Sony has just announced the update of its Vaio S Series of laptops. The Series S is typically split in two sub-categories: S/B, for the more affordable systems, and S/A for the premium ones. The S/B line will get an Intel Core i3 option which allows Sony to bring the starting price down to $899. Yet, Sony considers the Vaio S/B (with Core i5, $969) to be a direct competitor of the Macbook Pro 13″ ($1199) with equivalent options. The Vaio S/B has a 1366×768, anti-glare by default (it’s a $150 add-on for the MBP 13).
The chassis of the Vaio S is not made of aluminum, but it is lighter at 3.8lbs, versus 4.5 lbs for the MBP 13. In terms of battery life, Sony says that the internal battery lasts 7.5hrs, but has the option of adding a hot-swappable, sheet battery that doubles the battery life of the laptop.
There are a couple of cool things with the external battery: The computer will always start by depleting the external battery so that users can remove it when it’s depleted and still have a working laptop. Also, it is smart enough to quickly charge both batteries to 80% first, giving a relatively quick 160% of battery life (between both batteries). The reason is that the last 20% of charge for each battery takes much more time.
The Vaio S/A Series is very similar to the S/B, with some notable differences: it gets an Exmor webcam sensor, which is really good in low-light. That’s the sensor used in the Xperia ARC smartphone. The display resolution climbs to 1600×900 and it is powered by a discrete GPU with 1GB of video memory.
The Vaio S/A has a backlit keyboard, fingerprint reader, Trusted Platform Module (TPM) hard drive encryption and an optional 3G connectivity (Verizon).
Business users can even opt for a docking station that is compatible with the external sheet battery described earlier. The Vaio S/A can be purchased with a standard HDD and supports up to a Quad-SSD option. Other power options like Blu-Ray (read and read/write) are available. The Vaio S/A series starts at $1349.