Home' LAPTOP Magazine : April 2011 Contents mainstreamnotebooks
Want a large display
without blowing your
budget? take a good
look at sony’s VAIo eC.
this 17.3 -inch notebook
packs a Core i3 proces-
sor and AtI graphics,
providing plenty of power
for everyday tasks—with
enough oomph for some
gaming on the side.
the VAIo eC isn’t as
flashy as other sony
notebooks, but overall
we like its clean look.
Measuring 16.1 x 10.8 x
1.3 inches, this system
is a lot less chunky than the toshiba
X505, and at 6.8 pounds, it’s on the
lighter side for its class.
In most areas, the VAIo eC stayed
cool. However, the area by the vent
reached a hot 108 degrees after play-
ing a Hulu video for 15 minutes. since
it’s on the left side, you won’t notice it
when computing at a desk.
the VAIo eC offers a large and com-
fortable keyboard and number pad and
even has room to spare. the keys are all
well sized, and they provided a snappy
spring when we were typing.
sony also sells $20 keyboard skins which
protect the layout from dirt and grime.
We appreciate that sony equipped
the VAIo eC with a sharp and colorful
1600 x 900 display. We did have to con-
tend with our reflection, but otherwise
watching HD video was pleasurable.
Unfortunately, the glossy display has
fairly narrow viewing angles.
the speakers sit on top of the deck,
which should indicate loud, clear audio.
Unfortunately, the VAIo’s volume wasn’t
as powerful as we’d like.
this notebook’s webcam didn’t impress
us, capturing washed-out stills and video.
the Arcsoft Webcam Companion includes
fun effects and frames plus a feature
that allows users to turn the webcam
into a monitoring system.
the VAIo eC’s 2.53-
GHz Intel Core i3-380M
processor and 4Gb of
RAM earned a score
of 5,453 in PCMark
Vantage. this doesn’t
quite best the desktop
but this category is heavy
on Core i5 and Core i7
systems. the score also
lags behind the Gateway
nV7901u (5,814), but
it fared better than the
toshiba satellite A665,
which only got 5,224.
the 320Gb, 5,400-rpm
hard drive completed the
LAPtoP File transfer test in a little more
than 3 minutes, below what we’d expect
from this class of notebook. the boot time
was just a second below average.
Consumers who do light video editing
will be pleased with the VAIo eC’s speed,
as it was just below most desktop replace-
ments on the transcoding test.
When we played World of Warcraft at
the 17-inch sony VaiO eC delivers good performance and style for a reasonable price.
the full resolution (1600 x 900 pixels) we
saw frame rates of 37 fps with settings at
Good, and 20 fps with everything maxed
out. the speeds aren’t blazing, but they’re
playable. In the graphically demanding
Far Cry 2 we measured 47 fps at 1024 x
768 (autodetect effects) but a low 15 fps
at maximum res and graphics.
With a runtime of 2 hours and 54
minutes, the VAIo eC won’t spend much
time away from an outlet.
sony bundles a half dozen VAIo-
branded utilities, such as VAIo Care for
At $749, the VAIo eC is affordable for
a sony notebook, but is it a good deal?
the keyboard is top-notch, and there’s
enough muscle here for both productivity
chores and mainstream games.
We wish the screen had better view-
ing angles and that the speakers were
more powerful, but overall the VAIo
eC is an attractive notebook that pro-
vides solid performance for the price.
— k. t. bradford
CPU: 2.53-GHz Intel Core i3-380M Oper-
ating system: Windows 7 Home
Premium (64-bit) ram/expandable
to: 4Gb/8Gb Hard Drive size/speed:
320Gb/5,400 rpm Optical Drive: 8X
DVD + RW Display size/resolution: 17. 3
inches/1600 x 900 Graphics/Video mem-
ory: AtI Mobility Radeon HD 5470/512Mb
shared Wireless: 802.11b/g/n, bluetooth
2.1 + eDR Ports: three Usb 2.0, ethernet,
HDMI, VGA, headphone, mic, kensington
Lock Card slots: Memor y stick Duo, sD
memory card reader size: 16.1 x 1.3 x 10.8
inches Weight: 6.8 pounds Warranty:
one-year limited/24/7 toll-free phone
Robust software package
speakers somewhat weak
narrow viewing angles
PCMark Vantage 5,453 5,598
3DMark06 4,112 7,588
test (h:m) 2:54
test (Mbps) 28
Far Cry 2
* Lower is better
Laptop | april 2011
the 3 x 1.8 -inch touchpad is dimpled and
sits in a shallow well, but we found it some-
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