The VAIO YB series of AMD Fusion-powered notebooks that Sony showcased at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas are here. The VAIO YB series is certainly not the first on the market with AMD’s Fusion Zacate chips, but Sony has still managed to ensure that it stands out from similar offerings from HP and Lenovo. Before you hit the jump to find out what makes the YB series stand out, let me warn you a lot of you might not like Sony’s idea of towering above the competition.
For those of you who were betting on Sony announcing a PSP phone at CES: get ready to be disappointed and pay up. The company instead opted to push its “total 3D solution” by announcing a series of 3D products in the form of 27 new models of 3D Bravia TVs, 3D Blu-ray disc players and the Bloggie handycam. They also announced a 3D Vaio laptop that can be connected to 3D compatible TVs and can convert 2D to 3D in real time – with the push of a single button. The Vaio F-Series features a built-in 3D sync transmitter, 16” widescreen display, Sandy Bridge, USB 3.0 and comes bundled with 3D active glasses.
During their CES announcement, Sony stated that this is the year that 3D will become personal. They’re banking on further adaption of 3D with the Sony 3D cable network, 3net, due out in the coming months. 3net, part of a partnership with Imax and the Discovery Channel, is only part of the plan which includes 3D production of films – think Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – and should help to counter the argument by critics that 3D content hasn’t kept up with the hardware.
After launching back in January, Sony has taken a shrinking ray and aimed it at its Y Series Vaio laptop, which has now been reduced from 13.3 inches to 11.6 inches.
That's near netbook territory, but its guts are anything but. Inside the 11.6-inch Vaio you'll find an Intel Core i3 380UM processor clocked at 1.33GHz, up to 8GB of RAM, and a 320GB hard drive. Other accouterments include a 1366x768 resolution (the same as before), Bluetooth, Wireless-N, HDMI, and Windows 7 Home Premium.
Look for this one to launch in Japan later this month. No word on when it will ship stateside or for how much.
Sony’s VAIO L-series computers boast plenty of sex appeal, and this particular model boasts a 24-inch screen that’s one inch larger than the rest of the field (albeit with the same wide-screen resolution of 1920x1080). It’s not just a pretty face, either; its benchmark performance puts it a close second to the edgy-looking Lenovo. The VAIO’s $2,000 MSRP, however, renders it $600 more expensive than that machine, $320 pricier than HP’s TouchSmart 600 Quad, and more than twice as costly as MSI’s budget-friendly offering.
Sony tapped the same midrange desktop CPU that Lenovo did, Intel’s 2.66GHz Core 2 Quad 8400S, and paired it with an Intel P43 chipset and 6GB of DDR2/800 memory on a proprietary motherboard. Nvidia’s discrete mobile GeForce GT 240M GPU, with 1GB of dedicated memory, handles graphics duties. Sony’s VAIO Media Gallery makes good use of the touch-screen display, enabling you to produce slide shows and movies by dragging thumbnail images around with your fingertips. But Sony’s touch-screen software is much less comprehensive than HP’s offering.
Right about now Sony is wishing it had a real-life 'undo' button, but since no such thing exists, the Vaio laptop maker is doing the next best thing: Recalling hundreds of thousands of laptops.
All told, Sony is recalling some 535,000 Vaio notebooks around the globe due to a temperature-control defect, The Wall Street Journal reports. Left unchecked, the defect could cause excessive heat to build up and warp the laptop's chassis. In some rare instances, it's also possible that users could suffer skin burns, though there haven't been any burn complaints, Sony noted.
The widespread recall affects both F- and C-Series Vaio laptops sold since January 2010, including 259,000 laptops sold in the U.S., 103,000 in Europe, 120,000 in Asia, and 52,000 in Japan.
If you own one of the affected models, Sony says you can fix the problem yourself by downloading a program through your Vaio's update system or the company's website. If you don't want to go that route, Sony is offering to pick up the laptop and do the repair work for you.
An all-in-one PC for around $1,000? From Sony? And carrying the Vaio brand? As unlikely as all that sounds (collectively, anyway), Sony's Vaio J Touch All-in-One PC brings multi-touch to the masses for a lot less than what you might expect..
