The Sony brand name is often associated with a premium price tag, but the VAIO E-series laptops are the most affordable notebook PCs available from Sony. The 17-inch VAIO EC, the 14-inch EA and the 15-inch VAIO EB offer mainstream performance and multimedia features for less than $800. Keep reading to take a closer look at the VAIO EC.
Our review unit of the Sony VAIO EC (VPCEC3BFX) has the following specifications:
The Sony VAIO EC is a 17-inch mainstream and multimedia laptop from Sony. The E-series notebooks are the most affordable full-featured notebooks in the VAIO product line and you can probably argue that the "E" stands for "Economy class." The laptop body is made of a combination of matte and polished black plastics. All of the plastics feel firm with creaking sounds when you apply pressure to the chassis. That said, given the size of the notebook, those plastics are spread out over such a large area that the notebook exterior bends and flexes under firm pressure. Despite this, we aren't too concerned about the overall durability of the chassis ... particularly since this is a desktop replacement that will rarely leave the your desk. The screen hinges offer enough resistance to hold the display in place yet aren't so tensioned that opening the laptop is difficult.
Users looking to upgrade or tweak the VAIO EC will find plenty to keep them happy once they look at the bottom of the notebook. Sony engineers were kind enough to include two access panels on the bottom of the chassis that allow you to replace the RAM or the hard drive with whatever you want. Our review unit came with 4GB of system memory (upgradeable to 8GB) and a slow 320GB hard drive (more on that later). Most performance-focused owners will probably want to add more RAM and a faster hard drive or solid state drive (SSD) after purchasing this notebook.
Ports and Features
Port selection on the VAIO EC is good but not great for a 17-inch notebook. The system has three USB 2.0 ports, one additional eSATA/USB combo port, a headphone and headset jack, VGA output, HDMI output, Ethernet, and both SDHC card and Memory Stick slots. Given that this is the same layout we've seen on the smaller VAIO EB and VAIO EA, we would have liked to see at least one USB 3.0 or even a FireWire port just to fill the unused space and make owners feel like they get more for the money.
Front: SDHC and Memory Stick slots
and audio jacks
Rear: No ports
Left: Power jack, Ethernet, VGA, HDMI,
eSATA/USB 2.0 port and ExpressCard
Right: Three USB 2.0 ports, tray-loading
optical drive, Kensington Lock slot
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