P multimedia laptop. But not everything in the company’s lineup needs to have a touchscreen. The outfit just announced the VAIO T14, a reasonably priced 14-inch Ultrabook that you’ll have to use the old-fashioned way: with a keyboard and trackpad. So far as we can tell, it’s the same metal-and-plastic industrial design as the existing T13, except now the speakers sit above the keyboard, instead of on the front edge.
As you can imagine, the 14-inch version (pictured above) is a bit thicker and heavier than the 13-inch model (3.77 pounds, up from 3.54), which means the chassis is now wide enough to accommodate an optical drive. What’s slightly disappointing, though, is that while the T14 has a larger footprint, it doesn’t add any additional ports. As with the T13, you get two USB ports (one 3.0, one 2.0), HDMI output, an Ethernet jack, audio-out and a VGA socket. Another USB connection or two would’ve been nice, is all.
In addition to announcing the T14, Sony also revealed that it will start offering the T13 with an optional touchscreen — a $100 upgrade you can add during the configuration process. (Sony’s Japanese and UK divisions already announced a touch-enabled version of the T13, but until now it was unclear whether it would ever go on sale in the US.) As you might have guessed, that touchscreen adds a few ounces to the weight. The upside, though (aside from having a touchscreen, if that’s what you’re into) is that it has a prettier, edge-to-edge glass display — a definite improvement over that standard wide bezel. (Check out the shot after the break to see what we mean.) The T13 will continue to sell for $670 and up, with the touch option becoming available this month. The T14 will also go on sale in the coming weeks starting at at $670.
Sony is using its latest product announcement to trim the fat off of its line-up, and one of the casualties will be its multimedia-centric VAIO F Series. Of course, the company won’t be ditching entertainment laptops altogether — it’s just consolidating the VAIO F line into the VAIO S Series, specifically the VAIO S 15. To further confuse the switch-up, the VAIO SE (that’s E for entertainment) is also being folded into the new S 15. Identity confusion aside, what you get here is a 15.5-inch, 1080p IPS display, NVIDIA graphics with up to 2GB of VRAM and various Ivy Bridge processor options (up to a quad-core Core i7 CPU). The 15-inch S Series will start at $1,000 and will be available in black and silver. Sony says it’s good for light gaming, and especially media streaming and programs like AutoCAD. Like the other new VAIO systems, the S 15 will be available this month. Check out the gallery and press info below.
In addition to all the other new laptops it announced today, Sony refreshed its mid-range S Series with a new look, and consolidated its two 13-inch models, the SA and SB lines, into one model, now called the VAIO S13. (There’s also a more business-oriented version called the S13p, which we’ll tell you about in just a moment). Thanks to a magnesium, aluminum and carbon fiber construction, it’s fairly lightweight, at 3.8 pounds. Spec-wise, Sony went with Core i5 and i7 Ivy Bridge processors, though this time around, it’s missing switchable graphics — at least on the S13. That machine now has integrated graphics only, though the business-centric S13p will be offered with an NVIDIA GPU with up to 2GB of VRAM. The S13p also sets itself apart with features the IT guy might appreciate, including TPM, a fingerprint reader and a hard drive accelerometer.
Across the board, the S13 should last up to about seven hours on a charge, or 14 if you add an optional sheet battery. Also, the company will sell an external docking station with a built-in 500GB hard drive and built-in battery — a first for Sony. We’re told the dock will cost $189, and that you can use it even with the sheet battery attached to the laptop. The S13 and S13p will go on sale this month, starting at $900 and $1,200, respectively. Though the more consumer-friendly S13 will be available in black, silver white and pink, the buttoned-up S13p comes in a more staid palette: black, gold and “Gun Metal.”
Sony refreshes VAIO Z series with Ivy Bridge, price now starts at $1,600 without the docking station
In case you didn’t notice, Sony completely revamped its laptop lineup this morning. Unlike some of the other models on offer, the high-end Z series didn’t get a redesign, but Sony at least took the opportunity to refresh it with new Ivy Bridge processors. Oh, and lower the starting price. The Z will no longer be bundled with the Power Media Dock, that external hub housing both a discrete GPU and optical drive. As such, the laptop will now start at $1,600, down from $2,000, while the dock will retail for an additional $400. Spec-wise, the Z still weighs a scant 2.6 pounds, but it’s now constructed from carbon fiber and will be offered with a glossy finish. It will also be available with quad-core Ivy Bridge CPUs, though the starting model’s processor is dual-core. Otherwise, it offers nearly the same specs as the model we reviewed last year, including a 1080p display and solid-state RAID drives. Look for the refresh sometime this month, and in the meantime we’ve included pics below to jog your memory on what this guy looks like.
