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Sony pitches 'unique' 16in, 16:9 HD Vaio at movie buffs

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Sony has just taken the wraps off its new consumer-oriented laptop, a machine that promises true movie-friendly 16:9 aspect ratio viewing thanks to a "unique" 16.4in, 1600 x 900 display.

The Vaio FW series is based on Intel's Centrino 2 platform - aka 'Montevina' - but then so are dozens of laptops being launched this week. What makes the Sony stand out are its slick good looks, a built-in Blu-ray Disc drive and said screen.

Sony Vaio FW

Sony's Vaio FW: slick new look

The display isn't LED backlit, but it is glossy and, Sony promises, provides "100% colour reproduction", implying a bit-depth to match the content it'll be displaying. Not that the company could say, when asked, exactly what the screen's bits per pixel rating is. Some models have dual-lamp displays.

Sony's pitching the machine as an alternative to a 17in laptop - same functionality, smaller size, basically - but with a screen that's only an inch longer in the diagonal than a 15.4in display and that MacBook-style low-slung display pivot, it looks more like a 15in machine.

Sony Vaio FW

Whoops! Click to see what appears on this Vaio FW's screen

All four FW models come with 4GB of DDR 2 memory and Windows Vista. There's a choice of AMD Mobility Radeon HD 3650 (top-end model) or 3470 graphics, and you get 250GB or 300GB of hard drive space.

The low-end model has a DVD multi-writer built-in, but the rest are Blu-ray boxes - ROM on model number 2 and recordable/rewriteatble on the 3 and 4. They all have 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. They have HDMI ports too.

The Vaio FW series goes on sale in the UK and US this week. Prices range from £799 to £1299 / $1060-1770.

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