- Good quality display
- Generous resolution
- Very good keyboard
- Limited touchpad
- Disappointing sound range
- Poor horizontal viewing angles
- Review Price: £678.89
- Intel Core i3-330M
- 14-inch screen
- 4 USB ports
- 500GB hard drive
- 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium
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.