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Posted by on Jun 25, 2012 in Featured, Reviews |

Sony VAIO Series E14P Review

Sony VAIO Series E14P

Photos: Mariano Mancilla .

Among the many categories that currently exist in the computing, today we review a classic notebook into a world of tablets, netbooks and ultrabooks, to name a few. Manufacturers, perhaps unwittingly, have given a definition to this format as “The laptops large, moderately priced and great performance,” expectations that customers want (or should seek) in such models.

And the have long been preferred by users under the premise of good quality construction and optimum performance, fueling a kind of myth around these issues related to the brand. Will this be E14P Series up to expectations? We hope that after the conclusion of this review FW Labs, you can draw your own conclusions.

Specs

  • Model: Series E14P (SVE14A16FLW).
  • Availability tough p: Latin America, $ 570,000 CLP (Chile)-USD $ 1,100 approximate.
  • Central processor (CPU): Intel Core i5-2450m dual core, supports up to four processing threads thanks to HyperThreading technology. Scalable to 2.5GHz frequency 3.1GHz under load. 3MB of cache. 35W TDP, 32nm made part of the second generation Intel “Sandy Bridge”.
  • Graphics (GPU): Swap between two solutions. The first is Intel Integrated HD 3000 running at 650MHz up to 1.300MHz base when the chip is required. Second, dedicated GPU AMD Radeon HD 7570M with 512MB of memory.
  • RAM: 4GB DDR3 1333MHz, supporting up to 16GB.
  • Storage: Hard Drive Hitachi 640GB spinning at 5400 RPM capacity (revolutions per minute).
  • Display: 14-inch LED 1366 x 768.
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, WiFi, Ethernet, Memory Stick Duo 4, SD memory card, two USB 2.0 ports, USB 3.0, HDMI, headphone jack and 3.5mm audio output.
  • Battery: Lithium Ion, promises up to six hours of battery life.
  • Dimensions and weight: 34.1 cm wide, 24.5 cm deep with a thickness of 3.33 cm at its thickest part. 2.26kg weight.
  • Others: 1.3 megapixel Webcam. DVD drive and disc burner (DVD). Dolby Home Theater v4 and xLOUD.
  • Software: Windows 7 Home Premium, 30-day subscription to Kaspersky Internet Security 2012, DVD Architect Studio, Sound Forge Audio Studio, Vegas Movie Studio HD, ACID Music Studio, Loops for ACID Music Studio, Remote Keyboard, Remote Play with PlayStation 3 VAIO Gate, Adobe Reader 10, Microsoft Office 2010-unlicensed-Media Gallery, Evernote, PlayMemories Home, Magic-i Visual Effects, Webcam Companion, Skype.

Design and Display

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 2

Known by all, the VAIO line of computers known for having a striking and attractive at first glance, the manufacturer being bold enough in terms of color for carcass and this model a true test of that. Because despite being a model “white”, all edges of both the contours such as the keyboard, are colored cyan, giving a unique and distinctive in relation to the other party’s offer and is available under the same alternative format in black with red, black with purple and pink.

Certainly in this aspect is the choice of consumer aesthetic evaluation unit, however, we can be objective is to speak of building materials. And here we find almost all the plastic body of the team, with some aluminum rims that give strength to the structure. However, the majority are still plastic, and a very bright indeed, which gives an appearance of a material having front inexpensive and not the elegance of a polished aluminum cover or a soft textured plastic, as it ultrabooks we are used in devices and other categories.

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 3

Despite this the frame shows great firmness and no problems in taking it from the tips or the sudden maneuver, since the building responds quite well. Overall a well done team and although we have our doubts about the design, aesthetically speaking, this is subjective, so each one will decide if you like the plastic that glows and psychedelic colors.

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 4

As for the dimensions and weight, we face a notebook category that favors performance and price on the internal distribution of components, so that more than 3cm thick and weighing 2.26kg, we are not just facing a ultra-portable. We must take that into account when thinking about purchasing this equipment: it is to bring in the bag during the day to day, but rather as a replacement desktop PC used to play and has good performance. We will see later if that promise is fulfilled, but in terms of design, at least points to there.

