Sony takes Vaio notebooks into the mainstream

San Diego (CA) – Sony unveiled a new entry-level Vaio notebook series that will include notebooks with a starting price of $750 in the US (no word yet on Europe).

If you were looking for a decent workhorse notebook in the entry-level or mainstream price range, a Sony Vaio is unlikely to be on your shopping list : While prices for notebooks have decreased sharply over the past few years, Sony has kept the price tags of its notebooks at a premium level.

That strategy appears to shift as the manufacturer today introduced what it calls the "lowest-priced notebook the company has ever introduced." The NR series will be available for about $750.

Sony did not release many specification details besides saying that the series will have a 15.4" screen, Core 2 Duo processors, integrated 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi, pre-installed LocationFree software running under Windows Vista. A "dedicated media menu" follows the strategy to reach mainstream buyers, which can use the feature to have their "entertainment within easy reach," Sony said.

The NR notebooks also come in different colors, "Wenge", which Sony describes as "a rich brown with copper accents" ; "silk - a bright white with a matte finish" as well as "and granite - a silver hue with natural tones". The surface of the chassis is "textured" and has a "fabric-like feel" to it, Sony said.

For those Vaio buyers that want a bit more style from their notebook, there are always the higher-end Vaios. On the other end of the spectrum, Sony is offering the FZ series, 15.4" notebooks with cases with a graphic design by Maya Hayuk. These models start at $2500.

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