This week at Computex Sony made waves by announcing new Ultrabooks that sport sleek metal designs and they also claimed the title of world’s lightest touch-enabled Ultrabook with one of the new models. With its target market in mind, professionals and students, Sony has decided to name their new line of high-end Ultrabooks the Sony VAIO Pro Series.
The new Sony VAIO Pro series will carry two main models the Sony VAIO Pro 11 and Sony VAIO Pro 13. The entire series will offer multi-touch displays with 1080p Full HD native resolutions, the Sony VAIO Pro 11 will have a 11.6-inches screen and the Sony VAIO Pro 13 screen will be 13.3-inches. Each display will come with a built-in Exmor HD webcam.
The Sony VAIO Pro 11 is the model that holds the title of world’s lightest touchscreen Ultrabook with its 1.92 pound carrying weight but the Sony VAIO Pro 13 isn’t that much heavier at only 2.34 pounds. Sony has been able to get these two new Ultrabooks to be so light by having a design that employs lightweight materials like Carbon Fiber (the body) and aluminum (around the keyboard).
Sony VAIO Pro Series gallery:
Performance features included with the Sony VAIO Pro series Ultrabooks offer enhancements in system speed and battery life. The VAIO Pro 11 and 13 will use the new low-voltage 4th gen. Haswell Intel Core processors (up to Core i7) which offer dual processing cores with improved power efficiency. Fast solid state storage is available on the both models with the VAIO Pro 13 getting a faster enterprise-class PCIe-type solid state drive.
For added wireless mobility these new Ultrabooks will make use of Sony’s sheet battery technology which requires the use of optional battery that attaches to the bottom of either laptop to provide up to 14 hours of total battery life for the VAIO Pro 11 and up to 13 hours for the VAIO Pro 13.
The thin and light designs of the VAIO Pro series models does come at the cost of ports and a built-in optical drive. With either model you get two USB 3.0 ports with one doubling as a Thunderbolt port, HDMI out, a 2-in-1 card reader and a combo headphone/microphone jack. There are optional accessories available that will add an optical drive and missing ports like Ethernet and VGA to the VAIO Pro Ultrabooks, but it would have been better for Sony to include at least Ethernet with the VAIO Pro range. Sony will provide Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n) for Internet access with the VAIO Pro series.
Sony has announced they will be making these new Ultrabooks available for purchase tomorrow June 9, 2013 in Carbon Black and Carbon Silver colors through their online store. The starting price for the Sony VAIO Pro 11 will be $1,149 and the Sony VAIO Pro 13 will start at $1,249.
The first reviews are already available for the VAIO Pro series on PCmag.com (VAIO Pro 11) and on Laptopmag.com (VAIO Pro 13). According to the reviews both systems look and perform well but there are caveats with either machine. Both have integrated Intel HD 4400 Graphics that left much to be desired when playing games at native resolutions (1080p for each model). Also with each of these notebooks battery life testing programs showed each could achieve only models longevity with their built-in batteries, the 11-inch model managed just over 4 hours and the 13-inch model just over 5 hours.
Heat and fan noise were noted as a problem with the VAIO Pro 13, the higher performance model of the two, by Laptop Mag. According to Laptop Mag fan noise was audible while performing regular tasks like word processing while HD video streaming on YouTube. The VAIO Pro 13 registered temperatures of 100 degrees in the bottom middle area of the laptop after playing 15 minutes worth of HD Hulu streaming video, this is not great heat performance. If you’re a person that likes to have their laptop on their lap a laptop cooling pad will be a good idea when using the VAIO Pro 13 for extended periods.