While they may not be the Sony ultrabooks we’re still all itching to see, the company’s E Series 14P laptops have reappeared with some Ivy Bridge bones. According to Sony Australia, the previously Intel Core i3 processor has been bulked up to a third-generation 2.1GHz Core i7-3612QM, capable of 3.1GHz with Turbo Boost. That’s not the only difference, with the 14-inch display boosted to 1600 x 900 and a new choice between AMD’S Radeon HD 7670M or Intel’s HD Graphics 4000 to provide the graphical horse power in the updated hardware. The aluminum-splashed laptops, priced at $1,500 AUD (around $1,608 USD), will still house Sony’s Gesture Control functions. This should allow you to navigate around websites and media playback with some arm flailing — provided you’re using Microsoft perennials like Internet Explorer 9 and Windows Media Player. These updated specs are tinged with some (minor) bad news; it looks like the pink iteration won’t be getting the same improvements seen on the black and white models. Regardless, monochrome fans can hit up the source for all the new details.
Black, bezeled and rectangular? That’s pretty much the go-to design for tablets nowadays. But lately Sony’s been straying from the pack and taking a different aesthetic tack, which it recently showcased with the Tablet S and P. On the showroom floor at CES, however, the company had two newer models secured behind glass to give consumers a sense of future form factors. These prototypes — known prospectively as the Hybrid and Slate — fall under the Vaio brand and clearly highlight an exciting direction for the Japanese electronics giant’s impending offerings.
The Hybrid’s most distinctive feature is its marriage of laptop functionality with tablet portability. Sliding the unit up and locking it into place reveals a keyboard in front (shown with a dedicated Windows button) and an expansive speaker grill behind. The company wouldn’t elaborate on the materials used in the enclosure, but that sparkly, copper color manages to toe the line between cheap and space age — a definite contradiction, for sure. At the base of the 11-inch unit is a dock that fits an included stylus, as this tablet is being designed to support touch pen input, in addition to the typical capacitive touch. None of the ports on the device are final, but when and if it ever ships, you can expect the usual array.
For a true glimpse into the next generation of tablet manufacturing, you need only look to Sony’s tablet Slate — the real stunner of this conceptual duo. With its use of a smart, soft touch flexible material — the company refused to elaborate on just what — that extends from the unit’s back for easy table top mounting, it’s easy to see a product like this setting consumers’ interest on fire and nabbing that lust-worthy tech crown. Unfortunately, this particular scifi casing is more than likely a few years off, but it’s good to see the company innovating and attempting to break free from the shackles of ordinary builds. The Slate is also designed to work with a wireless keyboard that shares the same intelligent material and appears to incorporate a touch interface. Click on through the galleries below for a tour of these two proof of concepts and make sure to click on past the break for a brief video tour.
Sony barreled into CES earlier this year flaunting a 3D monster laptop boasting a 16-inch 1080p display, a built-in 3D transmitter and a fancy button that promised to instantly add an extra dimension to your boring “regular” 2D movies. It was the latest in the outfit’s VAIO F Series, and it was ready to snatch $2,000 straight out of your wallet — but not all of us can throw down that kind of scratch. Still looking for a suitably powerful desktop-replacement that won’t decimate your bank account? That same 2011 VAIO F Series rig just might be your ticket, sans 3D trickery — and knocked down to a base price of $980. Does this somewhat more budget-friendly variant still pack enough punch to knockout your hefty desktop PC? Let’s find out.
We hate to break it to you, dear readers, but we’re in the throes of back to school season. In a few short weeks, lots of wide-eyed freshmen will be setting up their dorm rooms and begging off name games during orientation, which means they (and their generous parents) are stocking up on gear now. We’ve been testing a bunch of budget and mid-range laptops aimed at young folk and pretty much any other mainstream consumer who’d happily forgo some bells and whistles in exchange for a lower price. So why not start with a review of one of the best? Sony’s VAIO SB series is the 13-inch laptop for the kindele who can’t afford the VAIO Z, or even the slimmed-down SA series. It offers good specs for the money, a bright, matte display, a solid keyboard, long battery life and a (mostly) well-built design. And while we try not to spoil our reviews, we’ll say this: it’s one of our favorite mid-range Windows laptops, period. How much do we like the SB? Join us as we count the ways.
The folks at Sony clearly couldn’t decide whether they wanted to give the world a new 3D HDTV or desktop PC — and thus the latest addition to the VAIO L all-in-one line was born. The newly announced system plays television and features a 24-inch 3D multitouch display, a Blu-ray player, a bezel with built-in touch controls, 1080p HD playback, USB 3.0, and an HDMI port, so you can plug your PS3 into the thing. The system will start hitting stores on July 13th, for around $1,420, a price that includes a wireless keyboard and mouse, plus one pair of active shutter 3D glasses. Thankfully, you won’t need those to view the press release after the break.