New Vaio Fit laptops offered by Sony offer optional touchscreens and aggressive pricing. The company is also offering beefed up Vaio All-in-One Tap 20 and L Series PCs and the Vaio T Series 15 Ultrabook. All carry the Windows 8 operating system.
Aimed at students and business uses looking for a premium design that doesn't break the bank, the Vaio Fit and Fit E aim to compete with Apple. Sony emphasized design with its new models, which are thin and lightweight, and run third-generation (Ivy Bridge) Intel Core processors.
The Fit E is the more cost-conscious version aimed at a younger audience, with "big box" speakers but a plastic chassis, while the Fit uses aluminum for the body.
Sony borrowed some talent from its TV engineers for the Fit line. The laptops feature high-resolution displays: full HD (1920x1080) on the Fit 15 model and HD+ (1600x900) on the Fit 14 model, as well as color enhancement technology. Consumers can opt for a capacitive touchscreen. The LED backlight offers bright display while conserving battery life.
Windows Blue Impact?
Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, said the Fit laptops are high design, comparable with Apple's design language.
"The Fit line has touch capabilities and sells at a price that's in the target range at which we thought the products would move. The initial Windows 8 products were probably about $400 above most other products in the market. The end result was that those products didn't really move very well," Enderle said.
The Fit 14 and 15 are available in about a week for $649 and $699. The Fit 14E and Fit 15E are available for about $549 and $579.
"Sony has dropped the price of these products right in the sweet spot and that should give us a real test to see if people will accept the product at a price point where they had historically been buying," Enderle told us. "But I'm curious to see if these products are going to have as big an impact as it might have had if we hadn't known Windows Blue is on the way."
Meanwhile, family tabletop Vaio Tap 20 PC has been refreshed. It now comes more, with pre-loaded Sony Imagination Studio Vaio Edition software and Intel Wireless Display that lets consumers stream their computer screen directly to a compatible big screen HDTV.
The Vaio T Series 15 Ultrabook features a full HD (1920x1080) 15-inch touchscreen with backlit keyboard and integrated number pad. Sony said users can create presentations, edit and watch videos and surf multiple windows without sacrificing mobility.
Finally, powered by Sony's Bravia Engine with the X-Reality chip, the Vaio L Series All-in-One high-definition PC/TV offers touch access to the Internet, movies, music and photos. Built for multitasking, the L Series includes a TV Tuner with picture in picture functionality, allowing users to watch TV while on the PC.
The Vaio Tap 20, T Series 15 and L Series are also available this month for about $899, $849 and $1,249 at Sony retail stores and other authorized dealers nationwide.