The Sony VAIO VPC-F21Z1E is an odd mix, that's for sure. Looking inside the mammoth case – and beyond the 3D screen that makes it that way – there's a 2GHz Intel Core i7. This is... well, it's just not right. A high-end i5 would have done a better job at a lesser price. A high-end i3 might have given this machine just enough muscle (and only just) for pennies. True, neither would fit the steroid-fuelled ethos of this desktop replacement machine, but a mid-range i7 is a confusing choice, at least in theory.
Then there are the graphics, provided by an Nvidia GeForce 540GT. Now this is a reasonable mobile chipset, but only reasonable. It's good enough for everything HD, and with the stereoscopic 3D switched off it's a veritable powerhouse of gaming. But it's not high end, and it's certainly not what we would have chosen to push the pixels in a machine of this price. It's another corner cut in what seems, deep down, to be a rather slapdash package.
Yes, it's a Sony. So there's a layer of design style that makes the Sony VAIO VPC-F21Z1E look like a machine of a much higher calibre. This mostly manifests itself in glossy dust/ fingerprint attracting black plastic in this case, but it's hard to deny that Sony has done its best to dress this package up.
But even with 8GB RAM and a turbo boosted CPU, that mid-range graphics card and chunky screen mean it can't match up to the price which has been put on it.
Even the inclusion of a 3D-capable Blu-ray setup isn't enough to rescue the Sony VAIO VPC-F21Z1E from the doldrums, particularly because you're given one set of glasses and frankly, at 16 inches, the screen isn't going to be big enough to share. The battery isn't up to much either, so taking this on the road and watching your favourite films in the third dimension isn't a hobby that can be relied on.