Gadget Show Live: Sony just wants to be Apple
Of course, in the PC world Sony and Apple share certain key attributes: both produce computers that stand out for reasons of style as well as functionality, both bring a certain caché, and both require a wallet-busting commitment on the part of the consumer.
The first product Sony showed us was an L-Series all-in-one touchscreen PC. Reader, we'll admit it: we were impressed. Not so much by the LS-21's touch-interactive bezel - although that is neat - or the impressive specs. What we really liked about the L-Series was that for the first time it felt like we were using a Windows touchscreen PC that was built for to be, well, a touchscreen PC.
With no lag when you interact with the screen, and a stylish and intuitive interface, at first glance the LS-21 is the nicest all-in-one PC we've seen since, well, the iMac. And it has a responsive screen.
With HDMI-in, 8GB RAM, 1TB storage and a Core i7 chip, the 24in L-Series should set you back around £1,300 or £1,400 when it arrives in the UK 'in June'. And if our initial time with it is anything to go by, it should make a nice home-entertainment PC.
Speaking of which... Sony also showed us its latest 3D laptop. The F-Series is a little more bulky than you would like for a portable PC, but then it's not really supposed to be portable. It has an integral active shutter system, which accounts for the bulk but means that everything you need to view and interact with 3D content is included in the chassis - as illustrated by the dedicated 3D button that allows you to switch from two the three dimensions, content allowing. Your author is, frankly, underwhelmed by the magic of 3D, but the images shown us by Sony were suitably awe-inspiring. And the glasses you need to purchase work for all 3D sony products.
More importantly, built-in to the GPU is a list of games retro-fitted to be played in 3D, which at the time of writing numbers more than 200. The F-Series Vaio we saw had 8GB RAM, a 640GB hard drive and a Core i7 chip. It has Blu-ray and HDMI-out to complete the home entertainment setup, and will launch... 'soon', apparently. Sony told us to keep our eye on Sony.co.uk for upcoming announcements.
See also: Sony VAIO VPCF21Z1E/B review
Further Apple flattery could be found in Sony's C-Series: mid-range laptops with stylish, eye-catching cases and decent multimedia specifications - anyone for a MacBook. We saw two C-Series laptops - one with a glowing green case, the other orange. They glow without power, being made of flourescent material. The C-Series laptops have 14in screens, which is unusual for UK laptops. They have 4GB RAM, 320GB hard drives, and Core i5 chips, which is not. Nice touches include USB 3.0, and HDMI out, which should make the C-Series laptops a good choice for students who want one device that can fulfil all their work and play needs. They start at £729 inc VAT.