Sony is a household name and its VAIO laptops have long been popular with consumers. The VAIO VPC-EB4L9E/BQ is another well-designed machine that ticks lots of boxes, making it an excellent choice for any family.
An all-white chassis proves a standout feature, although the subtle glitter effect in the palmrests may be a step too far. Still, the chassis is reassuringly solid in all areas except near the DVD drive.
The 15.6-inch screen tilts back to a reasonable degree and has good viewing angles, so you won't be squinting when the VAIO is sat on your lap. Photos and movies are colourfully recreated and the screen is one of the brightest in the group.
If you plan on watching films on your laptop, the built-in speakers pack a surprising amount of power. Unfortunately, the quality drops at its top volume, with music and sound effects distorting.
Usability is a highlight, thanks to the well-sized keyboard which stretches the width of the chassis. The typing action is firm, and comfortable even when typing out long essays or endless emails. There's also a dedicated numeric keypad.
We also liked the textured touchpad, which supports multi-touch gesturing and document scrolling.
The VAIO uses the same Intel Core i3 380M processor as the Samsung RC510. While our performance tests showed the Sony lagged a little behind everything except the Acer Aspire 5553G, it's still more than capable of running all your software together. Even memory-hogging design applications run smoothly.
Multimedia performance is even better, with a dedicated ATi HD 5650 graphics card proving one of the most powerful. Not only can you edit your photos and videos without suffering any crashes or annoying stutters, you can also run the latest games on fairly high detail settings.
Battery life: 166 minutes
MaobileMark 2007: 235
3DMark 2003: 19,057
Unfortunately, this performance does impact battery life, with less than three hours on offer. This is a poor result, so the VAIO is best left plugged into the mains.
A 500GB hard drive provides a lot of storage for your files, more than most people will ever need.
Other features are standard, with a 4-in-1 memory card reader in place alongside four USB ports and a VGA and HDMI port for hooking up external displays. Wired and wireless networking is as fast as it comes for hooking up to the internet.
There is lots to like about the Sony VPC-EB4L9E/BQ. Battery life is flawed, however, so this isn't a good choice for anyone who takes to the road regularly.
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