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 5

On screen, the LED backlight sum several pros, providing a good level of brightness and color contrast, notice the difference becoming cheaper LCD panels with another kind of backlight. In reviewing the viewing angles is something curious about us as moving sideways in the same horizontal axis loss and minimal color distortion, however, the same exercise by changing angles vertically, ie, getting up or tilting the screen on its hinge, causing adverse effects in the clarity of the image immediately.

The resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels either we like, especially on a computer that is supposed to technical performance and is priced higher than if it is not too high, it is not humble, so that greater definition on the panel are strange , and pretty.

Overall we are facing a good design, bold, maybe not to everyone’s taste, but with a good build quality and strength despite the poor choice of materials (plastic). The screen is to be only in resolution but the LED responds well to the basic needs of all users.

Keyboard and trackpad

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 6

Beyond the cyan edges of the keyboard, it offers an experience of normal use and according to the price paid. The material is plastic keys, something slippery as is the entire surface of the equipment but not unpleasant. The size of 14 inches allows it to be full size, so no complications in this regard.

We thank the keyboard have light to backlight, which apparently is always on and we were unable to configure, although we believe this is our problem because it is not the first time that happens to us: we never find the options for configuring the light level or choose when to light it and when not. So a message to the assemblers of PCs: We want the built in keyboard!

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 7

The trackpad is quite special, since it takes some getting used to it and offers a good overall experience. While the material is not the best and offers something for skin friction are not completely dry, it is quite accurate and properly configuring the cursor speed (which the factory is ideal for us), the fluidity of use is optimal.

As you can see in the picture, the trackpad has a smooth surface with no buttons, and that in itself is quite a big button. Click on either side serves as a left click, while the right click is achieved by pressing the lower right corner.

This smooth surface, while not large, looks bigger than it is-touch gestures used to control the operating system, those who come through the Synaptics driver software. Setup is fairly simple, allowing you scroll the page with two fingers, zoom, image rotation and various other functions with two or more simultaneous touches on the trackpad.

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 8

Overall usability of keyboard and trackpad are very good, so much so that probably not necessary to run out and buy an external mouse for day to day, since options multitouch gestures are something you get used to and hard to let go. Despite this, Sony anyway looking to further improve this section to include for free with this team a silicon cover for keyboard and mouse, accessories discussed below.

User experience and software

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 9

After seeing the hardware specs, with a high performance processor and dedicated graphics solution, and the good reviews on the keyboard and trackpad with the screen, you believe that when turning on the computer will ensure a great user experience, however, this is not the case straight.

New out of the box, the first on is a complete fiasco: slow, cumbersome and full of trouble. Nuisance ¿what? Factory preinstalled software, primarily responsible for this great disappointment.

Because if you read the specification at the point of software, they will realize the huge list of programs that come installed on the VAIO. They are repeat (it can jump and save three minutes of your life):

30 days subscription to Kaspersky Internet Security 2012, DVD Architect Studio, Sound Forge Audio Studio, Vegas Movie Studio HD, ACID Music Studio, Loops for ACID Music Studio, Remote Keyboard, Remote Play with PlayStation 3, VAIO Gate, Adobe Reader 10, Microsoft Office 2010-unlicensed-Media Gallery, PlayMemories Home, Magic-i Visual Effects, Webcam Companion, Evernote and Skype.

And apparently is more, but I got tired of listing.

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 10

The problem is that switching on the PC many of these applications are fighting for your attention, whether to ask for initial setup to remind you that you have a limited (or not have it, but the same software is preinstalled), which adds many seconds when turning on the machine and start producing. Not to mention the amount of services and processes running in the background, which strongly penalizes the performance of the machine.

But the hardware is good, and after necessary cleaning of useless software, we turn the computer on 43 to 45 seconds, and achieve total shutdown in 20 seconds. Our advice if you buy this VAIO? Formatting the hard right away, or ask a friend to do it. The experience of using the factory is unbearable.

We’re just going to highlight two elements among all the programs that come preinstalled, which attracted our attention: VAIO navigation bar and body gesture recognition.

