Sony takes a swing at Apple with new Vaio laptops

Sony is taking a swing at Apple by launching some sleek new laptops based on the newest chips from Intel.

The Sony Vaio F series laptop is the Windows-based equivalent of Apple’s MacBook Pro laptops. The machines are targeted at multimedia enthusiasts who want to watch movies, listen to music or play games while on the run.

The F series (pictured right) features a Blu-ray movie player that can play full high-definition movies in the 1080p screen format on a 16.4-inch widescreen display. It also has S-Force front surround 3D speakers and Dolby Home Theater audio. It uses Nvidia’s stand-alone GeForce GT540M graphics chips, has a backlit keyboard, and an HD web cam with an Exmor sensor for good low-light images.

The machine comes with a Vaio button to play your media with the new Media Gallery software. You can connect your Vaio laptop to a PlayStation 3 system or other Sony devices via a remote keyboard. The laptop has an Intel Core i7 quad-core microprocessor, USB 3.0 ports, a 750-gigabyte hard drive, and will be available for pre-sale on Sony’s site today. It comes in silver, matte black, or premium white. The laptop has an anti-glare screen and a magnesium alloy case. It costs $1,100 and gets around 7.5 hours of battery life.

You can also add an additional sheet battery to extend the battery life to 15 hours, for $150.

Sony’s S series is aimed at business travelers who want mobility, performance and power in a thinner and lighter laptop.

The S series (pictured right and below) have magnesium and aluminum materials and come in burnished brown, jet black or platinum silver colors. They have a built-in battery that can be coupled with a long sheet battery (as a paid option) for an operational life of up to 15 hours. With a solid state drive, the battery can last 16 hours.

Sony made the charger smart so that you can charge the optional sheet battery separately, attach it to the system, and have that sheet battery drain its charge first.

The laptop is 0.95 inches thin and weighs only 3.6 pounds with a standard battery. It has a 13.3-inch screen and uses the second-generation Intel Core i7 microprocessor. It has AMD Radeon HD 6630 1GB hybrid graphics, which delivers decent graphics performance without killing battery life.

The screen has a 1600×900 widescreen resolution and the keyboard is backlit. It has a built-in microphone and HD webcam that lets you hold video chats with friends. It also has a Blu-ray drive for watching movies and Intel Wireless Display 2.0, so you can display your laptop’s screen on a big-screen TV. The Vaio S series is available for pre-sale today at $1,370 and up. The sheet battery costs $150.

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