Sony's press release says pricing starts out at about $900 for the Vaio J series, though the pre-order product page shows the base model checking in at $1,100. That nets you a 21.5-inch full HD multi-touch screen display, Intel Core i3 350M (2.26GHz) processor, 4GB of DDR3-1066 memory, 500GB hard drive, Blu-ray drive, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, a memory card reader, and other odds and ends.
Starting at $1,550, Sony will bump you up to an Intel Core i7 620M processor (2.66GHz), 6GB of memory, and Nvidia GeForce 310M graphics with 512MB of dedicated video RAM.
Both models are expected to ship on or about June 25, 2010.
Don't go writing off sub-10-inch netbooks just yet, lest you overlook Sony's VAIO P series. Tablets, 10-inch netbooks, and increasingly faster and more functional smartphones be damned, Sony apparently thinks there's still a market for near-pocket sized netbooks, and to prove it, they've gone and updated their VAIO P series.
Lightweight and portable, Sony says their P series netbooks measure about the size of a business envelope and about as thin as a cell phone, while weighing a mere 1.4 pounds. There's now an optical touchpad complementing the central trackball, and it's the first notebook line from Sony with a built-in accelerometer.
According to Sony, you can browse through pictures, PDF documents, or navigate back and forth through your web browsing history by giving the VAIO a gentle shake. And like other handheld devices with a built-in accelerometer, the VAIO P series will switch between portrait and landscape mode depending on the device's orientation.
Other features include up to a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, up to 64GB of hard drive space, 2GB of DDR2 memory, SD memory card slot, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and various other odds and ends (full feature-set here).
Available in Onyx Black, Garnet Red, Crystal White, Gold, and Pink, the new VAIO P series will start shipping in the US this June starting at $800.
Don't assume that your next Vaio laptop will be built by Sony. In an interview with PC Pro, Ryosuke Akahane, deputy president of Sony Vaio's Business Group, announced a two-tier strategy for the company's laptop division. According to Akahane, Sony will continue to design and build Vaio laptops designed as "division one," while "division two" will be built by the company's partners.
All laptops will still carry Sony branding, as well as have the "taste of Vaio [and] the style of Vaio." Sony will have to approve all third party designs, which Akahane ensures will be just as reliable as division one laptops.
"The quality criteria itself is no different between division number one and division number two," Akahane explained.
So why the change? Put simply, the company wants to sell more laptops. Ten million to be exact, which is the goal Akhane laid out for 2010.
"We need a certain market share," Akhane said. "And if we don't have a certain market share, it's tough to survive."
Here's a recall you don't see very often. Sony, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, announced a voluntary recall of some AC adapters in use on certain all-in-one Vaio desktops and Vaio docking stations.
According to the safety notice, faulty insulation inside the AC adapter can fail over time, which then poses an electrical shock hazard. So far there have been four reports of the affected adapters short circuiting, none of which occurred in the U.S., but no one has been injured.
The recall affects AC adapter model VGP-AC19V17. These were supplied with certain all-in-one Vaio desktops (VGC-LT series and VGC-JS2 series) and Vaio docking stations (VGP-PRBX1 and VGP-PRFE1) sold through various outlets between September 200 through October 2009.
If you have one of these adapters, Sony advises turning off the PC and unplugging it right away. You can contact Sony for a replacement either by calling 877-361-4481, or by visiting the firm's website at esupport.sony.com/ac19adapter.
Sony is accepting pre-orders for its newest laptop, the Sony Vaio X Series. Though most would consider this a “netbook” solution due to its hardware, it might be one of the snazziest, albeit most expensive, looking netbooks on the market.
Sony managed to cram an 11.1” widescreen, up to 2GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD and a 2GHz Intel Atom processor into a half-inch body weighing 1.6 pounds. They piled up some extras too: internal Verizon Mobile Broadband, GPS, webcam, and memory card readers. Oh, did I forget to mention, you could get up to 14 hours of use out of the included, extended battery (up to 3.5 hours with the standard).
No doubt, the extended battery increases the size and weight of the book, but all-things-considered it may be worth it to be that long without a power cable.
The price tag is steep (starts at $1299) for netbook-grade performance. You can check out more pics and pre-order your own at the Sony Style site. Is the X Series too rich for your blood?