Photos: Hands-on with the Sony Vaio BZ Series (VGN-BZ11VN)

We've got the beef on Sony's most impressive and affordable business Vaio laptop, the BZ Series, built with Intel Centrino 2 and vPro technology, so tech support should be pretty chuffed if no one else

Just when you thought 30 pages of laptops in one day was enough, we present to you the last model in the new Sony Vaio range -- the Vaio BZ Series, more specifically known as the entry-level VGN-BZ11MN, the VGN-BZ11XN and the top-end VGN-BZ11VN.

If you've been reading the rest of our hands-on coverage of the new Sony Vaios , it may not come as the biggest surprise in the world to learn that Intel Centrino 2 CPU s are the hamsters running the wheels inside the BZ Series, starting at speeds of 2.26GHz and maxing out at a tasty 2.4GHz.

This meaty son-of-a-bitmap comes encased in a chassis built from magnesium, weighing in at 2.6kg. The native 1,440x900-pixel resolution of the BZ's 15.4-inch screen isn't designed for maximising the enjoyment of watching movies on the go. The lack of a Blu-ray drive even in the top-end model only furthers that opinion.

Instead, with an opening price point of roughly £799, Sony's essentially pitching this as the kind of businesstop (yeah, we made up a word) that could be deployed en masse around the office, given its decent spec, solid build and, above all, the emphasis on security and what we hope will be reliability.

Note that there are some key differences between the BZ Series and every other new Vaio model we've seen launched this week. Firstly, the more traditional, spill-resistant keyboard design -- the isolated construction of the Z Series, FW Series and SR Series is nowhere to be seen here.

Secondly, the use of Intel's vPro technology. This PC management system is tightly integrated into the hardware of the laptop, meaning IT support can remotely address issues without relying on the common software solutions seen on the market. The vPro technology even allows remote management commands to be obeyed when the machine is switched off or locked-up by Windows.

Hard disk shock-protection and fingerprint recognition should help ensure tight security and reliability away from the office.

In addition to the top-end 2.4GHz CPU, specs max out at 4GB of RAM, a 200GB 7,200rpm hard disk, DVD-RAM optical drive, onboard Intel graphics and 802.11a/b/g and Draft-N Wi-Fi. A 1.3-megapixel integrated camera should help with video conferences, too.

Three flavours will be available depending on what specifications you require: the £799 VGN-BZ11MN, the £899 VGN-BZ11XN, and the £999 VGN-BZ11VN. All will be available later this year, and we'll have exact dates and full reviews for you as soon as physically possible, so do check back.

Until then, enjoy the gallery over the next few pages that covers various design features up-close and personal. -Nate Lanxon

Update: Read our full Sony Vaio VGN-BZ11MN review here.

 

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