Sony has launched a new line of lightweight PCs - the VAIO Z series notebooks.

Weighing just over 3 pounds, the VAIO Z model gets a 13.1-inch widescreen display with Sony's XBRITE-DuraView LCD technology that promises scratch-resistant durability and 100% colour saturation.

Some models within the range feature a high-resolution 1600 x 900 widescreen display, that Sony says provides a 40% wider workspace than a standard display, but with the same "footprint".

Construction-wise, there's "a seamless sheet of brushed aluminum" on the keyboard panel and it's housed in a durable carbon-fibre casing with G-Sensor shock protection.

Powered by new Intel Centrino 2 technology, there's built-in 802.11n wireless LAN and - due to the US launch - the unit features optional built-in wireless Sprint mobile broadband.

The Z model has an optional Blu-ray disc drive, a switch-on-the-fly hybrid graphics system, a biometric fingerprint sensor, and comes pre-installed with Windows Vista Business, although an XP Pro "downgrade" is available.

The notebook features Memory Stick media/SD card slot, three USB ports, i.LINK IEEE-1394 port, microphone and headphone jack and a PC Card slot.

The Z series is also available in a dual channel 128GB solid state drive model that will go for around $2300, while the standard VAIO Z notebook will start at about $1800, available in the States in August.