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New Sony Vaio F, S series laptops go upscale

Sony's latest Vaio F and S series laptops add high-end Web cameras and media-friendly features at prices that hover around those of Apple's laptops.

Sony Vaio S: another thin 13-incher worth considering.
Sony Vaio S: another thin 13-incher worth considering. Sony

Sony laptops generally tend to be particularly good at being two things: big, high-end media experiences, and small, slim executive powerhouses. The new Vaio F and S series laptops, announced today, offer a bit of both for laptop shoppers willing to spend over $1,000.

The 13.3-inch Vaio S series is only .95 inch thick, and also relatively light: just 3.6 pounds, despite having an optical drive. The closest equivalent we can think of is the Toshiba Portege R835. Unlike the Portege, the Vaio S has a higher-resolution display--1,600x900 pixels--and optional discrete graphics. The Vaio S comes with a second-gen Intel Core i7 CPU and optional AMD Radeon HD 6630 Hybrid graphics, and a wide variety of high-end features such as optional Blu-ray, a backlit keyboard, and a face-tracking low-light Exmor-sensor Web camera.

The Vaio F in white.
The Vaio F in white. Sony

Meanwhile, the new Vaio F series laptop is a super-size beast that probably won't stray far from your desk. A 16.4-inch, 1080p, 1,920x1,080 display, 3D front-surround Dolby Home Theater speakers, a Blu-ray optical drive, Nvidia GeForce GT 540M or 520M graphics, and the same high-end Exmor-sensor Web camera are part of an attractive package that includes a quad-core second-gen Intel Core i7 CPU.

The look is similar to the new F series laptops we first saw at CES 2011, but at least this 3D-free version costs less than the 3D Vaio F.

The Vaio S series starts at $1,370, and is available in four colors including the newly added pink and blue. A sheet battery for extra charging costs $150.

The Vaio F series will start at $1,100. Both are currently available for preorder on Sony's Web site. Hopefully, we'll have both in for review soon.