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 11

What we see above is the Sony navigation bar, which offers direct access to large amount of software on the list that we listed above, all with an expansion effect when we move the mouse pointer over the icons. You can include the shortcuts we want this dock, making it useful for looking special effects without having to install programs downloaded from Internet, but is completely unnecessary and come installed from the factory, have little choice if you dislike this class of solutions.

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 12

Give to mention also the software to control the web browser through body gestures, ie, moving your hand in front of the screen sideways to go forward or backward in Internet Explorer. This is possible thanks to a driver using the webcam of the PC to recognize the shape of the hand, continue their movement and transform it into a command, which works quite well in terms of speed of response and recognition. Also interesting is how the function is activated, it is done automatically when you open the browser, deactivated or changed if you close the window without user intervention on that. Does the “but”? This really is good for nothing more than showing off to friends and families can do just that, since the function is limited to control two or three aspects of Internet Explorer through the hands, which in a long-term use causes fatigue .

To complete this area, we want to be clear about something: there are great apps that are preinstalled by Sony, including licensed, and we refer to Sound Forge Audio Studio, Vegas Movie Studio HD, ACID Music Studio and Loops for ACID Music Studio. The problem is that the niche they are targeting these programs, which have a large learning curve is a specialized users and dedicated to producing audio and video to semi-professional level, so the vast majority of people without interest in such activities anyway have factory installed programs. It was more kind to include a paper with the number of license applications, pointing to an Internet download for those interested, they will be few.

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 13

Now, in terms of heat dissipation this machine does its job very well, driving through its powerful fan all excess temperature generated when put under load the CPU and graphics. Here’s a good job, because the PC is not heated so annoying, however, could not ask less than this given the thickness of the team, which is justified by the integration of a good ventilation system.

In general, the user experience is bad when we get the equipment box and turn on, this VAIO experiencing a problem that other manufacturers have tried to solve successfully, but with Sony taking it to the extreme negative: the presence of software preinstalled. Format or eliminate many programs it is imperative decently before using this equipment, which given your hardware, you should pay enough, as we shall see.

Performance

First, define. We are facing a high-performance notebook, or at least that merit its price, size, weight and thickness. That is why within the category of notebook regularly, our points of comparison are similar PCs as the Sony VAIO F Series 3D , Sony VAIO C Series , Sony VAIO Z , Samsung R580 , HP Pavilion dm4 , HP Pavilion DV6-6185LA and Samsung Series 7 Chronos .

Come to the core. First, Windows 7 brings its own set of tests given a score of 1.0 to 7.9 at various aspects of the PC, with a general result given by the lowest figure achieved by the worst component of the system.

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 14

The 4.7, which is not anything keeping with the rest of the platform that gets between 5.9 and 7.0, corresponding to the integrated graphics Intel HD 3000, which are good for nothing more than move the Aero user interface in the operating system. Fortunately, this VAIO brings dedicated graphics AMD Radeon HD 7570M, which temporarily replaced the Intel HD 3000 as required to deliver much higher performance, which was not tested in Windows 7 benchmark.

Dedicate some lines to the switchable graphics. Because we must clarify that this notebook comes with two graphics chips: Intel HD 3000 integrated into the central processor and a separate, dedicated, courtesy of AMD. Switching between both solutions can be done without rebooting the computer and assigning each program the graphics chip is to be used, which is easily configured to give a value to each program: High Performance graphics using HD 7570M and Energy Saving Intel HD 3000.

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 15

From now on we will use the High Performance profile, starting with a test that will give us an overview of performance in this VAIO on specific tasks: HD video encoding, image manipulation, editing and flow of web browsing. We talked about PCMark 7, as well as providing details of each of these activities, gives us an overall score that comes from squeezing every PC component.

Futuremark PCMark7 Video playback and encoding (Frames per second) Processing web pages (pages per second) Image manipulation (Mpx per second) General
Lenovo U300s 23.1 8.19 6.39 3117
Sony VAIO Series E14P 23.04 12.44 9.14 2287

Over time this limited list will grow, so we’ll have numbers to compare PCMark7. For now, we put these results to a Lenovo ultrabook U300s and performance is just disappointing. While there is a significant performance boost in terms of central processor (CPU), the user experience is not reflected in figures as optimal synthetic, which is mainly attributed to spinning hard disk present in this model instead of a unit of state (SSD), which is not very fast, which is discussed below.

