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Sony VAIO E Series 14in review

Verdict

Sony’s smallest VAIO E Series comes in colours that inevitably polarise opinion, but if the styling suits, it's a great little laptop

Review Date: 1 Apr 2010

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £574 (£674 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

For some, the mere sight of that four-letter VAIO logo is enough to inspire irrational desire. But in a world where Sony’s brand cachet alone can loosen wallets, the latest addition to its E Series family, the 14in VAIO VPCEA1S1E/L, is the laptop equivalent of Marmite.

We’d barely plugged it in before the comments began. Two PC Pro writers ambled by, caught sight of the unmissable Sony and, as if struck by lightning, stopped dead on the spot. What one said is wholly unprintable; the other, meanwhile, gave the E Series a loving fumble and cooed appreciatively.

Sony VAIO E Series 14in

Love it or hate it, the eye-popping aqua blue of this VAIO certainly grabs the attention. It’s not often that we find ourselves transfixed by a lid, but the Sony’s is something special. Ripples of tiny, dark dots radiate out from the silver VAIO logo that seemingly floats a few millimetres above. If you’re one of the 43 people worldwide who’ve always longed for a pseudo-holographic effect on the lid of your next laptop, you’re in luck.

The striking blue continues inside. Those darker dots fade through the wristrest, echoed by a strip of pin-pricks sweeping across the top edge of a keyboard that cuts a bold, black swathe through the middle.

Although it's the smallest of Sony's E Series, with a 14in screen, that keyboard is a sensible as it looks. Every key falls nicely under the finger and releases with a dainty click, and while the Sony isn't lightweight at 2.29kg, build quality is well up there with the best in its price bracket. Unlike many portables, the Sony’s lid genuinely seems to guard the TFT panel inside and despite prodding, poking and the most impolite twisting actions, the E Series proved remarkably resilient.

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User comments

small question

Probably asking in the wrong place, but what is the difference between i7 and i3, in my opinion i7 is better than i3, so lets see, there was pentium 1,2,3,4, then cores 1, 2, 4, then came the i7, and suddenly the numbers started to go down, i5 and i3. what is going on, are we no longer progressing or what, i know i9 (or i think it actually has a name) is coming out or already out, but what is the point of all these i5 and i3??? and also if you are giving it an HDMI and HD quality screen, where is the blu ray drive. I not know of services except BBC's HD iplayer, where i can watch films and tv shows in HD, so only other way to do is to watch a blu ray, ok i know this is not meant for gamers (either) but normal people do deserve something too, i am talking generally too, i see more laptops with i3 and i5 than i7 and blu-rays in them, the market is booming but no one is there to pick it up. sorry to waffle

By mobilegnet on 1 Apr 2010

i7 was released first, has I think triple-channel memory support, dynamic overclocking and hyperthreading. i5 is the same with dual-channel memory support. i3 is the same except they are dual-core without dynamic overclocking, and have an integrated graphics chip on-die. I think some of the i5's do too? Most i7's are on the 1366 socket, except one or two which are socket 1156. All the rest are 1156. See, easy. (/irony). I'm probably wrong somewhere in the above... :-/

By piphil on 2 Apr 2010

Thank for explanation

So my assumption was corrected there is a downward trend for this. hmm, thanks again piphil

By mobilegnet on 2 Apr 2010

Downward trend?

Not really! As piphil quite correctly stated, Intel just decided to launch the super-powerful exciting stuff first.

Don't forget, even Intel's lowly Core i3 is a serious step up from its Core 2 predecessors. Multi-tasking performance in particular leaves the older chips for dust.

Core i5 and i7 are significantly more powerful again, but most people will be perfectly happy with i3 for the forseeable.

As for Core i9, I sincerely doubt you'll see six-core CPUs hitting the mobile market before sometime in 2011.

Sasha Muller
Laptops Editor
PC Pro

By SashaMuller on 6 Apr 2010

Why no Firewire?

Yet again PCPro raves about a laptop with a serious shortcoming, no FireWire (IEEE 1394). The power of laptops nowadays is perfectly adequate for video editing on the go, but with no FireWire there is no simple way of capturing video from many camcorders. I realise a FireWire port can be added using the ExpressCard 34 slot (present on this laptop but in itself not ubiquitous), but FireWire used to be an integral part of laptops, so why has it disappeared? As a minimum shouldn't PCPro list the presence or absence of Firewire when it reviews laptops?

By pr00se on 8 Apr 2010

Why no Firewire?

Yet again PCPro raves about a laptop with a serious shortcoming, no FireWire (IEEE 1394). The power of laptops nowadays is perfectly adequate for video editing on the go, but with no FireWire there is no simple way of capturing video from many camcorders. I realise a FireWire port can be added using the ExpressCard 34 slot (present on this laptop but in itself not ubiquitous), but FireWire used to be an integral part of laptops, so why has it disappeared? As a minimum shouldn't PCPro list the presence or absence of Firewire when it reviews laptops?

By pr00se on 8 Apr 2010

Firewhere?

Hi pr00se,

Due to some technological gremlins, FireWire ports aren't showing up on the specification page. We're looking into it and hope to have it fixed asap. Apologies!

I'd argue that FireWire is far from essential these days, though. Most new camcorders use USB 2, so a cluster of USB ports is all many people, camcorder enthusiasts included, will ever need.

By SashaMuller on 8 Apr 2010

Blue tooth?

It this the model with blue tooth? its still very desirable this why I have bought a fw series.....You should be able to run Unix enterprise systems on this for Enterprise use.I cannot figure out why the graphics card is not NVIDIA..is this a vendor lock in?

By trickii1 on 28 May 2010

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