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Sony announces Vaio S line for U.S. release

The series can have up to 15 hours of battery life with special seconday battery

Last month, we reported on the debut of the updated Vaio S notebook series, but only a U.K. launch window was mentioned. Fortunately, Sony this week has finally announced a U.S. release for the laptop line as well as what customers should expect to pay for the sleek Vaio.

Currently, the Sony Style online store is accepting pre-orders for the laptop starting at $969.99. Users can customize the laptop to include an Intel Core i7-2620M processor with AMD Radeon 6630M graphics, 8GB of RAM, and a Blu-Ray drive. Otherwise, the magnesium chassis and connectivity options such as USB 3.0, multi-card reader, VGA and HDMI-out, and wireless 802.11n will all come standard regardless of configuration.

What makes the Vaio S series unique, however, is the ability to extend battery life with an optional secondary “sheet battery.” The 1.2 lbs. sheet battery will attach to the bottom of the laptop and is claimed to double battery life for up to 15 hours of continuous usage. When attached, the laptop will run on the sheet battery first before draining the primary battery. Although sources claim the extra battery will run for $150, the official Sony Style configuration page thankfully lists the battery for $50 less.

The idea of doubling laptop runtime by attaching a secondary battery is not entirely new as Lenovo last month announced a similar concept for its upcoming ThinkPad series. Instead of connecting to the bottom of the laptop, however, the ThinkPads will have an open slot the size of a DVD-drive on the side of the laptop for accepting secondary batteries.

The thin-and-light 13.3-inch Vaio S laptop is expected to ship this month on the 29th with black and white colors available.

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Allen Ngo, 2011-03- 8 (Update: 2012-05-26)