Alongside the too-tiny-to-be-real TT series, and the so-large-it'll-tear-off-your-shoulder AW17 Vaios, Sony's also announced a new mid-sized series of Vaio Notebooks — the CS series. According to Sony's rather hyperbolic press release, they "explore the space where technology and fashion interact". Or in other words, they're as much about being pretty as being functional.
Sony's offering the Vaio CS series in a variety of fashion colours, specifically Gloss Pink, Gloss White, Gloss Black, Gloss Red and Gloss Bronze. If they hadn't decided to offer one sedate coloured model — in Matte Black — they could have done without the Gloss prefix altogether, really.
Under the hood, you'll find Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 2.26GHz processors, 2GB of RAM, a 120GB hard drive and a standard DVD drive, all being powered along on Windows Vista Home Premium. Like other recently announced Vaios, they feature Sony's "12 Tone Analysis" music feature, giving you yet another way to categorise your music and quickly create playlists.
The CS series' real eye-catching feature is a glowing panel that Sony claims has "artificial intelligence" (we know a few computer programmers who might take issue with that claim) via a touch sensitive panel in the lid of the notebook. The idea is that when you touch the lid to open it, the full colour LED panel in the base lights up and comes to life.
Do we really need to point out the potential embarrassment when you show people that your laptop really "comes alive" when you stroke its "special area"?
Actually, if it was just a brief light, that might be OK, but Sony's taken it a little further. Stroke the lid, and the base glows in response, like some mutant child of an actual notebook and a Philips Ambilight TV. Because presumably there are people out there who enjoy rubbing notebooks in public.
On a more serious note, we'd hate to be next to one of these things on a plane; while they're small enough to be portable, the glowing lights while we're trying to sleep might just drive us insane.
If you do embarrass easily, you can buy the CS series without the glowing touch panel at all. You'll save yourself AU$200 (a fairly large percentage of the asking price) along the way, but you'll also have to do without the gloss finish, as the non-touch panel version (officially the CS15) is available in Matte Black only. Clearly, fashion hurts.
We'll have to save our final verdict for when we've had a chance to fully test the CS series — and once we've worked out if we're brave enough to be seen practising notebook frottage in public. The CS series notebooks will be available from 23 October, with a list price of AU$1,499 for the Matte Black CS15 and AU$1,699 for the gloss CS16 versions.