Sony VAIO EB1E0E review

8 Jul 2010

Not a powerful beast, but a stylish beauty

Price when reviewed 
501
5

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).

[IMG ID=150226F]Sony VAIO EB1E0E[/IMG]

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £426
Price inc VAT £501
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 6
Performance 4

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 370 x 248 x 31mm (WDH)
Weight 2.550kg
Travelling weight 2.9kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i3-330M
Motherboard chipset Intel HM55 Express
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 15.5in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel HD graphics
Graphics card RAM 256MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 320GB
Hard disk usable capacity 298GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Toshiba MK3265GSX
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical drive HL-DT-ST GT20N
Battery capacity 3,500mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support no

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch yes
Wireless key-combination switch no
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 1
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 4
FireWire ports 0
eSATA ports 1
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 2
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader no
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset Realtek HD Audio
Speaker location Above keyboard
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 0.3mp
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 4hr 4min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 14min
Overall application benchmark score 1.31
Office application benchmark score 1.22
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.31
Encoding application benchmark score 1.18
Multitasking application benchmark score 1.55
3D performance (crysis) low settings 19fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition, burn own recovery discs