Oh, you were worried Sony wasn't going to release its new VAIO S ultraportable in the US? Okay, so it has taken the company a bit longer to prep the 13.3-inch laptop for its American debut, but it's here and it looks like it was well worth the wait. While Sony is holding that it will not replace the VAIO Z Series, which has just recently gone out of stock on Sony's website, there's no denying that it fills a similar high-end ultraportable spot. Don't be fooled by its inch-thick profile, it packs a serious amount of horsepower -- like the UK version, it will be configurable with Sandy Bridge Core i5 and i7 processors, AMD Radeon HD 6630 graphics with 1GB of VRAM (sadly, there's still a physical toggle for switching), Blu-ray, and a range of SSDs. As you can tell from the image above, the design drops the circular hinge of previous VAIOs, but the 3.8-pound machine is still made of magnesium and aluminum, has a backlit keyboard, while also sporting the option of a unique slice battery that meshes with the overall aesthetic.

However, that $150 extended cell isn't just any old battery -- it's said to provide a total of 15 hours of battery life when latched onto the bottom of the system and additionally it comes with its own adapter so it can be charged separately from the entire rig. Yep, this one is filled to the brim with the latest and greatest, and even better it doesn't seem terribly overpriced -- the $979 starting model packs a Core i5-2410 processor, those aforementioned AMD graphics, and a 320GB hard drive. It should be available for pre-order later today and we're hoping to bring you a full review of it soon, but until then we have a few hands-on shots of the laptop back at CES below.
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Sony VAIO S Series press shots


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Sony VAIO S mockups at CES

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SONY PACKS PERFORMANCE IN THE NEW THIN AND LIGHT VAIO S SERIES LAPTOP

SAN DIEGO, March 7, 2011 – Sony Electronics today announced the VAIO® S Series laptop featuring the powerful performance of a larger full-sized PC packed into a thin one-inch profile design and 13.3-inch screen form factor. Incorporating all the mobility of VAIO laptops, this new line delivers ultimate portability and performance with the second generation Intel® Core™ i5 and Core i7 processor coupled with Hybrid Graphics as well as dual channel solid state drive options (select models).

Select S Series models sport a premium and elegant design in Black or White with magnesium and aluminum materials, and all of them incorporate a built-in lithium polymer battery that when coupled with the all new and advanced large-capacity optional sheet battery, you can stay mobile and unplugged for up to 15 hours. Intelligent charging enables you to charge the optional sheet battery separately and attach it to the system without shutting down for maximum flexibility.

"We continue to raise the bar when it comes to the mobile computing experience," said Mike Lucas, senior vice president of Networked and Technologies and Services Division at Sony Electronics. "The VAIO S Series laptop makes no compromises by offering the ultimate, full-featured ultra-mobile PC."

Ultra Mobility and Performance
Performance is top priority with the second generation Intel Core i7 and Core i5 processors that deliver even more performance automatically when you need it with a better visual PC experience built-in. With Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, the processors increase speed automatically delivering the performance needed for multitasking.
AMD Radeon™ HD 6630 1GB Hybrid Graphics card (select models) gives a performance boost to your day-to-day processor functions for a faster, more optimized overall computing experience while lowering power consumption.

For maximum performance and mobility, select models features dual channel solid state drive with RAID 0 technology.
The S Series laptop comes with one-touch VAIO, ASSIST and WEB buttons, for launching Media Gallery™ software, VAIO Care™ software and access to the web without full boot-up into Windows, all with a touch of a button.

All models incorporate backlit keyboards, illuminating the lettering for typing in low light situations. The built-in web camera powered by an "Exmor" sensor also allows for great low-light performance. And with the built-in microphone you can video message with family, friends and coworkers. Face tracking technology allows the camera to automatically adjust focus and follow you as you move around while video chatting.

Packed with Multimedia
Sony knows entertainment is always at the forefront and the VAIO S Series delivers. Whether you're watching a stunning Blu-ray Disc™ movie (select models) or enjoying video captured from your compatible camcorder. The versatile Blu-ray Disc drive on the VAIO S Series laptop (select models) combines the power of HD video playback with the convenience and utility of DVD and CD read/write functionalities. Providing the best picture and the best sound with stunning clarity, Blu-ray Disc technology is the ultimate way to enjoy your entertainment.
With Intel® Wireless Display 2.0, you can sit back and experience your favorite videos, photos and music on your TV. Stop crowding around a laptop screen and view and share content from your hard drive, home network or the internet wirelessly on your HDTV utilizing the adapter (sold separately).

Pricing and Availability
The VAIO S Series laptops are available for pre-sale today at www.sonystyle.com/sseries starting for around $970, and the optional sheet battery for around $150.

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Editor's Note: For complete specifications and digital images, members of the news media are invited to visit Sony Electronics' news and information web site at www.sony.com/news. For all things VAIO visit www.sonyelectronicscommunity.com. For information on ®, Sony's in-store VAIO PC services and repairs division, log on to www.sonystyle.com/backstage.

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Sony VAIO S arrives stateside, brings along an advanced extended battery