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Sony VAIO E Series (VPC-EA1S1E/P) - 14in Laptop review

Andy Vandervell

By

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

Pros

  • Good quality display
  • Generous resolution
  • Very good keyboard

Cons

  • Limited touchpad
  • Disappointing sound range
  • Poor horizontal viewing angles

Key Features

  • Intel Core i3-330M
  • 14-inch screen
  • 4 USB ports
  • 500GB hard drive
  • 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: £646.43

If you can't already see the picture below we suggest you fetch a pair of sunglasses before you scroll down. With the VAIO E Series, Sony appears determined to burn the retinas of anyone who beholds them. Available with 14-, 15- and 17-inch (we've got the 14in) screens, the E Series is sold in bold renditions of pink, blue and green. If you want to be boring there are white and black versions as well, but we've got the pink one and it's very very pink.

Unsurprisingly this boldness divides opinion, but there's something to be said of Sony's no holds barred approach. If you're going to make a statement with your choice of colour, why hold back? It helps that the basic design of the E Series is very strong. As with all Sony VAIOs it doesn't do flouncy and fussy; it's clean, to the point and elegant. This leaves the colour, or lack thereof, to make all the headlines.

Pricing and availability for this particular specification is a little patchy, but it varies between £650 and £750. At the top-end of this range it's a tad pricey, but below £700 it's okay. Whatever you end up paying you'll get an Intel Core i3-330M, which clocks in at 2.13GHz and has a 3MB Cache, along with 4GB DDR3 RAM, a 500GB hard drive and a 64-bit install of Windows 7 Home Premium.

These specifications are a good start and they're supplemented by a 512MB ATI Radeon Mobility Radeon HD 5145 graphics card, as well as Wireless-N Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Gigabit Ethernet. Most impressive, though, is that the 14in display has a roomy 1,600 x 900 resolution. That's the same resolution as found on the Samsung R780 with its 17.3in display, and it's a good deal more generous than the 1,366 x 768 pixels found on most competing machines.

Sony offers up a decent amount of connectivity, too. There are four USB ports in total, one of which does double service as an eSATA port, and both HDMI and VGA are on-hand for video. There are a trio of different expansion slots: one for 34mm ExpressCard devices; one for Sony's proprietary memory cards; and one for the more commonly supported SD card format. Also, on the front edge, is a useful hardware wireless switch and two audio jacks - one for headphones, one for a microphone.

Also included is Sony's Quick Web Access instant-on browser. It takes the web browser element from DeviceVM's Slashtop operating system, serving it up in around 25 seconds upon pressing the WEB button above the keyboard. It's the kind of useful sounding feature that works great on a press release and we dare say it'll be exactly that from time to time, but a replacement for a fully-featured browser it is not.

Wedge

April 16, 2010, 1:25 pm

I've been looking at 13" ULV laptops so this would be more than powerful for what I need. The eSATA and Expresscard/34 and high res screen make this look like a pocket money purchase compared to the Macbook Pro 13". I'll happily cope with the lighter build quality for the connectivity which is essential for me.

xenos

April 16, 2010, 4:54 pm

7/10 for the battery? The laptop is otherwise fine but a 4 cell 39 watt hour battery is pitiful.





Apple just got a 63.5 watt hour battey into a laptop an inch smaller. I don't like Apple but that was a much more sensible idea..

HarryGlass

April 16, 2010, 6:06 pm

I'm typing this on a 15" (in black - more sensible though still a bit glossy) E series variant of this (http://www.morecomputers.com/e....





@xenos: This isn't the kind of machine you buy for battery life, it's big and powerful. If you want something with longer battery life then (like @Wedge) you should be aiming at a CULV. 13" inch, low weight, low power, lower performance and lower cost, but very different machines for different uses. Even though the 15" I have is a bit bigger than the 14 reviewed here i'd still more call them desktop replacements that you'd carry around the house, but not out into the streets except for the occasional time.





The screens are great on these, mine goes upto 1900*1080 (full HD whatever that is, I just wanted it to compare documents side by side). As stated sound is pitiful and a disappointment, I guess these are really aimed at work more than multimedia or gaming. I guess having an HD screen and crappy speakers is a bit daft however. Plug in some external speakers or use headphones and you're fine.





I'm happy with this machine, the build is a bit plastic and doesn't feel as premium as I'd like, but for the money I couldn't see anything else out there that matched it. I could spend double to get a Macbook, another £200 on a similarly specc'd ASUS. (Seeing Sony, ASUS & Apple as the premium notebook manufacturers). Samsung, HP, they might be cheaper but I just doubt their long term reliability.

sakul84

April 16, 2010, 6:29 pm

My wife has the 15inch version in white (she likes the styling) and have to agree with @HK. For the money I dont think there was a better option (taking into account that Sony is a premium brand).


It is interesting to hear that Asus is considered a premium notebook brand by some. I always looked at Asus as one of the cheapest options out there.

HarryGlass

April 19, 2010, 3:45 pm

@sakul84: Acer are a (THE) cheap option, ASUS on the other hand are one of the best brand out there. I guess having the original netbook has diluted their image to some people, but even they are well built considering the price.

sakul84

April 19, 2010, 11:56 pm

@HK: dont get me wrong, I am very glad to hear that, as I just bought and Asus N61 :) so I do hope it will work well as it is my first notebook ever :) (been using desktops so far).


BTW: waiting to see a review of that Asus N61. In case it gets reviewed I hope it goes well ;) wouldnt like to a see a bad review of a notebook that I just bought.

stevakos

February 4, 2011, 11:38 pm

I bought one of these laptops - big mistake! It looked good but after 15 days of use the screen started having problems. Sony said the screen is cracked and not covered by the warranty!! I have not done anything to it so no idea how it cracked! Don't buy if you want something to last!

baseljanbek

February 23, 2012, 10:45 pm

I have a vaio e series VPCEA36F
I have a major problem
This laptop take four hours for full charge when it is turned off, and it is a disaster when it is turned on it took like 5 hours .
Anybody have a suggest or can help?

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