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Connectivity, Specifications and Battery

Connectivity on the S Series is very impressive, with USB 2.0 and 3.0 joined by HDMI and VGA for video, dual memory card readers and Gigabit Ethernet. All these connections are arranged along the right side of the laptop, leaving the left side to the slimline DVD-Rewriter. Wireless connections are fully covered with Wi-Fi N, Bluetooth 3.0 and even, on the high-end model, integrated 3G (mobile broadband).

Specifications are equally impressive considering the size of this diminutive machine. The cast is headed by a dual-core Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5 2410M, which will run at up to 2.9GHz. It's backed by a capable 4GB of RAM and 500GB hard drive, which we assume will be upgradeable further down the line. Windows 7 Professional will run the show on the software side.

One of the most interesting aspects is Sony's choice of an AMD Radeon HD 6470M graphics card, which alternates with Intel's integrated solution in a manner very similar to Nvidia's Optimus system, emphasising AMD's GPU processing or Intel's longer battery life dynamically depending on what's required.

Its efforts are displayed on a semi-matte 13.3in, 1,366 x 768 display, which we found to be on the good side of average. Like with the VAIO F Series, we were unable to test its speakers, but that's hardly a priority on a laptop this size. A HD webcam is neatly integrated into the screen's bezel.

Finally we get to this Sony's single most outstanding feature, that incredible 14hr battery life. The laptop's integrated battery actually 'only' lasts up to seven hours, but you can buy a thin, flat external battery (sold with its own charging adapter) that can be slotted in at any time without needing to turn the machine off to add another seven. Don't worry if you still have charge left in the primary battery either, the S Series will use it up fully before moving on to the external one.

Perhaps the most surprising and welcome development of the new S Series is that Sony doesn't charge a massive premium for this slim and light powerhouse (though using a moving parts hard drive rather than an SSD is undoubtedly part of the reason it's so affordable).

The 'low-end' model, which should cost a very reasonable £900 or so, comes in a silver finish and lacks 3G, while the far more attractive high-end offering - which will set you back around £1,000 - sports a black exterior and has 3G built-in (but we'd go for the latter based on looks alone). You can expect both these beauties from the end of March.

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