Sony Ultrabook, All-In-One PC Sets New Standards

New, Fresh E-Series

The CRN Test Center on June 4 visited Sony's Wonder Technology Lab in New York City to be present for the unveiling of eight new or significantly redesigned devices, with which Sony's setting new standards.

Among the wonders on display were three new Vaio E-Series laptops. Starting at $449 list, the 11.6-inch unit is built around an AMD processor. The low-end model in Sony's high-value line is the only one E-Series SKU without a backlit keyboard. It also comes in black.

Pretty In Pink

In addition to black and white models, Sony adds a splash of pink in the mid-end 14.4-inch unit, which starts at $559 list. The extra $100 buys a backlit keyboard, a discrete AMD Radeon graphics controller and several Sandy Bridge processor options, including Core i3 and i5. There's also a premium edition starting at $699 that offers Ivy Bridge and quad-core processor options. It also comes in red, blue or gold.

The Low End's High-End

At the top of Sony's new economy-level laptop line is the 15.5-inch unit starting at $649 with an Ivy Bridge processor. It's virtually identical to the 14-inch premium model in terms of size, shape, ports and processor options. Both have USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, multiple video output ports, a gigabit Ethernet port and Blu-ray and DVD options. The E15 offers more video choices, including an AMD Radeon 7550 dedicated graphics controller with as much as 2 GB of video RAM. Sony's E-series are not the thinnest or lightest of laptops, but their value prices and adequate computing power will appeal to cash-strapped students.

S Is For Slot-Load

Sony's Vaio S-Series systems feature slot-load DVD or Blu-ray drives and Ivy Bridge processors with discrete Nvidia graphics controller options, and they're as light as can be thanks to the magnesium, aluminum and carbon-fiber materials they're built with. The 13.3-inch S13 weighs 3.8 pounds and starts at $799 with gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Intel Wireless Display technology, a multimedia card reader, HDMI, VGA, and USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports. And, they come in a variety of colors: black, white, silver and pink.

More Power, Less Pink

Starting at $999, the 15.5-inch S15 adds to the S13's features a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor option along with solid-state hard drive options up to 512 GB. Both S-Series units have 4 GB of fixed memory on the motherboard, with the option of adding 8 GB more for a total of 12 GB. It's available with Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, but there's no pink model.

Bravo Sony All-In-One

Sony incorporates many of its great technologies into its L Series, an all-new all-in-one. For a starting list price of $1,299, the L Series combines Sony's Bravia display engine with a high-definition television tuner, 24-inch HD multipoint touch-sensitive LCD panel with LED backlight, Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of DDR3/1333MHz memory, 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium, and Blu-ray/DVD-R drive. It also touts a wireless keyboard, mouse and remote, and comes with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and gigabit Ethernet. Options include an Intel Core i7 quad-core Ivy Bridge processor. There's also a dedicated USB media slot that automatically consumes whatever pictures, audio or video media it finds there, without starting up the PC. The VESA-compliant pedestal can make way for a wall mount. And to top it off, a glasses-free 3D version is coming later this year, the company said.

Sony's Special Ultrabook

Although it was but a small part of Sony's larger road show, the T Series all but stole the show. Sony's first laptop built to the Ultrabook spec is something special. This sleek, ultra lightweight unit, and its bright 13.3-inch LED, is clad in beautiful brushed aluminum and magnesium.

Measuring just 0.71 inches when closed and about 12 x 9 inches around, it weighs in at 3.5 pounds. Yet it still manages to pack HDMI and VGA outputs, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and gigabit Ethernet, as well as a USB 3.0 port that's powered at all times. But the best part is that Sony's Ultrabook starts at $799, about $200 less than most others. And that includes an Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor, 4 GB of DDR3 memory (upgradable to 8 GB) and 64-bit Windows 7. When Windows 8 becomes available, Sony will offer an upgrade for $15.

Made In Japan

Long before the first Ultrabook devices began hitting the streets, Sony offered the Z Series, its own lightweight, ultra-portable, ultra-powerful laptop for the mobile power-user. This week the company unveiled a 15th anniversary special edition of the vaunted Z Series, with glossy carbon fiber casing, a 1,920 x 1,080 full HD 13.3-inch display, solid-state flash RAID drives and optional quad-core Ivy Bridge processor. With a starting list of around $1,599, the Z Series anniversary edition brings a new cache to the phrase "Made in Japan," which is emblazoned proudly on the unit's edge. Just 0.66 inches thick and about 13 x 8 inches around, the Z Series works with an optional dock with integrated hard drive to connect to as many as three additional monitors. It's available in black and gold.

More Ultrabook Coverage From CRN

30 Years In The Channel:
Sony Intros New 'Vaio T' Series
Intel Redefines Ultrabook Category
Lenovo Broadens Ultrabook Line