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Sony VAIO EE2 review

Verdict

Sony’s E Series is just as good as ever, but AMD’s Vision spectacularly fails to excite

Review Date: 11 Jun 2010

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £416 (£489 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
3 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
3 stars out of 6

In recent years, AMD has struggled to compete with Intel’s dominance in the laptop market. But given the sheer enthusiasm with which it’s launched its Vision 2010 platform, that may be all about to change. Sony is the first major manufacturer to usher AMD’s Vision platform into its range, and this, the EE2E1E/WI, aims to bring a bit of Sony style to the budget laptop arena.

Make no mistake, this AMD-powered E-series is aimed squarely at the budget end of the market. Sony has plumped for the entry-level Vision platform, pairing a dual-core Athlon II P320 processor running at 2.1GHz with an integrated ATI Radeon HD 4200 graphics chipset.

After the excitement of Intel’s Core i3, though, the performance of this AMD partnership will come as a disappointment. Where the Core i3-330M in the identikit chassis of Sony’s VPC-EB1S0E clocked an impressive 1.35 in our application benchmarks, the AMD-powered model barely scraped 1.01 overall.

Sony VAIO EE2

Graphics performance marks a tiny improvement on Intel’s HD integrated effort, but it’s nowhere near enough to redeem AMD Vision’s low-end duo. The ATI Radeon HD 4200 struggled through our lowest-quality Crysis test at an average frame-rate of 21 frames per second, barely two frames per second faster.

Any hopes that the AMD partnership might major on power efficiency are swiftly dashed, too. Even sitting idle the Sony stopped just short of the three-hour mark, finishing our light-use test in 2hrs 53mins. Pushing the processor to its modest limits, meanwhile, drained the 3,500mAh battery in just 1hr 8mins.

As you might anticipate, at just £416 exc VAT the EE2E1E/WI is a decidedly no-frills affair. But despite the low price and the AMD Vision sticker proudly proclaiming the hardware inside, the E-series’ charms are enough to distract from the performance limitations. It comes as no surprise to find luxuries such as a high-definition screen, Blu-ray drive or even a dedicated graphics chipset are missing, but if you’re expecting a boring, nondescript 15.5in laptop best hidden away from design-conscious eyes, you’re in for a surprise.

Emerging resplendent in a combination of white and silver, all smooth curves and neat, unfussy design, this is one budget laptop that doesn’t wear its price tag on its sleeve. The glossy white wrist-rest gleams with a subtle sparkle, and the two-tone silver and white design looks far classier than much of the competition.

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