Sony VAIO EB1Z0E review
Fusing power, panache and high-definition entertainment, Sony's 15.5in EB1Z0E is a star in the making
Review Date: 28 Jun 2010
Reviewed By: Darien Graham Smith
Price when reviewed: £664 (£780 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
The latest offering from Sony’s EB-series makes a striking first impression. Finished all in black, and replete with gloss and matte highlights, the Sony EB1Z0E seizes the attention before it’s even found its way to the nearest mains socket.
Never mind that dark, brooding exterior, however; the real show starts when you boot up Windows and clock the resolution. Other models of around this size stick at 1,366 x 768, but the VAIO EB1Z0E's 15.5in panel goes right up to a Full HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080.
This makes desktop icons and text rather tiny (you may want to bump up the DPI in Windows 7), but it works wonders for HD video. Pop a Blu-ray disc into the built-in drive - a definite luxury considering the keen asking price - and the picture is incredibly sharp, with rich, deep colour. It's an experience cheapened only by the speakers, which simply can't produce the low frequencies required for a really cinematic experience.
Thanks to a built-in ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5740 GPU you can use this awesome screen for gaming too - although an average of 17fps in our Medium quality Crysis test suggests you'll have to scale the effects back if you want to play at HD resolutions.
Media capabilities may be the VAIO EB1Z0E's trump card, but it won't let you down when it comes to mundane desktop tasks. With its Core i5-430M processor and 4GB of RAM it outpaces many of its mid-priced rivals, achieving an overall 2D benchmark score of 1.56. It boasts a healthy selection of ports and slots, and a solid frame and ergonomic keyboard too. You also get Bluetooth and a larger 500GB hard disk.
The only technical shortcoming is battery life: a high resolution screen like this can devour energy at a shocking rate, and in our heavy-use test the VAIO EB1Z0E chewed through a whole battery in just 56 minutes. Light-use performance was near the back of the pack too, at 3hrs 17mins, although given its increased screen specification over the competition that's not too bad.
The Sony VAIO EB1Z0E can’t rival the more frugally equipped competition in the value for money stakes, so if you don't want a high resolution screen - or if you regularly need to work on the move - it makes sense to look elsewhere. But for a home user who'll enjoy the extra desktop space and welcome Blu-ray’s starring role, it will prove simply irresistible.
Author: Darien Graham Smith
A core i3 processor, full hd screen and 5700 series gpu for just 780 pounds!?!
Sadly the last part is a mistake, this laptop has a more pedestrian ati radeon 5470 gpu.
By subseb on 6 Jul 2010
Re: Wishful thinking
Alas, you are correct about the gfx card - however, the processor is actually core i5.
By sexyjw on 6 Jul 2010
Not so wishful thinking...
I just ordered one of these from Sonystyle and they have some offers on I managed to spec mine with a 5650 (ok so its not quite a 5740 not that that card exists), an i5 450m and a Blu Ray burner for just £789 inc VAT and delivery...who would of thought Sony would be cheaper than a Dell or even an Acer spec for spec!
By DaWillo on 24 Jul 2010
So far so good
I bought one tax-free from the Sony Style store in Heathrow Terminal 5. So far I had an intermittent problem with the integral webcam not being recognised under Windows 7. Now i have Ubuntu installed alongside Windows 7. It is a nice laptop with great spec for the price.
By ashleyrock on 17 Aug 2010
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