Sony VAIOs receive new CPUs and colors, Z series gets LTE

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We're only a few weeks into 2012 and Sony is already talking about the VAIO series' upcoming spring refresh (the company admits its plans aren't as extensive as a true "refresh," but we'll play along). The post-CES announcement includes the VAIO Z, S, C, E, F and L lineups, with the first three receiving most of the changes.

First up, the ultraportable VAIO Z will gain the latest second-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, the ability to add a RAID 0 storage configuration, an optional integrated LTE mobile broadband chip for 4G data service, along with a new carbon fiber silver style. Prices will start at $1950 with the Power Media Dock drive.

Both the 13 and 15-inch versions of the S series will receive Intel's "newest generation" Core processors as well as hybrid graphics with an AMD Radeon HD 6470M or HD 6630M. The 15-incher will come standard with a 1080p IPS display for $980, while the smaller iteration will fetch $800. Both will ship in early February.

Sony has "girlified" the C series with a "kaleidoscope pink" style inspired by an Art Nouveau floral pattern, which will be offered on 14 and 15.5-inch models. The masculine version, dubbed "geometric black," is described as "60's retro meets the Matrix." Folks who order a VAIO C by February 4 will receive a free laptop sleeve.

Few words were shared on the E series, except that it's getting the latest second-generation Core CPUs. The remaining updates are software-based. S series will ship with the new Media Gallery 2.0 software (other VAIO owners can download it), which has a revamped interface and support for popular social networking services.

Meanwhile, F series notebooks and L series all-in-ones will now come with Sony Imagination Studio Multimedia Edition, an audio and video editing suite that includes Vegas Movie Studio HD. The company is also pushing its Music Unlimited promotion, which provides up to 180 days of basic service free for first time users.

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