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Sony Vaio EC2S0E/WI review

Barry de la Rosa
28 Jul 2010
Sony Vaio EC2S0E/WI
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
914
inc VAT

Reasonable 2D and 3D performance and a great design work in its favour, but the EC2S0E/WI's Blu-ray drive alone doesn't justify the high price and the display should be Full HD.

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Specifications

17.3 in 1,600x900 display, 3.3kg, 2.27GHz Intel Core i5-430M, 6.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

With an Intel Core i5-430M processor, 17in display, a dedicated graphics chip and a Blu-ray drive, the Sony Vaio EC2S0E/WI seems to have all the bases covered: performance, gaming and home entertainment. It also has a smart Vaio design, as we've come to expect, plus a rather hefty price tag.

Sony has paired the Core i5 with 6GB of RAM, a step up from the 3GB seen in the majority of laptops these days. Compared to other laptops with the same processor, we didn't see a significant difference in our benchmark results. However, if you're working with large files, like HD video, the extra 2GB will prove useful. Its score of 88 overall is sufficient for the vast majority of tasks, but we’ve seen far cheaper laptops achieve the same.

An ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 provides 3D gaming capabilities. In our Call of Duty 4 benchmark, it managed 19.5fps; if you turn off anti-aliasing, you get a playable 29fps. This makes it suitable for older games, or online games in which the graphics are optimised for network play.

Unlike some recent laptops with current Intel Core processors, such as the Medion P6625 (see review p.XX), the EC2S0E/WI can't switch between the dedicated ATI chip and the Core i5's built-in graphics chip to save power. The battery lasts for just under three hours, which is acceptable, the EC2S0E/WI weighs 3.3kg and so isn’t exactly ideal for everyday mobile use anyway.

Sony Vaio EC2S0E/WI

The build quality lives up to the usual, high Vaio standards. A matt silver finish on the lid and bezel blends into white on the keyboard panel and wrist rest, which has a glossy, sparkly sheen. The lid's hinges are set right on the edge of the case so that the lid can bend back to about 135 degrees, and there are nice touches, such as the power button set on the edge of the case, so that its power status LED remains visible with the lid closed.

Around the case you'll find a decent selection of ports: four USB ports, including a shared USB/eSATA port, cater for external devices, plus there's an ExpressCard/34 slot and separate SD and Memory Stick slots. There are both VGA and HDMI video outputs, and the HDMI port can be used to send both video and audio to an AV amplifier.

The keyboard has large, separated keys that have a definite bite in the action that provides great feedback for touch-typists. The layout is standard, with a double-height Enter key and a four-column numberpad. The touchpad isn't as large as some, but it's responsive and supports multi-touch gestures, and its two large buttons have a light action.

We're not big fans of the extra software that comes pre-installed on big-brand computers - the useless little utilities and update programs that add extra start-up time to Windows and clutter your hard disk – but some of Sony's pre-installed software is rather good. The Vaio Care support package and Vaio Media Plus software are both accessed via a dedicated button above the keyboard, and while they duplicate features found in Windows, they are friendlier to use.

A glossy finish on the screen increases contrast and makes colours stand out more, but it can also cause unwanted reflections from bright overhead lights. Image quality is superb, but vertical viewing angles are tight so you'll need to adjust the screen carefully to get the best picture. We were a bit disappointed at the 1,600x900 resolution: for the price, we'd expect a Full HD resolution on a 17in screen, which would also make the most of the fitted Blu-ray drive.

The EC2S0E/WI ticks all the boxes, but ends up being a jack of all trades, but master of none. It's also far too expensive: Dell's Inspiron 17R has similar performance and features bar the Blu-ray drive, but costs £235 less; or you could spend slightly more and get Sony's F11S1E/B, which is much faster and has a Full HD display.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Core i5-430M
Processor clock speed2.27GHz
Memory6.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory8GB
Size32x409x274mm
Weight3.3kg
SoundRealtek HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size17.3 in
Native resolution1,600x900
Graphics ProcessorATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory512MB

Storage

Total storage capacity320GB
Optical drive modelMatshita UJ141AL
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL BD-ROM

Ports and Expansion

USB ports4
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11b/g/n
PC Card slots1x ExpressCard/34
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSD, Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo
Other portseSATA (shared with USB socket), minijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionbackup and recovery software
Software includedMicrosoft Office Starter 2010, Vaio Media Plus
Optional extras£149

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return
Price£914
Detailswww.sony.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.kikatek.co.uk

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