But the central processor is going well according to PCMark 7, and now I look to check with a test that measures clearly this: Cinebench R10, requiring the ability to renderear or bring to full capacity. Single CPU core requires a single core chip, while Multi CPU that it does both at the same time providing a broader view of the capabilities of the chip. On the other hand, OpenGL is the graphics, with a result that will give us a first look at this aspect and the AMD solution.

Cinebench R10
Single CPU
Multi CPU
OpenGL
Alienware M11x 1643 2979 2886
Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG 3352 7000 4449
Toshiba Portege Z835 3611 7190 4620
SONY VAIO 3D VPCF215FL 4529 17121 3859
Sony VAIO VPCCA17FL 4621 9768 4793
Sony VAIO Z 4573 9819 2058
Samsung R480 2362 5494 2924
Samsung 530U 3513 6195 3743
Samsung R580 2795 6268 3350
Samsung Series 7 Chronos 4688 14070 5607
HP Pavilion dm1z 1149 2210 1937
HP Pavilion dm4 3081 6852 2036
HP ENVY 14 Spectre 3622 7211 4677
HP Pavilion DV6-6185LA 4582 16983 5490
Lenovo U300s 3544 7137 3724
Sony VAIO Series E14P
4910 10376 6980

The figures go well, and although we feel that in multi-core tasks the central processor should have given more, delivered by a single core is simply outstanding, the best we’ve seen. It is always attributable to poor performance in multitasking to the amount of factory preinstalled software that brings this PC, which as we said, penalizes the performance and now we can see, despite being compared with dual-core chip with HyperThreading. We would like to test the platform with a clean install and custom operating system without any additional costs, as applicable, however, we believe it is part of the offer made by the manufacturer to have so much software on their models, so we measure every aspect of what Sony is selling and it includes additional programs that affect performance. And anyway why uninstalled some (many) things.

Now for the AMD dedicated graphics, which we will test with 3DMark 06, Futuremark benchmark company that focuses particularly carefully in this area.

Futuremark 3DMark 2006
SM 2.0
SM 3.0
CPU
TOTAL
Alienware M11x 3016 3160 1400 6539
Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG 4800 5267 2440 10854
Toshiba Portege Z835 1422 1690 2440 4114
SONY VAIO 3D VPCF215FL 2462 3063 3231 7060
Sony VAIO VPCCA17FL 2473 3074 3129 7054
Sony VAIO Z 1598 1975 3199 4761
Samsung R480 3183 3167 2216 7547
Samsung 530U 1170 1461 1931 3454
Samsung R580 3178 3273 2498 7726
Samsung Series 7 Chronos 2978 3266 3454 7946
HP Pavilion dm1z 762 968 1023 2213
HP Pavilion dm4 655 856 2763 2120
HP ENVY 14 Spectre 1187 1468 2000 3498
HP Pavilion DV6-6185LA 4063 5341 5048 11877
Lenovo U300s 1186 1408 2412 3484
Sony VAIO Series E14P 2030 2512 3405 5976

Here we notice a difference with teams in other categories, AMD with graphics jumping as one of the best things on this platform. While we are not against a solution of high rank, the performance enough to run 3D-intensive applications average quality, however, the HD 7570M has its limitations, and while it is useful to run casual games, may be insufficient for demanding users in professional applications.

Finally we will try to dedicate a computer hard drive, turning point that can not deliver a user experience as smooth as could be achieved with a solid state drive (SSD), new generation products that substantially improve reading speeds and writing data, which ultimately helps us when moving between folders and files with fluency, copying and pasting, and opening programs instantly. The software CrystalDiskMark 3 will help us measure these elements.

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 16

The Hitachi disk falls far short of the SSD, a phenomenon typical of this class of devices, so not to ask for more. With 74MB/seg data reading and writing 73MB/seg in, we left enough excess of 200MB/sec numbers you see in solid-state drives, which is reflected in loading and waiting times greater.

