Sony Vaio E Series (EC1S1E/BJ.CEK) review

A fast processor, quick 3D graphics, full HD display, Blu-ray player and large hard disk all combine to make this an absolutely stunning desktop replacement.

18 May 2010
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Sony Vaio E Series (EC1S1E/BJ.CEK)
Our Rating 
5/5
Price when reviewed 
811
inc VAT

Specifications

17.3 in 1920x1080 display, 3.1kg, 2.26GHz Intel Core i5-430M, 4.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit

Sony's 17.3in widescreen Vaio EC1S1E is a sleekly designed but nonetheless imposing desktop replacement laptop with a full 1080 HD display, Blu-Ray drive and 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650. Although it's more streamlined than most desktop replacements, the EC1S1E isn't the sort of computer you can sling in your backpack: as well as weighing 3.1kg, it's battery life of just over two hours is poor, even for a desktop replacement. That's not entirely surprising, given the laptop's demanding specification.

The EC1S1E has a 2.26GHz Intel Core i5-430M processor and 4GB RAM, which made for a good performance in our benchmark tests, producing an overall score of 86. The dedicated graphics processor means that it's no slouch when it comes to gaming, either, achieving an impressive 34.9fps in our CoD4 test and 20.4fps at the screen's full 1,920x1,080. The latter is a little too slow for comfortable gaming, but a little tweaking should provide a smooth performance at high resolutions.

Another obvious benefit of the HD display is that you can watch Blu-ray movies at their native resolution. It's large enough to comfortably watch a film on, while an HDMI output means that you can connect it to a TV or projector if you need a bigger screen.

The laptop's screen is excellent. Although its glossy finish is very prone to reflections, blacks are deep and right and light tones are bright, if slightly cold. We were particularly impressed by the display's greyscale gamut.

Typically for a laptop, there's only support for stereo analogue audio, so you'll need to use the HDMI output or an external USB sound card if you want 5.1 surround sound. Audio from the built-in speakers is clear, with great treble definition, but it's not particularly loud and bass is poor.

Other features are much as we'd expect from a laptop at this price, including Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n wireless and a memory card reader that can handle SD, SDHC and Memory Stick HG Duo cards. As well as three USB ports, there's an eSATA port for fast external storage, while a 500GB hard disk provides plenty of internal storage. An ExpressCard/34 slot provides some potential for expansion if, for example, you want to add a TV tuner without occupying one of your USB ports.

We found it hard to get used to the size and positioning of the weirdly textured touchpad and found it easy to brush by accident. The pad is centred relative to the main keyboard, but feels off because of the full numeric keypad to the right. The keyboard itself, with flat, widely separated keys, proved fairly comfortable to use and quick to type on once we'd become accustomed to it.

Apart from some issues with touchpad positioning, there's very little to fault about the EC1S1E - it's powerful, with plenty of features, good gaming performance and a proper 1080p display to go with its Blu-Ray player. All this helps to make the EC1S1EB the best choice if you want a cutting edge home entertainment laptop. It's a Best Buy.

Basic Specifications

Rating *****
Processor Intel Core i5-430M
Processor clock speed 2.26GHz
Memory 4.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 8GB
Size 32x409x274mm
Weight 3.1kg
Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Pointing device touchpad

Display

Viewable size 17.3 in
Native resolution 1920x1080
Graphics Processor ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650
Graphics/video ports VGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory 1,024MB

Storage

Total storage capacity 500GB
Optical drive model Optiarc BC-5500S4
Optical drive type BD-ROM + DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Bluetooth no
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots 1x ExpressCard/34
Modem No
Supported memory cards SD, SDHC, Memory Stick HG Duo
Other ports eSATA

Miscellaneous

Carrying case No
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option Windows disc
Software included none
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty one year collect and return
Price £811
Details www.sony.co.uk
Supplier http://www.morecomputers.com

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