Friday, August 01, 2008

Sony unveils new VAIO direction with 3 new notebook models

Computers are evolving so quickly nowadays and so is Sony as it attempts to raise computing to the next level and evolve its popular VAIO products to bring enriching personal experiences. Yesterday, I attended the media launch of 3 new Sony VAIO notebook lines at the beautiful Fullerton Hotel together with some bloggers hosted by my mate Ben from Hill & Knowlton.

Sony also introduced the media to its new slogan "Closer to you" and VAIO now stands for "Visual Audio Intelligent Organizer". Both symbolise Sony's continued aspirations to push the technology envelope to bring computing closer to its customers.

The 3 new notebook lines launched yesterday by Sony are the VAIO Z, VAIO FW and VAIO SR series, each featuring unique technologies that make it relevant to different customers.

VAIO Z_front_left_noCam_withFP - Share on Ovi

The VAIO Z series is Sony's flagship notebook. Powered by Intel Centrino 2 Processor Technology, it weighs at a mere 1.48 kg and it is 10% smaller than previous models thanks to its new 12-layer high-density mounting board. It has two graphics processors – NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS GPU for full graphics acceleration and Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD for maximum mobile usage – that users can switch from one to another easily without rebooting the system. You can choose SPEED (full graphics acceleration) or STAMINA (maximum battery life) mode. The VAIO Z has a light yet durable carbon fibre body and a scratchless super slim 13.1-inch Clear Tough LCD display, which has a 16:9 aspect ratio at 1600 x 900 pixels.

The VAIO Z comes in two models: the VGN-17GN/B that ships with Intel Core 2 Duo Processor P9500 (2.53 GHz), 4GB DDR3 SRAM and a 320GB hard disk drive and the VGN-16GN/B comes with Intel Core 2 Duo Processor P8600 (2.40 GHz), 2GB DDR3 SRAM and a 250GB hard disk drive. The VAIO Z series will be available in Singapore from September 2008.

VAIO FW_front_right_white - Share on Ovi

While the VAIO Z is aimed at meeting the demands of executives searching for the ultimate in mobile computing, the VAIO FW series is the ultimate entertainment notebook. It has an impressive 16.4-inch wide Clear Bright LCD [Rich Colour] display with the same 16:9 aspect ratio of HD LCD TVs and produces a remarkable 1600 x 900 resolution for beautiful playback of HD-format movies and personal HD videos. Selected models (VGN-FW13GU/H) comes with Blu-ray Disc drive that has both read and write capability, allowing users to store up to 50GB of HD video content on a single disc. All models come with Dolby Sound Room suite pre-installed, dedicated AV control buttons conveniently located at the top of the keyboard, an HDMI interface for easy connection to HD LCD TVs and a super-sharp, 1280 x 1024-pixel MOTION EYE camera.

The VAIO FW series comes in two models: the VGN-FW13GU/H is powered by Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T9400 (2.53 GHz) with 4 GB DDR2 SDRAM and 320 GB hard disk drive and the VGN-FW12G/B,W has an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor P8400 (2.26 GHz), 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM*3 (upgradeable up to 4 GB) and 250 GB hard disk drive.

The VAIO FW series will be available in Singapore from August 2008 at an estimated recommended retail price starting from S$2,499. It is available in Titanium Grey, White and Black.

VAIO SR_FrontandBack_Pink - Share on Ovi

Lastly, the third new VAIO line is the VAIO SR series. It features a never-before-seen “Switch” function that instantly changes the notebook’s personality to match different usage needs. The “Switch” function is pre-configured with three modes, all of which are customisable with drag-and-drop ease, giving users the freedom to quickly tailor the notebook for optimal usability. For example, when at work, a simple press on the conveniently located Mode key sets the desktop and five programmable buttons for business tasks. At home, another press on the key transforms the VAIO SR into a full-featured home entertainment centre.

The VAIO SR also comes equipped with a 13.3-inch Clear Bright LCD display, MOTION EYE camera and microphone and utilises HDD Protection, a safety feature that secures the disk head in the event the machine is bumped or dropped while running. It is slim and weighs less than 2 kg.

The VAIO SR series comes in two models, both powered by Intel Core 2 Duo Processor P8400 (2.26 GHz): VGN-SR13GN/B,/S,/P has 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM (upgradeable up to 4 GB) and 250 GB hard disk drive and the VGN-SR12G/B,/S,/P comes with 1 GB DDR2 SDRAM (upgradeable up to 4 GB) and 200 GB hard disk drive.

The VAIO SR series will be available in Singapore from August 2008 at an estimated recommended retail price starting from S$2,199. It is available in Black, Silver and Pink.

In addition to the hardware advancements made by Sony, the new (and future) VAIO notebooks also feature software technology that makes sense to consumers. These smart applications include VAIO Media Plus, VAIO Music Box and VAIO Movie Story. Richardson Lau from Sony Singapore was kind enough to demo two of them for me.

The VAIO Music Box (video above) allows users to go beyond navigating their music by Artist, Album, Year and Genre. The software has the ability to analyse chord, tempo, mood and melody to give 24 different playlist channels which may describe the mood that the user is in such as “Rainy Day”, “Meditation” or “Energized”.

The powerful VAIO Movie Story application (video above) users to get creative with their video clips, digital photos and music collection. Through just three simple steps, users are able to create professional-looking movie clips that family and friends can enjoy.

More pics here.

Update: You can also read this post on Computer Shopper here.

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