Sony’s E-series makes more sense as a 15in laptop; the 17in model is underpowered and overpriced compared to the competition
17.3 in 1,600×900 display, 3.1kg, 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M, 4.00GB RAM, 640GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Sony introduced the refreshed Vaio E-series earlier this year, but the company has already deemed it in need of an update. This new model is the first to include a 17.3in screen, which makes it ideal for replacing a desktop PC while still remaining portable.
As we would expect from Sony, the EJ1Z1E looks fantastic. The textured lid and wrist rest compliment the black chassis nicely, even if they are moulded from plastic rather than more premium materials. The minimalist design draws your attention to the huge screen, which is ideal for working on two documents side-by-side, or browsing the web in full-screen. It isn’t Full HD, but at 1,600×900 it’s still large enough for 720p video playback. Image quality was about average, with a decent amount of contrast and mostly accurate colour reproduction. Viewing angles weren’t the best, as the contrast quickly dropped when we moved away from a square-on angle. There’s not a huge amount of screen tilt either, which can make light reflections from the glossy screen finish difficult to avoid.
It’s a shame that the screen is best viewed up close, as the speakers were surprisingly loud. The clear mid-range and crisp high-end notes would be great for listening to music or watching catch-up TV from across a small room. However, with minimal amounts of bass, a pair of headphones or external speakers would be better when watching movies or playing games.
The EJ1Z1E has some solid internal components as well as a good-looking exterior. An Intel Core i5-2410m processor running at 2.3GHz, 4GB of RAM and a spacious 640GB hard disk should be suitable for most tasks, especially when Turbo Boost increases the processor clock speed to a rapid 2.9GHz. It ran through our multimedia benchmarks with an overall score of 58, which is about average for a Core i5.
Battery life was reasonable, managing just over four hours in our light-use test – a figure that’s higher than it would be without Nvidia’s Optimus technology disabling the dedicated GeForce 410M graphics card when running on battery power. Plugged into the mains, it’s capable of playing high definition video in either 720p on the laptop or 1080p on an external monitor, but it isn’t exactly well-suited to games. It managed a stuttering 15.5fps in our Dirt 3 test, so you’ll have to reduce the detail settings on most titles.
|Processor||Intel Core i5-2410M|
|Processor clock speed||2.3GHz|
|Memory slots free||1|
|Sound||Conexant SmartAudio HD|
|Viewable size||17.3 in|
|Graphics Processor||Nvidia GeForce GT 410M|
|Graphics/video ports||VGA, HDMI|
|Total storage capacity||640GB|
|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||SDHC, 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|
|Warranty||one year RTB|