IT’S ALWAYS GREAT having a choice when it comes to colours, as how boring would it be if everything we owned was the same colour? Sony seems to have taken this to the extreme with its Intel Core i3 and Core i5 based Vaio E series of notebooks, since not only can you have them in a selection of six colours but they’re also available with optional coloured keyboard skins.
The E series of notebooks is obviously targeting the younger generation of notebook buyers, especially with colours like hibiscus pink, iridescent blue and Caribbean green, but luckily the E series is also available in more sensible colours like coconut white, gunmetal black and lava black. We dare you to visit the Sonystyle website to have a look at the various models with the keyboard skins fitted, as for some reason it seems like Sony thinks it’s a good idea to mix and match a bit here, but in our opinion some of those mixes are more eyesores than matches.
Specification wise you’re looking at a 15.5-inch display with 1366×768 resolution, the Core i5 520M processor or a Core i3 330M, up to 8GB of DDR3 memory and up to 500GB of hard drive space. You also get a Radeon HD 5470 graphics card with 512MB of dedicated graphics memory on some models in favour of Intel’s integrated HD graphics. Other features include 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, an unspecified DVD drive (Blu-ray is optional) and a built in webcam.
The E series also sports three USB 2.0 ports, separate Memory Stick Pro and SD memory card readers, Gigabit Ethernet, an eSATA port, a D-sub and HDMI connector and finally an ExpressCard 34 slot. For what is a rather large and heavy laptop at 14.56×9.77×1.22 inches (WxDxH) and weighing in at a portly 5.95lbs, disappointment is the only word that can describe the appalling battery life. At best the E series will muster a mere 3.5 hours of un-tethered use from the standard battery and if you’re watching a DVD this will drop to a mere 2.5 hours, which is barely good enough for the latest Hollywood blockbusters.
It seems like we won’t be seeing any battery life improvements from Intel’s latest mobile processors, although this was hardly expected as this time around it’s all about performance rather than improved battery life. Sony’s E series is set to be one of the first notebook lines out there to use the ATI 5000-series of notebook GPUs. Though the 5470 is a fairly entry level product, it should still offer superior performance to Intel’s IGP and should allow for some casual gaming. We can’t say we’re sold on some of the colour options, but then again, we’re hardly in Sony’s target market for the new E series.S|A
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