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July 2, 2012
- Modern, stylish design
- Lots of connectivity
- Blu-ray upgrade available
- Solid performance
- Below average battery life
- No faster hard drive available
The Sony VAIO E15 looks to stand out from the rest of the laptop crowd by having a more stylish design. It also has a competitive price at $650 as well as all the latest in connectivity options and a comfortable keyboard. Performance is good, but we wish a faster hard drive option was available.
The Sony VAIO E15 measures 14.7 x 10.0 x 1.3-inches (wdh) and weighs 6.3-pounds. This firmly places it in the mid-size laptop category. The lid of the laptop is brushed aluminum with a dark gray finish that wraps around the rest of the laptop. The whole thing looks very modern and a little different from most other mid-size laptops.
Sony's island-style keyboard is LED-backlit and seemed larger overall than most other keyboards, even with a numeric keypad to the right side. We found the keyboard to provide a comfortable typing experience, but a few of the keys were a tad undersized. The multitouch trackpad is actually a clickpad since it has no discrete buttons. We found the clickpad to be a tad oversensitive, but nothing horrible.
The 15.5-inch LED-backlit display (1366 x 768-pixels) delivered very good image quality, especially while watching streaming HD movies and DVDs. Despite this good quality, we noticed the lack of display brightness compared to other similar laptops.
With the VAIO E15, you get three USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port (with charging capability), HDMI-out, VGA-out, gigabit Ethernet, the usual audio ports and an SD/Memory Stick Duo memory card reader. There's also a tray-loading DVD+/-RW optical drive, but there is an option to upgrade to a Blu-ray player. Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11n Wi-Fi complete the wireless connectivity options.
The internal specifications of the Sony VAIO E15 include a new, third-generation Intel Core i5-3210M (Ivy Bridge; 2.5GHz) CPU, 6GB of RAM, a 750GB 5400RPM hard drive and integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics. There is no option to upgrade to a faster 7200RPM or solid-state hard drive, which is a little disappointing.
Overall, performance with this laptop was solid and slightly better than average compared to other 15-inch laptops. The PCMark 07 benchmark turned in a score of 2,439, which is again slightly better than others. A bump in hard drive transfer speed, however, would have improved this score (and performance).
The new Intel 4000 HD integrated graphics improve upon the previous generation graphics, but still don't expect to play any intense 3D games. This system will easily handle playing streaming HD media and video editing. There is an option to upgrade to discrete AMD Radeon HD 7550 graphics for an extra $100.
Battery life clocks in at 4.5-hours, which is about 1/2 to 1-hour less than other similar laptops.
For other laptop reviews, check out our Notebook & Netbooks section.