Overall, the performance of the CPU and graphics are “half up”, but are penalized by the amount of factory preinstalled software that Sony decided on the team, along with the slow spinning hard drive, which solved only with an SSD. However, specialized 3D applications go well stops, and the price paid, plus we took one of the best central processors (not quad core) that can be tested.

Battery and charger

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 17

Sony promises up to six hours of battery life with standard battery power, and to see if we get close to that figure but we run a simple test that will give an indication to potential customers about the capabilities of the equipment. Is “YouTube test”, which from now on we always do and hopefully, patent (although such a “Google” was angered by using the word YouTube). The method is simple: we will put the Windows power profile to “Balanced”, the brightness of the screen to 3/4 of its maximum capacity and we ran on Google Chrome a video on YouTube, the longest I could find , to 240p on the player small.

We got 3:50 minutes until the computer shut down so I can use that figure to make their own estimates based on daily use that give the PC, which perhaps may be more demanding than our test or less. However, six hours of autonomy promised are hard to get, unless you use a profile of energy savings, we have the screen in less than 50% brightness and hopefully we run a single application.

Despite this, we get pleasantly surprised to discover the small size of the charger, and that given the performance of the device, well we could find in front of a larger solution ae awkward to carry, as some manufacturers tend to give.

With this in mind, overall we see that energy independence is not promised, or is very hard to achieve, however, the small size of the charger helps mitigate the impact of this aspect.

Accessories

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 18

Finally, we will devote a section to the accessories included in this Sony VAIO, which are delivered free of charge and seek to improve the user experience for mouse and keyboard, although the integrated trackpad and keyboard are very good, as we review .

First, we face a laser wireless mouse small but very comfortable, and here we took the hat for the excellent quality of this device VAIO. In terms of design is not only aesthetically well done, but its shape is very comfortable and the weight is well distributed so that its management is the most optimal, without being a poor quality device or light that is beyond our control. The surface at the base that rests on the table is of a material that offers very little friction, the well could be Teflon, so it is easy to move the mouse on any surface.

On the other hand, we have a silicone cover for the keyboard, which seeks to protect from damage and spills, along with offering an aggressive cyan to “improve” the appearance of the equipment.

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 19Sony VAIO Series E14P image 20

While the design is attractive at first sight (for those who like that color), its utility is very low, since more than protect, cover degrades the user experience in long hours of writing, and that placing the silicone keys is a vacant space between them, being strange and difficult to type fluently, at least compared to the keyboard without this cover.

Anyway it is appreciated that Sony includes these accessories we imagine not raise the real price of notebook With a mouse that stands out for its usefulness and a silicone shell that does not so much.

Conclusion

Sony VAIO Series E14P image 21

It was just what we asked of this team: quality up to the expectations that people get branded VAIO, good performance and a fair price for the category of notebooks. Do you comply? In part. Since the performance that can give the components of this PC is very good, although we left a little happy because of the factory preinstalled software with which collapsed Sony equipment. Add to that the almost impeccable build quality, we have a combination that comes for a price not to be economical, it is not high.

We believe that there was a fair balance of benefits in this VAIO making it a viable alternative for those seeking a traditional notebook and not overpriced like ultrabooks or the slowness of other smaller models, while Sony played the edge of the knife to make the offer fair and accurate, neither more nor less.

However, there are a couple of aspects within this ambiguity could push a client to decide on this E14P Series: good processor, the bold design and the inclusion of USB 3.0 ports. More than that, we are dealing with a machine used to play less demanding 3D titles, moving office tasks and processing load at a good level and overall yield compared to everyday needs of professional players and to some extent. We are not against the best in graphics, but well above the teams that come only with Intel HD 3000. In short, this VAIO model is “in the middle of everything” in both price and performance, with some distinctive elements.

I miss

  • USB 3.0 port.
  • Good central processor.
  • Firmness of the structure.
  • Interesting accessories.
  • Cooling system.

The unpresentable

  • Too factory preinstalled software that degrades performance.
  • Excess of shiny plastic in manufacturing.
  • Limited energy autonomy.

Source: fayerwayer

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