Sony VAIO E Series (VPC-EA1S1E/P) – 14in Laptop Review - Keyboard, Touchpad & Audio-visual Review

Of late, the keyboards on Sony laptops, as evidenced by the CW Series and NW Series, have been excellent and the E Series is no different. While the layout differs slightly, the E Series keyboard has the exact same isolation keys as found on both series and they deliver smooth, defined and crisp feedback. We must admit to preferring the layout of the CW Series keyboard by dint of its offset cursor keys and large right-Shift key, but on the whole the layout of the E Series keyboard is very good too.

Such competence is matched by the touchpad. Like on the NW it has a slightly dimpled texture to differentiate itself from its surroundings, which proves a pleasant surface to glide across. Multi-touch is supported but only for pinch to zoom, making it somewhat limited in scope and therefore not that useful.

Of much greater benefit is the high resolution of the screen mentioned earlier. Being 1,600 pixels wide makes it a lot easier to fit documents side-by-side and the extra 132 vertical pixels you gain over most laptop displays makes browsing long documents and web pages a little easier. We wouldn’t say the high pixel density (the number of pixels per inch of screen) makes it particularly difficult to use, either – it’s a great resolution for this size of display.

Even better is the quality of the display itself. Horizontal viewing angles are actually rather poor by typical standards, but they’re more than made up for by the excellent colour production and contrast produced. Fine details in videos and photos are brought out very well, a fact further enhanced by the sharpness of this resolution on a relatively small screen and the deep blacks. It’s a step above similarly priced laptops.

Things come back down to earth with a bump where the stereo speakers are concerned, though. While not the worst we’ve heard, not by a long chalk, they’re still far from impressive. There’s no discernible bass and the mid-range lacks warmth, leaving only the now familiar tinny sound found on so many laptops. We can probably forgive this particular weakness, however, especially considering the superlative display.

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