Sony has announced new lines of laptops based around Intel's new Centrino 2 technology -- including 16.4-inch and 15.4-inch models, and a 13.3-inch notebook with a high-resolution display.

Centrino 2 is the first major refresh to Intel's platform since it was launched in 2003 and the new chips offer better multimedia performance and lower power consumption. Wireless networking has been improved with 802.11n and optional WiMax support and there is an integrated graphics processor for handling heavy computations -- though most laptops for creative professionals will include a separate graphics chip from AMD or nVidia.

The largest model in the range is the Vaio FW-Series, which has a 16.4-inch X-black display with a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio and what Sony describes as "100 per cent colour fidelity", meaning it can output 100 per cent of the NTSC colour space. Higher end models include Intel's Core 2 Duo T9400 processor, which runs at 2.53GHz, and AMD's ATI Mobility Radeon HD3650 graphics chip.

The specially-designed screen boasts a 1,600-x-900) resolution. Sony says that the enhanced blue spectrum range – where human vision is highly sensitive – allows extremely accurate reproduction of the colour variations that can be perceived by the eye, while Sony’s exclusive X-black LCD screen enhancement boosts contrast and delivers remarkable, natural colour. Selected models feature double lamp technology for improved brightness.

The FW-Series also includes Dolby Sound Room technology, a Web cam, and an optional Blu-ray Disc drive.

Sony says that the FW-Series is crafted to make a stylish match with virtually any interior, with a smoothly-curved body line, and the cylindrical hinge with a glowing power button recessed into its end cap. The surprisingly compact chassis is closer to what you would expect with a 15-inch screen, and features key elements of magnesium alloy construction for great durability yet low overall weight, according to the company .

The keyboard has been designed with clear space between the keys and slightly concave keytops to make typing fast and accurate. The action is firm and precise, but silent, and the ‘isolation’ design and long key travel are unusually comfortable, even for delicate fingers with long nails.

Mid-range model

The Vaio BZ-Series has a 15.4-inch screen with a 1440-x-900 resolution screen. Low power consumption LED screen illumination is designed to help reduce the drain on the battery, and the X-black LCD screen enhancement technology boosts contrast and delivers bright, vibrant colours.

The case design features the signature Vaio cylindrical hinge, complete with its distinctive glowing power stud set into the end cap. Magnesium alloy is used for its combination of low weight (2.7kg) and great strength, and intensive stress testing was carried out during development to ensure that the finished product was exceptionally tough. A splash-resistant keyboard completes the checklist of key durability-enhancing features.

The Vaio BZ is protected by a combination of fingerprint recognition and Trusted Platform Module (TPM) hardware. The hard disk uses inertial sensing to detect if the notebook is dropped, safely parking the read/write heads in a fraction of a second so they cannot impact the data surface and cause damage.