Sony Unveils Four Centrino 2-Powered Notebook Lines: BZ, FW, SR, Z Series

Today is all about Centrino 2, and Sony gets in on the processor party with several new VAIO lines built around Intel’s new platform: the Sony VAIO BZ, FW, SR, and Z series. Business users will appreciate the Sony VAIO BZ series (approximately $900, pictured right), which is powered, naturally, by Intel’s Centrino 2 chipset. The notebooks in this series are equipped with plenty of slots, jacks, and ports including an SD/Memory Stick slot, three USB 2.0 ports, FireWire, and a PC Card (Type II) slot. Security is also taken into account with the inclusion of TPM and a biometric fingerprint reader. The BZ line comes preinstalled with Windows Vista Business but can be downgraded to Windows XP. But the BZ series is just the tip of the iceberg. Join us after the jump for the other members of Sony’s Centrino 2 family. The Sony VAIO VGN-FW series of multimedia machines (starting at approximately $1,000) feature a theater-inspired 16:9, 16.4-inch (1600 x 900-pixel) display that serves up more on-screen space for watching flicks or working on documents. The FW series also has dedicated multimedia controls, 250GB of storage, HDMI, FireWire, and VGA ports, 3 USB 2.0 ports, an ExpressCard/34 slot, SD/Memory Stick Duo slot, an integrated 1.3-MP webcam, 802.11n Wi-Fi, 2GB of RAM, a 6X DVD±R DL drive, Dolby Surround Room Audio, Bluetooth, and the Windows Vista Home Premium operating system (select units have Windows Vista Ultimate). The line comes preinstalled with VAIO Media software, which lets users stream media to a PlayStation 3 or a VAIO Home Theater PC connected to a TV. Of course, the 6.4-pound notebook contain Intel’s new Centrino 2 processors, which start at 2.2 GHz. The premium model ($1,750) packs a Blu-ray drive. Available in Night Black, Sunset Pink, Glossy Pink, Classic Silver, and Glossy Silver, the 4.1-pound Sony VAIO VGN-SR line (starting at approximately $1,450) has a 2.2-GHz Intel P8400 Centrino processor, 13.3-inch (1280 x 800-pixel) display, 2GB of RAM, integrated Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics, Bluetooth, and a 250GB G-Senor protected hard drive. In terms of ports and jacks, the system comes with FireWire, VGA, ExpressCard/34, SD Card, Memory Stick Duo, and 2 USB 2.0 connections. The security-conscious will appreciate the included TPM and biometric fingerprint reader. Select models come with Windows Vista Home Premium but can be downgraded to Windows XP. The line contains VAIO Media software and Switch technology that enables users to customize modes with shortcuts, favorite Web sites, and wallpapers for when you want to cycle between work or play. The Sony VAIO VGN-Z series (starting at approximately $1,800) is a 3.3-pound line that rocks a 13.1-inch (1366 x 768-pixel) display, 3GB of RAM, a 4X DVD±R DL optical drive, HDMI, FireWire, VGA, and ExpressCard/34 ports, and two USB 2.0 ports. The notebooks offer up plenty of wireless connectivity with Stereo A2DP Bluetooth, optional Sprint Mobile Broadband, and 802.11n Wi-Fi. If security and durability are essentials, you’ll be happy to learn that the ultraportable contains TPM, a fingerprint reader, and G-Sensor Shock Protection, which protects the 250GB HDD from damage. The line can also be outfitted with a 128GB solid state drive ($2,300 for this config) and an optional Blu-ray drive. At 3.3 pounds, the Z series is the lightest Blu-ray notebook ever. But what really makes this notebook stand out—besides the inclusion of the 2.2-GHz P8400 Centrino 2 processor—is the Hybrid Graphics System that lets users switch between integrated Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics and discrete Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS graphics (with 128MB of memory) on the fly (and vice versa) to add graphics muscle or save power when needed. Under the hood runs Windows Vista Business (an XP downgrade is available on select models). A Clean, Fresh Start Sony also announced that all of its notebooks will be available in a crapware-free configuration called “fresh start.”

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