Taiwan's Gigabyte Technology just launched a pair of laptops into the highly competitive Japanese market. The 12.1-inch W251U-512 (pictured) and 15.4-inch W551N-712 both hit on January 30th and come with a Vista pre-load as you'd expect. The 12.1-incher packs a 1280x800 (WXGA) glossy panel resolution, 2GHz T7200 Core 2 Duo, up to 2GB of memory and 80GB of disk, a DVD super multi-drive, and Intel 945GM Express graphics in a 1.9-kg (4.19-pounds) 23~32-mm (0.94~1.26-inch) thick wedge. The 15.4-incher features pretty much the same specs only with better graphics (but same pixel resolution) by slapping 128MB of GeForce Go 7400 into the 2.8-kg (6.17-pound) 25.5~35.5-mm (1.0~1.4-inch) thick sled. It also features a remote control to make the most of its Windows Vista Ultimate Media Center OS. Considering the Spring refresh to Sony's domestic VAIOs, well, let's just say that Gigabyte's got their work cut out. The W551N-712 is tagged at ¥169,800 (about $1,405) while the W251U-512 is set to pop for ¥159,800 ($1,323). Click-on for a picture of the W551N-712.

[Via Impress]