This week I attended the launch of the new business and consumer range of laptops from Sony Vaio.
Sadly I was unable to get my hands on one to give it a proper trial, but with retro ‘spaced' keyboards along with a lightweight build incorporating solid-state hard drives among the features, these are certainly aesthetically pleasing and comfortable to use.
I spoke to Chris Hirst, Vaio business category marketing manager at Sony UK, who explained that the business ‘Z', ‘Y' and ‘S' ranges have a price scale that takes into consideration the depreciation of value along with power, portability and materials.
So firstly to look at the S series, they weigh 2kg with a battery and are made from tough, yet lightweight magnesium alloy. They are powered by the latest generation of energy-efficient Intel Core processors and performance is boosted by up to 4GB of fast DDR3 RAM that gives plenty of space to run all of your applications.
It has a 13.3” Vaio display with LED backlight, while selected models feature a backlit keyboard with an ambient light sensor. The same light sensor adjusts screen brightness on all models for comfortable viewing while cutting power consumption.
There is also a multi-touch trackpad for comfortable, positive operation.
Built-in security features include advanced HDD protection that safeguards your data from disk crashes – even while you are booting up or preparing to go into hibernation mode.
Connectivity includes three USB ports and HDMI for enjoying your full HD media collection on a connected TV. Even if you are far away from a WiFi hotspot, optional Vaio Everywair 3G mobile broadband keeps you connected at download speeds up to 7.2Mbps.
The ‘Y' series is more lightweight at 1.8kg and it features magnesium alloy for extra strength and Vaio signature cylindrical hinge styling. It also features the same display as the ‘S' series, while selected models include Vaio Everywair 3G mobile broadband and the standard battery life is up to nine hours.
Finally the ‘Z' series, launched in mid January and due out in March, features Quad solid-state drives that can write data in parallel on a maximum of four SSDs. It weighs under 1.45kg and features a palm rest manufactured from a single, thick slab of aluminium.
This also features Vaio Everywair 3G mobile broadband, a 13.1” screen with LED backlighting, while the built-in ambient light sensor detects when ambient surroundings are dark, automatically switching on keyboard backlighting for accurate typing while dimming screen illumination to save power.
Hirst explained that there was a reason why the business range was sized this way. He said that while the netbook serves a purpose ‘it is not made for multi-tasking as you need resolution on the screen and power to do it'.
Hirst said: “These feature the new core processor from Intel and this is part of the core ethos, 3G is also installed across this range as we realise that people have smartphones and want WiFi capabilities. There are a lot of dongles available where it needs hardware, while this is convenient to connect to a wireless network.”
Commenting on the solid-state hard drive (SSD), Hirst said that SSD has been restricted by its size, and if you drop the computer the needle can hit the platter and break it. However with the SSD setup you are more protected, and with the sheer amount of process, you can get data out faster. He also commented that people do not backup enough, and this is another benefit to SSD.
In terms of security, Hirst said: “It includes fingerprint security, and also a trusted platform module to encrypt data. The fingerprint is 'huge' as you can log on to your banking website or applications or link any procedure to the fingerprint. This also comes with McAfee trial software.”