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Sony VAIO SA and SB refreshed: the month of thin, powerful PCs continues!

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Man, it's been quite a month for ultrathin laptops. First Lenovo unveiled its X1 and then just earlier this week, Dell ripped the curtain off its Adamo-successor. Well, leave it to Sony to top 'em all -- the company is introducing not one but two new ultraportables today and they pack quite a bit of bite. Both are updates to the S Series line, which was completely refreshed with a new look back in February of this year. But the 13.3-inch SB and SA laptops aren't just getting fresh innards. The .95-inch / 3.6-pound SA has been slimmed down just a bit, while the inch thick / 3.8-pound SB series has been slightly retooled for a new demographic -- students. Hit the break for the details and some fancy press shots.

In terms of chassis design, the SA and SB look extremely similar. Both are still made of magnesium and aluminum, have backlit chiclet keyboards, and on-board optical drives. However, the SA will be available in brown, black, and silver, while the SB also gets some brighter navy and pink options. Other than the colors and the thickness, the only major aesthetic difference is the fact that the SA has a fingerprint reader nestled between its right and left mouse buttons. You see how Sony is trying to differentiate these here?

The more noticeable differences comes in specs. The SB will have Core i3 and i5 versions, which will range between $899 and $1,000. Sony lists an AMD Radeon HD 6630 graphics option for those two, but we doubt that's included in that entry-level configuration. Sadly, the students also get stuck with a 1366x768-resolution display. The SA, as you might expect, gets higher-end parts for its $1,370 starting price. It will be available with Intel's new Core i7 CPU, 1GB of Radeon HD 6630 graphics, SSD options, and a 1600 x 900-resolution display. Both have integrated batteries, but Sony's still got that $150 slice battery that latches on to the bottom of the system and promises a total of 15 hours of juice. (Note that the SSD-equipped SA promises a longer runtime.) All in all, they seem like some nice rigs. Nicer than the Lenovo and the Dell? We'll wait on the reviews to determine that.