updated 09:10 am EDT, Fri September 12, 2008
Sony VAIO CS and NS
Sony today continued a spate of notebook introductions by introducing a pair of the least expensive Blu-ray capable notebooks available. The 15.4-inch VAIO NS replaces the NR and upgrades the budget notebook with options that Sony has normally reserved for its mid-range or higher systems; helped in part by newer Intel 4500 integrated graphics that help offload video decoding, the NS can be equipped with a Blu-ray combo drive while still sitting at the $1,000 mark. It also introduces a new AV menu that not only supports media playback but also shortcuts to favorite apps and websites.
The base system is also relatively fast for the cost and results in a $650 NS140 carrying a 2GHz Core 2 Duo, 3GB of memory, a 250GB hard drive and an integrated webcam; the more expensive Blu-ray version carries 4GB of memory but otherwise leaves the system unchanged. Blue, gray, and white versions of the NS will be available when the notebook ships in the fall.
Sony has also brought the VAIO CS to the US and replaces the earlier CR with the 14-inch portable. It too has the standard AV mode and the option of a Blu-ray combo drive but adds a unique set of LED lights that pulse in tune with music. Just a single default specification is available and sees a system carry a 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive for $920. Adding Blu-ray requires a configure-to-order unit and lifts the price slightly to $1,070. The CS is due for American shores in the fall and will come in several glossy colors.