Sony announced today a new entry into its VAIO series, the NW, complete with a Blu-ray drive and what they're hoping is an aggressive pricing point. It's packing a 15.5-inch WXGA display with XBRITE, 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7350, ATI Mobility Radeon HD4570 with 512MB VRAM, a 4x BD-ROM drive, 4GB of DDR2 RAM, webcam, 802.11a/b/g/n, a 400GB HDD, and a Li-ion battery that's at best 5.5 hours in large capacity and at worst 1.5 hours with the standard-sized version. Port-wise, we've got VGA and HDMI output and Memory Stick Pro, ExpressCard, and SD card slots.
We got a chance to get some hands-on time with the portable, and we gotta say, it's a pretty impressive little number. It's not the most slender 15-incher, but at six pounds, it's lighter than we expected. The chiclet keys -- dubbed "isolated keyboard" by Sony PR -- are comfortable to use, as is the textured trackpad. Body and hinge felt sturdy, with an intentionally rugged and stylistic feel to it, and as one rep was excited to show, the metallic "Vaio" logo on the back makes a great reflection in the sun. From what we saw, Blu-ray playback was smooth, but we did notice horizontal viewing angles weren't the best. We'll reserve judgment when we get some play time with the unit and see how hard we can push the software, but for now we're pretty happy with what we've seen. Starting price isn't too shabby, at $880 equipped with the BD-ROM and $800 without, and it comes in three colors: white, grey, and dark brown. Striking your fancy? Look for it to ship out pretty quickly, as in some time next month.