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New Sony VAIO laptops slim down and get colourful

Sony previews the first new VAIO laptops of 2011, plus an all-in-one PC with innovative touch-sensitive bezel.

Sony yesterday hosted a hands-on preview with three new models. The main announcement was the refreshed S-series, a slim ultraportable business machine that weighs less than 1.8kg. With a 13.3in display, backlit keyboard and optional 3G internet, it also supports Sony’s new second battery. Although there weren’t any on display, the second battery slots into the bottom of the laptop and doubles the time it can last away from the mains. As it has the same footprint as the laptop itself, it shouldn’t change the appearance, or unbalance the laptops, as many oversized batteries can.

Sony VAIO C silver side

We’ve already seen a model from the refreshed C-series range, but Sony had the remaining four colour options on display. The orange and lime green versions both use “light-emitting” translucent plastic that emulates a glowing effect under any light source.

Sony VAIO C Pink

Finally, the range-topping F series can be heavily configured on Sony’s website, with options including a Blu-ray optical drive and a 3D display, but expect these to dramatically increase the price of the laptop. We’ve secured an early sample, so check back soon for a full review.

All three new models will be available with hybrid graphics, USB3, a choice of Intel’s newest processors and Sony’s Fast Boot technology, which should significantly reduce start-up times. They should be on sale in the UK by March.

Sony VAIO L touchscreen

As well as the new laptops, Sony also demonstrated a new all-in-one touchscreen PC. The Full HD 24in VAIO L includes a touch-sensitive bezel with several hotkeys designed to make Windows navigation much easier. Because many Windows user interface elements are small and impractical for touch-based navigation, part of the bezel is dedicated to closing active windows and launching the start menu. A neat ripple effect follows your finger as you drag it around the bezel, but until we get some more time with the system it’s difficult to say if it will genuinely improve the touchscreen experience on Windows 7.