Sony released the VAIO E-Series at the beginning of the year to critical acclaim, and the VAIO VPC-EB1Z0E/B proves to be a fantastic machine offering great performance alongside impressive extras, including a full HD screen and Blu-ray optical drive.
The amount you get for your money with this laptop is fantastic. The full HD 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution screen is excellent, with a marked difference in detail between this and the Packard Bell EasyNote LM86.
This machine also features a Blu-ray drive, and HD films look truly fantastic on this screen, with colour reproduction also impressing. One downside of the high resolution on a screen this size is that menus and text can occasionally seem very small, which may not suit those with impaired vision.
The shiny black paint scheme looks great and is surprisingly resistant to fingerprints and smears, unlike the glossy lid of the Samsung R580.
The keyboard is also excellent quality. Those after a more traditional experience will prefer the HP ProBook 6440b, but we like the isolated key style and Sony has executed it perfectly. The travel is just the right distance, as is the spacing between the keys, while the board is solid, in contrast to the very spongy Asus UL50VT.
The laptop has a powerful Core i5 processor, and this is reflected in the machine's performance, beating the Samsung R580 by a small margin. As a result, concurrently running multiple applications won't be a problem.
The laptop features the same graphics card as the Acer Aspire 5740G-434G64Mn, yet performs slightly slower. The difference is marginal, however, and you'll be able to run multimedia content – including slightly older games – without a problem.
The powerful components employed take quite a toll on the battery, however, and we managed only 171 minutes between charges, which is quite poor considering the competiton.
The 2.6kg the laptop weighs is portable enough, but those after true portability would do well to consider the Asus instead.
As you would expect, the latest connectivity technologies are included, meaning fast networking in a café or when out and about, and finally an eSATA interface lets you transfer data fast between the laptop and an external hard drive, for example.
The Sony VAIO VPC-EB1Z0E/B impressed us immensely. The power, usability and rich features list is unmatched here, with only the poor battery life slightly spoiling the party. Nevertheless, this a worthy award winner.
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