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May 9, 2010

Hands on with today’s offer PC — the Sony VAIO E Series

Earlier today, Ashley let you know about the first of our offers – a Sony VAIO E series laptop with Windows 7 Professional, a free Blu-Ray drive upgrade and a $90 credit for movies, all for $799.99! This is an impressive offer, given that if you bought this same laptop at its MSRP it would cost $999.99.

The Sony VAIO E Series isn’t your run-of-the-mill 15” laptop, and many of you probably haven’t seen one in person, so I wanted to give you an overview of what the E series is and what it can do. I’ve been using one for the last week as my everyday work machine, and I like what I see.

My Sony VAIO E isn’t the exact offer model – it lacks a Blu-Ray drive – but other than that, it’s virtually identical. It came with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (which I’ve upgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate via Windows Anytime Upgrade, as I do with all of my machines), 4GB of DDR3 RAM, a monster 500GB 7200rpm hard drive, 1.3MP “MotionEye” webcam” and a new Intel core i3-M330 processor running at 2.13Ghz.


What sets the E apart from most “everyday” laptops is its design and the level of personalization you can apply. You can get it in 5 colors – Gunmetal Black, Coconut White, Hibiscus Pink, Caribbean Green, and Iridescent Blue (that’s what I got, as you can see in the pictures). You can further customize the look of your E with a variety of interchangeable “keyboard skins” – soft silicon overlays that you set on top of the standard black keyboard. I went with neon green.  The keyboard skins don’t just look cool, they’re also useful –they keep the gunk, dust and dirt out of your PC, and give the keyboard a bit more tack which I found very comfortable while typing for a long time. It also makes the keyboard whisper-quiet when typing, which proved very useful when I was using it on conference calls. Oh, and did I mention that Sony wedged a comfortable full keyboard, including a keypad and a multi-touch trackpad, into the E series’ 15” body?



Graphics are powered by the integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator HD, which generates respectable Windows Experience Index scores, checking in with a 4.6 for Desktop Graphics Performance and 5.1 for Gaming Graphics. All in all, not too shabby for a sub-$1000 machine. I played Street Fighter 4 for a few hours over the last week and was happy with the performance – minimal chop and almost no lag.

The display uses 1366 x 768 resolution which isn’t class-leading, but plenty sharp to work with multiple windows simultaneously – I routinely had Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, IE, Office Communicator, Zune, and TweetDeck open, and didn’t have any problem manipulating the windows. Movies & TV shows look GREAT on this screen, too. I watched a few back episodes of The Simpsons and LOST and both picture and sound were very good. I’m excited to get one of the offer machines and try out my Blu-Ray copy of Avatar on it.

Overall, I like the Sony VAIO E Series. Like all Sony PCs, it’s well-built and thoughtfully designed, and Sony has stuffed it full of great components that make it perform as well as it looks. And for $799 you can’t go wrong!

Have questions about the Sony E Series that I didn’t answer? Leave a comment or hit me on Twitter @BenThePCGuy.