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Sony VAIO EB1E0E review

Verdict

Not a powerful beast, but a stylish beauty

Review Date: 8 Jul 2010

Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith

Price when reviewed: £426 (£501 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
6 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

The EB1E0E looks stylish from the word go. With a subtle juxtaposition of gloss and matte materials, and an almost imperceptible sparkle to the finish, it’s undeniably an elegant notebook.

It feels the part, too, with tank-grade build quality and a perfectly-pitched keyboard. The ensemble’s finished off with a 15.5in TFT that’s warmer and richer than we normally see at this price. Spot the EB1E0E in a shop and you'd be forgiven for getting your wallet out right away.

Of course, with such a swish exterior, there’s not a lot left in the budget for high-powered components. The processor is a bog-standard Core i3-330M, supported by 3GB of RAM. That gave the EB1E0E a result of 1.31 in our benchmarks – a reasonable score, but some way off the performance offered by Core i5 models (such as the Sony VAIO EB1Z0E).

Sony VAIO EB1E0E

Predictably, there’s no discrete GPU either, so high-performance gaming is out. And although the 1,366 x 768 screen looks sumptuous for DVDs, the speakers are a let-down at high volumes, regularly succumbing to unpleasant distortion.

Sony does provide eSATA and ExpressCard/34 slots, but card reader options are limited to Sony’s own Memory Stick media and SD cards. If you’re one of the few who uses xD, you’re out of luck.

One piece of unequivocal good news is the battery. A 3,500mAh battery sounds small, but somehow the EB1E0E manages to eke a very respectable lifetime out of one. In our light-use benchmark it lasted 4hrs 4min – well above average for a typical notebook.

And although a 1hr 14min performance in heavy use isn’t so outstanding, it’s still perfectly credible. In short, this is a notebook you can use on the move – which is just as well, as it would be a shame to hide the EB1E0E away in a study.

Clearly the VAIO EB1E0E isn’t a best-in-class laptop. But it’s so aesthetically seductive that for a general-purpose role, where raw performance is perhaps less of an issue than usability, it could well turn your head.

Author: Darien Graham-Smith

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