Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Sony VAIO E Series (VPCEJ15FG) notebook
A well-built, but basic Sony 17in notebook
- Reasonable price-tag
- Good build quality and design
- Keyboard should be larger
- A Full HD screen would have been nice
- Slightly bland styling may turn off some
Sony's VAIO E Series notebooks are intended for general purpose use, and the VPCEJ15FG fulfils that requirement happily. If you're trying to complete too many tasks at once the E Series does tend to pause for a few seconds, but we only encountered this a few times in our testing. For use in a small business or home office, or as a desktop replacement for a university or high school student (sans 3D gaming), the Sony VAIO E is a surprisingly affordable choice.
Price$ 1,199.00 (AUD)
The Sony VAIO E Series (VPCEJ15FG) is a 17.3in general-purpose notebook with mid-range specifications. It doesn’t do much to differentiate itself from its competitors, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Sony VAIO E Series (VPCEJ15FG) notebook: Design and connectivity
The Sony VAIO E Series that we tested was finished in satin black, with a matte black keyboard tray and screen bezel. Apart from looking slightly too bland and ThinkPad-esque matte elements, the notebook looks good — the satin black is patterned with ‘3D textured finish in which several small triangles construct one large hexagon, a noble design that will match any user scenario’ (Sony’s words, of course). You can buy the E Series in black, white, pink and dark blue. We thought the VAIO E Series should have a larger keyboard for a 17in model, although the trackpad is large enough and responsive enough for most users.
The VAIO E Series has four USB 2.0 ports (three on the right, one on the left), VGA, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, microphone and headphone jacks as well as separete MS Pro Duo and SD card slots. The optical drive is a DVD-RW unit, and the standard 4-cell battery is removable.
The 17.3in screen of the Sony VAIO E is glossy, but not extremely so. Its 1600x900pixel resolution means images are detailed and text looks smooth, although we would have preferred a Full HD panel.
Sony VAIO E Series (VPCEJ15FG) notebook: Performance and specifications
The Sony VAIO E Series (VPCEJ15FG) has a configuration that’s largely standard these days: A mid-range Core i5 processor (the i5-2520M), 4GB of DDR3 RAM, A 500GB 5400RPM hard drive, and a Geforce 410M graphics card. You can install up to 8GB of RAM or a 1TB hard drive (or solid state drive, if you’ve got the bucks), but no other component is user serviceable.
The fastest result we attained for our tests in the 3D rendering program Blender was 39sec — a good result for a mid-range Core i5 laptop like the VAIO E Series. Being a dual-core processor with Hyper-Threading the VAIO E’s Core i5-2520M can theoretically handle four separate, active tasks simultaneously — think watching a movie, browsing a Web page, installing a program and loading an Excel spreadsheet.
Converting 53min of music from MP3 to AAC in iTunes took 1min 44sec, and 3DMark 06 returned a result of 4660.These figures represent fair-to-good performance from the Sony VAIO E Series (VPCEJ15FG), and are roughly in line with other notebooks at this $1000-$1500 price point.
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