The Sony VAIO EA series are mid-sized laptops with a huge assortment of colors and configurations. It comes in seven different colors and features either an Intel Core i3 or i5 CPU with up to 8GB of RAM and 640GB of hard drive storage.
Sony really looks to offer many customization options for the Sony VAIO EA series laptops. There are seven different color options, each $50 each, but the matte black model is without an additional fee. The colors include purple, blue, green, white, pink, and a sleek black. The colors that you pay the $50 fee for come with a really high-quality finish that has patterns and gradients to make it look quite cool. Our model we tested was "iridescent blue" (VPCEA3CFX/L) and looked like a light blue that really did shine.
In total, the laptop weighs 5.2-pounds with the battery and measures 13.6 x 1.1 x 9.4-inches (whd), which is really portable and easy to carry around in a small laptop messenger bag. The EA series comes with a glossy 14-inch 1366 x 768 pixel LED-backlit display that looks really good and has good brightness and color quality. The keyboard is chiclet-style and is quite comfortable to type on. The mouse touchpad is also well-designed and seems adequately sized. The surface of the trackpad is slightly textured to give you a little tactile touch.
There's many ports on the Sony VAIO EA series laptops, including VGA out, HDMI out, eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port, Gigabit Ethernet, and ExpressCard/34 slot on the left side and three USB 2.0 ports with a Blu-ray combo CD/DVD burner optical drive on the right side. The front edge also has a memory card reader for SD and Memory Stick Pro cards and headphone and microphone ports.
The model that we were sent includes the following specifications: an Intel Core i3-370M CPU clocked at 2.4GHz, 4GB of DDR3 memory (maximum 8GB), 500GB hard drive (5400rpm), an integrated Intel HD graphics processor, DVD/CD writer combo drive, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, and Intel High Definition Audio. If you are looking for more power, there is a CPU upgrade available to get an Intel Core i5, 8GB of RAM, and a Blu-ray optical drive. If you intend on doing any 3D gaming, you'll also want to upgrade to the available discrete ATI Radeon Mobility 5470 or 5650 for $50 or $100 extra, respectively. This laptop also supports Intel WiDi Wireless display technology, which is a rarity.
Performance with our model, which again wasn't suitable for 3D gaming because of the integrated graphics processor, was excellent for regular computing tasks. Again, if you want to do 3D gaming, make sure you choose a more upgraded customization. Battery life is rated at 3.5-hours with a standard capacity battery and we were able to get exactly that, which is a little lesser than we'd hoped from a portable computer like this one.
Sony pre-installs Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) as the operating system, but also includes Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition. They also pre-install lots of other pieces of software, like a 30-day trial of Norton Internet Security 2010, Adobe Photoshop Elements 8.0, ArcSoft WebCam Companion 3, Evernote, Roxio Easy Media Creator, Sony's Creative Suite, and VAIO Care, which is Sony's system diagnostics and maintenance software. The Sony Creative Suite software includes VAIO Media Gallery, which imports, edits, organizes, and publishes media files.