At CES 2010, we witnessed countless laptop manufacturers desperately trying to innovate their way out of a recession. Some were painting theirs with funky colours, while others adorned theirs with fancy audiophile speakers -- but not Sony. If its F series is anything to go by, its idea of innovation is yelling, "More power!" and laughing maniacally.

The F series is master of most trades. It's capable of editing video, playing games and functioning as a Blu-ray writer and playback device. The top of the line F (X) series has a 1.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU, up to 8GB of DDR3 1,066MHz memory and up to 640GB of disk space. There's a slightly slower model, known as the F (V) series, but that's no slouch either, thanks to its dual-core Core i5 CPU and a 6GB memory ceiling.

Both editions get some pretty potent graphics. Their 16.4-inch displays are stunning to behold and have sprawling 1,920x1,080-pixel resolutions -- perfect for playing Full HD Blu-ray movies on the 6x BD-R drive. Running games approaching such a high resolution is possible, too, thanks to a relatively potent Nvidia GeForce GT 330M graphics card, which has 1GB of dedicated GDDR3 graphics memory.

On the whole, the F series' equipment list paints a pretty picture, but numbers don't tell the full story. During our brief spell with the machine, it presented itself as a solidly built, beautifully designed machine that, despite being grey (or optional black), oozed sex appeal. We also loved its near-perfect chiclet keyboard -- which is backlit to allow accurate use in day or nighttime conditions -- and the dedicated numerical keypad for no-nonsense number punching.

The F series is available to buy today direct from Sony. The entry-level model will set you back a modest £759, while the Core i7 monster begins at £1,029. Keep it locked to CNET UK for full reviews as soon as test units become available.

Despite being grey, the F series is as hard as reinforced nails. It'll run all the latest 3D titles, spit out Blu-ray movies with one arm tied behind its back, and encode HD like a full-blooded desktop PC.
The keyboard is large, comfortable and comes with a dedicated numerical keypard -- perfect for filling out those tedious expense forms.
The keyboard is backlit, so you can use it in the dark just as accurately as you can in broad daylight.
To the right, the F series gets mic plus headphone and S/PDIF audio jacks, two USB ports and a Blu-ray writer drive.
The left gets ExpressCard, an eSata/USB combo port, HDMI out, D-Sub video out and Ethernet.


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