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Sony unveils four new VAIO lines

Sony launched the VAIO FW, VAIO Z, VAIO SZ, and VAIO BZ series laptops to coincide with Intel's Centrino 2 launch.

Check out that 16:9 aspect ratio CNET Networks

Not one to be left out of the Centrino 2fun, Sony released details about its newest VAIO laptops on Monday evening. The announcement included multiple configurations within four lines: the 16.4-inch VAIO FW, the 13.3-inch VAIO SR, the 13.1-inch VAIO Z, and the 15.4-inch VAIO BZ.

Among the new systems, the VAIO FW certainly wins the award for novelty. Its 16.4-inch display is still somewhat unusual, though thanks to a push from display manufacturers we expect to see more laptops in this size going forward. The screen provides the 16:9 aspect ratio that's perfect for playing HD content from the optional Blu-ray drive (there's also HDMI-out if you prefer to watch on an HDTV). Even with the larger screen, the VAIO FW weighs just over 6 pounds, about the same as the 15.4-inch VAIO FZ series. Models in the VAIO FW series will be available later this month at prices starting at $1,000; we've posted a full review of the Blu-ray-less VAIO FW140 ($1,150).

Available in five colors (including two shades of pink), the VAIO SR series features a 13.3-inch backlit-LED display and weighs just over 4 pounds. This strictly consumer line incorporates a Webcam and microphone as well as hard drive shock protection. Pricing starts at $1,400, and configurations will be available at the end of the month.

The 13.1-inch VAIO Z series is the ultraportable of the bunch; its carbon-fiber case weighs just over 3 pounds. As might be expected from a laptop for road warriors, the VAIO Z features hard drive shock protection, a fingerprint reader, Trusted Platform Module, and a password-protected hard drive. Less expected for such a small machine are the Blu-ray drive and HDMI-out port. A 128GB solid-state drive and WWAN round out the available options. Pricing for the VAIO Z series starts at $1,800 (solid-state versions start at $2,300) with expected availability in August.

Finally, for the mainstream business user, Sony announced the 15.4-inch VAIO BZ. Weighing in just under 6 pounds, the VAIO BZ series includes such business-friendly features as hard drive shock protection, a spill-resistant keyboard, and a magnesium-alloy case. It's also the only VAIO announced today to incorporate Intel's vPro management software and ship with Sony's small-business-focused VAIO Care support package. The VAIO BZ series will become available later this month, with prices starting at $1,000.

Full specs and more details are available at the company's Web site.