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Sony VAIO VPC-L11S1E review

Verdict

An all-in-one with a truly stunning screen; the multitouch capability and Windows 7 lift it to greatness

Review Date: 8 Oct 2009

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £1,217 (£1,400 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

For all the advances in PC technology over the past few decades, the humble mouse appears in little danger of becoming extinct anytime soon. Other control methods have plugged away with limited success, and the most promising of these right now looks to be touch. Indeed, where Microsoft's previous operating systems relegated touch to little more than a novelty, Windows 7 finally brings it to the fore, and Sony has harnessed its potential with the VAIO VPC-L11S1E/S.

We've seen some stunning all-in-one PCs in our time, but this Sony is the best. Heave it from its box and its weighty, solid build reassures from the off. The VPC-L11S1E/S oozes such quality that every time we returned to the PC Pro Labs, we found someone amorously prodding its wide touchscreen display.

It's the display that raises the VAIO above the opposition. The patented X-Black glossy finish might be dogged by reflectivity, but fire up a Blu-ray movie and the immense brightness and vibrancy allay any concerns. Its 24in splendour is matched by a Full HD native resolution and superb image quality, with dual backlights making for beautiful colours and fantastic contrast levels. Whether images are moving or still, the Sony imparts them with a depth that has to be seen to be believed.

Sony VAIO VPC-L11S1E

Rather than the resistive technology employed by many of the touchscreen PCs we've seen, the Sony's optical multitouch screen is altogether more suitable. The panel is incredibly sensitive, and in concert with Windows 7's touch-friendly onscreen keyboard, you'll rarely have to use the supplied wireless keyboard and mouse. Surfing the web is rapid and intuitive, with "pen flick" gestures or the stroke of a finger allowing you to navigate the web, and pinching motions zoom seamlessly in and out of websites.

Windows 7's Touch Pack collects some of its more alluring touch software, culled from the much-touted Surface project. Surface Globe is clunky, but the range of games prove an impressive showcase for the Sony's multitouch talents.

Spritely performance helps to keep Windows 7 Home Premium feeling light on its feet, largely thanks to Intel's 3GHz Core 2 Duo E8400. The combination of 4GB of memory and 64-bit Windows means even serious multitasking or video editing is on the agenda - a score of 1.44 in our benchmarks might not be cutting edge, but it's fast by all-in-one standards.

The only disappointment is Nvidia's GeForce G210M graphics chipset. The G210M has enough grunt to decode Blu-ray, but struggled to a disappointing 14fps at 1,280 x 1,024 and medium detail in our Crysis benchmark.

Sony hasn't missed a trick with the rest of the VAIO's specification. A dual digital-tuner TV card is included as standard, and there are HDMI and composite video inputs to allow other devices to take full advantage of the sublime display. There's even picture-in-picture technology. And when you're watching TV, the loud distortion-free speakers will easily fill most rooms.

There's no shortage of ports, with the two USB connectors on the left-hand edge supplemented by mini-FireWire, and both SD and Memory Stick card readers. An aerial socket provides for both tuners, while there are three more USB ports alongside an optical digital S/PDIF output. The package is rounded off with Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11bgn wireless networking.

It isn't cheap, but with a generous core specification, the Sony VAIO VPC-L11S1/E is ready for pretty much any task you throw at it. Its looks are matched by an equally stunning high-definition display, and the multitouch capability is a fine match for Windows 7. It's an expensive, luxurious, hands-on triumph.

Author: Sasha Muller

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User comments

Very poor gaming performance for £1.4k

Hard/Impossible to upgrade. Very good if you just want to surf the net and watch films and don't care about gaming and future expansion. Also all-in-one aren't as portable as laptop/netbook. Most of us might want to wait and see better offers, unless you have money to burn. :D

By zeevro on 8 Oct 2009

Well it's not meant to be portable really is it. It's meant to be a TV replacement with a built in touch screen tv and blu ray player. Having said that I can't afford one so I'm out

By TimoGunt on 9 Oct 2009

Nope, it's not meant to be portable. But for the same price, you can have fully portable laptop/netbook on the go.

By zeevro on 9 Oct 2009

well yeah but then you wouldn't want a laptop as your main or secondary tv would you?

By TimoGunt on 12 Oct 2009

Nope, using laptop as a tv wouldn't be the best of idea. And you wouldn't want to pay extra for multi-touch and smaller screen if you gonna use it as a tv would you? I'm sure there are people who don't care about future upgrades. But why pay extra for less? There are better options out there, and there will be much much better options to come. :D

By zeevro on 12 Oct 2009

Best

There will always be better to come, and if you want something portable then this isn't for you

But if you want something now, and as a direct replacement for your desktop this is it

There is nothing out there better in the style to performance stakes that matches it

Yet!

By xtraseller on 15 Oct 2009

Real Value?

On the Minus side with an all-in-one you get.
- Less gaming performance. If you like latest 3D games then look elsewhere or buy an additional machine.
- Less creative performance. Video encoding, photo editing (especially with multiple complex filters) and Max/Maya.
- Bad price/performance ratio. There are machines in A-LIST with about half the price that offers better performance, especially in gaming.
- Dead-end upgrade. Very limited options for future upgrades.

On the Plus side you get.
- More features. Multi-touch and . . .

By zeevro on 15 Oct 2009

Too noisy!

It arrived yesterday and I'm having to return it today :(

Very dissapointed. The varous fan noises just don't die down - you can hear it from across the room let alone when you're sitting 30cm away from the unit. You'd expect more of Sony. Perhaps this is a bad one.

Fantastic in every other respect - but this spoils it completely.

Anyone else got one and could comment on this??

By stellar on 27 Jan 2010

Speakers

I got a set of surrond sound speakers for my old PC, when i purchesed the VPCL11S1E i noticed it only had 1 2.5 mm jack and my speakers require 3, PLEASE HELP:)

By BillyC on 18 May 2010

Speakers

I got a set of surrond sound speakers for my old PC, when i purchesed the VPCL11S1E i noticed it only had 1 2.5 mm jack and my speakers require 3, PLEASE HELP:)

By BillyC on 18 May 2010

Trust a Sony Vaio at your peril

I bought a desktop Vaio for its beauty and great reviews some years back. A design fault caused overheating which destroyed the motherboard 1 month out of its 1 yr warranty. Sony didn't want to know. Customer service was appalling, not what I expected from a top end machine. Sony ensure that you can't replace parts with any other than Sony's, suitably highly priced. I will never, ever, buy Sony again. My computer consultant has come across plenty of cases like mine and wouldn't touch them with a bargepole either. Sure they look beautiful and perform amazingly - until they break down. Then you're on your own.

By RachelMaund on 26 May 2010

Good PC's Crap Customer Service

Thats my experience!

By mikes on 14 Oct 2010

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