Sony VAIO EA Review

by Jerry Jackson Reads (67,511)
Editor's Rating
8.00

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 8
    • Usability
    • 9
    • Design
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 7
    • Features
    • 7
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 8.00
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Includes ExpressCard slot
    • Good value
    • Decent performance
  • Cons

    • Sub-par battery life
    • No USB 3.0
    • Optional keyboard skin isn't standard

Quick Take

The VAIO EA is an affordable Sony laptop with enough performance and features to keep most users happy.


The Sony VAIO E-series laptops are the most affordable notebook PCs available from Sony. The 14-inch VAIO EA and the 15-inch VAIO EB bring the style and extra features associated with the Sony brand name to you starting as low as $649. Keep reading to take a closer look at the VAIO EA.

Our review unit of the Sony VAIO EA (VPCEA3CFX) has the following specifications:

  • Intel Core i3 370M (2.4GHz, 3MB L3 cache)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • 14-inch LED-backlit display (1366×768)
  • Intel GMA HD integrated graphics
  • 4GB DDR3 (1066MHz) system memory
  • 500GB hard drive (5400rpm)
  • CD/DVD player/burner
  • Bluetooth (2.1 + EDR)
  • Ethernet: 10Base-T/100Base-TX/1000Base-T
  • Wi-Fi: Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200 (802.11/b/g/n)
  • Intel Wi-Di (wireless display transmitter)
  • Standard Capacity Lithium-ion Battery (5000mAh)
  • Dimensions: 13.60(W) x 1.07(H) x 9.39(D) inches
  • Weight: 5.2 pounds
  • Color: Coconut White
  • MSRP: $849 (optional $19.99 keyboard skin brings total to $868.99) 


Build and Design
The Sony VAIO AE is the latest 14-inch general purpose 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 black plastics and polished plastics in your choice of Lava Black, Hibiscus Pink, Coconut White, Iridescent Blue, or Passion Purple colors. Our review sample is “Coconut White” but pearl white might be a more accurate description of the color in real life. All of the plastics feel firm with no obvious flex or creaking sounds when you apply pressure to the chassis. Despite being designed as a budget laptop, the VAIO EA feels reasonably well built. The screen hinges offer enough resistance to hold the display in place yet aren’t so tensioned that opening the laptop is difficult.

The screen lid, palm rests and touchpad plastics are made with overlapping layers of clear acrylic with different patterns on different layers. The end result is a multi-layer design that looks a bit like the scrolling pixel code in The Matrix movies. Don’t let that description prevent you from considering this laptop; the effect is pretty subtle since the layered patterns are done using the same color as the rest of the laptop. Most people won’t even notice the design on the lid or palm rests unless they are within a few feet of your laptop.

Users looking to upgrade or tweak the VAIO EA 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. Since our review unit came with 4GB of system memory and a 500GB hard drive it’s unlikely that most consumers will upgrade either, but if you decide to purchase a high-performance solid state drive (SSD) then it’s good to know that you can easily put it inside the VAIO EA.

Ports and Features
Port selection on the VAIO EA is excellent. 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. USB 3.0 would have been handy given the increase in compatible accessories these days, but since the VAIO EA also includes an ExpressCard slot you can add a USB 3.0 adapter.


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
slot

Right: Three USB 2.0 ports, tray-loading
optical drive, Kensington lock slot


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