While Sony used to build Vaio-branded laptops in all kinds of wild form factors, the brand is now attached to more conservative, business-focused machines. The Playstation maker sold the Vaio brand to Japan Industrial Partners back in 2014, and the new owners brought the machines back to America in mid-2015. The latest 13.3" Vaio S models promise to continue the paradigm of functional design and high build quality while bringing a big jump in performance thanks to Intel's eighth-generation Core processors.
All Vaio S versions get a 13.3" screen with a resolution of 1920x1080. The company didn't say what kind of panel is used, but we'd wager on IPS given the machines' pricing. The pixels get their marching orders from Intel's UHD Graphics 620 IGP. Vaio says its latest laptops use the company's TruePerformance technology to permit the CPU to run for longer periods at peak Turbo Boost clocks by increasing power limits and managing thermal output. The maximum claimed battery life is a rather pedestrian 8:15, possibly owing to those increased power limits.
While most of the 13"-class laptop market is moving towards a minimalist overall design, the Vaio S remains mostly rooted in tradition. The touchpad has two separate buttons and the machine's sides are bristling with ports, including an analog VGA output, an HDMI port, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, and three USB 3.0 connectors. A unique hinge mechanism lifts the back of the backlit keyboard for improved ergonomics. That hinge is part of the magnesium-alloy chassis that's just 0.52" (1.3 cm) thick and is part of a total weight of just 2.4 lbs (1.1 kg). The 1-MP webcam doesn't appear to support Windows Hello, but the Vaio S does have a fingerprint reader.
A 13.3" Vaio S laptop with an Intel Core i5-8250U, 8 GB of LPDDR3 memory, a 256 GB SSD, and Windows 10 Pro will set buyers back $1,199 when the machines start shipping later this week. Those looking to flaunt their cash can pick up the Core i7-8550U model with 16 GB of memory and a 1 TB SSD for $2,199. Vaio backs its machines with a one-year warranty. All Vaio S laptops are built in Nagano, Japan.