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Sony VAIO E Series review

Sony's latest gets the basics done, but lacks any lasting style

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Decent 3D performance
  • Good usability
  • Good quality screen

Against

  • Average battery life
  • Average performance
  • Basic connectivity

Sony has a different VAIO range for each type of user, but has always valued solid multimedia performance and good looks for all its laptops.

Curiously, though, the Sony VAIO VPCEEL1E1E (E Series) didn't produce the usual spark of excitement for us. By shunning an Intel processor and instead opting for an AMD E-350 Vision CPU, Sony has kept the cost down. And while there's no dedicated graphics card, AMD's Vision brand of CPUs includes the integrated graphics chips in the form of the Radeon series.

The VAIO has an integrated Radeon HD 6310 that will handle some pretty demanding programs. We got a respectable score of 5651 from our 3D benchmark program, and were impressed when we loaded up some high definition (HD) video.

Tech Labs

Tech labs

Battery Eater '05: 177 minutes
Cinebench: 1237
3DMark 2006: 5651

The screen is well suited to watching movies or light gaming, thanks to the Super-TFT coating that gives it that distinctive reflective sheen. The native 1366 x 768 pixel resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio are standard nowadays for comfortable movie watching without the letterbox black boxes at the top and bottom of the screen. We also found we could get good viewing angles from the screen.

Good usability

When it comes work, you'll find the usability is pretty decent. The touchpad has a textured coating which makes it comfortable to use and stops you slipping or brushing it accidentally. It is responsive and both the left and right-click buttons are chunky and feel solid.

The same can be said of the full-sized keyboard, which is designed with Sony's favoured isolation-style keys and gives you plenty of space, so you won't end up hitting the wrong button when typing at speed. There's a dedicated numeric keypad added in, as well as Sony's now standard VAIO, ASSIST and WEB hotkeys.

The chassis is sturdy, apart from the lid, which flexed quite badly when we pressed on it. The black embossed design unfortunately does little to stand out from the crowd.

Connectivity is standard fare, with four USB 2.0 ports, VGA and HDMI sockets for connecting to an external monitor, and an Ethernet cable for hardwired internet access – something you might not need, because the VAIO is equipped with 802.11n wireless capability.

Admittedly, we are so used to seeing Sony turn out brilliant high-end laptops, that when it produces a simple mid-level machine (at a reasonable price) we are left feeling somewhat underwhelmed.

There are a number of positives to take away from the laptop, however, particularly if you plan to watch a lot of HD video from services such as the BBC iPlayer, or if you want to use your machine for working at home. The keyboard is up to Sony's usual high standard and will benefit students or writers.

All in all, this is a good, if unremarkable, mid-level laptop from Sony, especially if you value the VAIO brand.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity320 GB
Processor ManufacturerAMD
Graphics Controller ManufacturerAMD
Graphics Controller ModelRadeon HD 6310
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time5.50 Hour
FireWire/i.LINKNo
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
WimaxNo
Product FamilyVAIO E
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Keyboard BacklightNo
Processor ModelE-350
ColourBlack
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Home Premium with SP1
Brand NameSony
Processor Speed1.60 GHz
Screen Size39.4 cm (15.5")
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.70 kg
Cache1 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerAMD
Chipset ModelA50M
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
WWAN SupportedNo
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 3.0
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports4
Memory StandardDDR3-1066/PC3-8500
Height31.3 mm
Width369.8 mm
Depth284.4 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesE
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelVPCEL1E1E
Product NameVAIO VPCEL1E1E Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineVAIO
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberVPCEL1E1E/B.CEK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information

Smart and stylish

Stand out from the crowd and look good on the go. VAIO E Series has one of the most compact designs in its class with sleek lines and a smart textured pattern on the lid that's comfortable to grip when carrying around.

Choose from a range of sizes and colours with matching accessories to complete your look. VAIO E Series is the ideal notebook for easy everyday performance with a distinctive touch of style.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Package Contents
  • VAIO VPCEL1E1E Notebook
  • Standard Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Power Cord
  • Documentation Pack
  • VAIO International Repair Service Guide
Limited Warranty2 Year