Great build quality and a comfortable keyboard can't make up for the EE3E0E's poor performance, sub-par display and odd touchpad
15.6 in 1,366×768 display, 2.7kg, 2.2GHz AMD Athlon II X2 P340, 3.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Sony’s Vaio EE3E0E is one of few we’ve seen to use AMD’s Vision platform – a combination of an AMD processor and ATI graphics card. Although AMD’s products are generally cheaper than Intel’s, they have fallen behind recently in terms of performance, and the EE3E0E’s benchmarks results are proof of this. It came last in our Windows and battery tests, and the graphics processor failed our 3D gaming tests too.
In fact, if there were any savings afforded by the AMD parts, we couldn’t find any evidence that they were re-invested elsewhere in the laptop. Build quality is up to Sony’s usual high standards, while the matt silver lid opens to reveal a white-and-silver design that oozes style. The Chiclet-style keyboard looks smart and has a light action, with good feedback for touch-typists.
Using the entire width of the case, there’s just enough room for a numeric keypad too, which has double-height Enter and “+” keys. Underneath the keyboard is a large touchpad with two large buttons. We liked the buttons, which have a light action, but the touchpad’s surface is made up of tiny raised dots that feel abrasive, and although it’s reasonably responsive, it’s not smooth and will most likely pick up grime very easily.
A 15.6in, 1,366×768 display is to be expected at this price, and it’s not disappointing. The backlight isn’t as even or bright as some, but the glossy finish on the screen adds saturation to colours, and contrast was acceptable. Our only complaints were that a very slight blue cast made flesh tones a bit pallid, and vertical viewing angles were tight.
While the onboard graphics chip isn’t powerful enough to play 3D games, it can handle HD video content, although you’ll want to use a set of external speakers as the internal ones are loud but tinny. Alternatively, you could connect an AV amplifier via the HDMI port to process both audio and video. The four USB ports should be enough to attach mobile phones, MP3 players or external hard drives as well as a mouse.
The disappointment stems from an overall benchmark score of 55. While the EE3E0E is far more powerful than a netbook, it’s a third less powerful than many Core i3-based laptops at the same price. It also lasted only three hours in our light-usage battery test. Still, this isn’t a major issue for a laptop that weighs 2.7kg, as you’re unlikely to want to carry it around with you for very long.
While we can forgive minor shortcomings, Sony’s Vaio EE3E0E is clearly poor value. Performance is way under par, the display isn’t as good as the one on the Packard Bell EasyNote LM86, and the rough touchpad is an annoyance. If you have £500 to spend, buy the LM86.
|Processor||AMD Athlon II X2 P340|
|Processor clock speed||2.2GHz|
|Memory slots free||0|
|Sound||Realtek HD Audio|
|Viewable size||15.6 in|
|Graphics Processor||ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4250|
|Graphics/video ports||VGA, HDMI|
|Total storage capacity||320GB|
|Optical drive type||DVD+/-RW +/-DL|
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||802.11b/g/n|
|PC Card slots||none|
|Supported memory cards||SD, Memory Stick Pro Duo|
|Other ports||minijack audio output, minijack microphone input|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|Operating system restore option||restore partition|
|Software included||Microsoft Office 2010 Starter, Vaio Media Plus|
|Warranty||one year collect and return|