The Good The Sony Vaio E17 has an affordable base price, a lot of upgrade options, and a bright 1080p screen.
The Bad The small and uncomfortable touch pad is hard to use with Windows 8 gestures. Graphics performance isn’t up to snuff compared with other game-playing laptops.
The Bottom Line If you want a reasonably priced desktop-replacement big-screen laptop, the Vaio E17 is worth a look. But it’s not a good Windows 8 showcase machine, and it lacks any touch interface other than a small touch pad.
Windows 8 laptop without the touch
Windows 8 isn’t all about, although to most people it might end up being the defining feature of new Win 8 hardware. Despite the crazy-looking laptops and tablets you’ve been getting glimpses of, there will be indeed be regular, plain-old normal Windows 8 laptops and desktops, too.
Sony’s Vaio E171290X is just such a machine. A 17-inch expansion to Sony’s midrange E-series line, this is a high-end desktop replacement computer in a pleasingly curved white-and-black plastic body. It’s not overly heavy (7 pounds), or overly expensive (base configurations start at $650 for a Core i5 processor, 320GB hard drive, 1080p screen, and 4GB of RAM). In its upper echelons, like our review sample, it’s packed to the gills: a quad-core Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 750GB hard drive, AMD Radeon HD 7550M graphics, a Blu-ray drive, and a 1,920x1,080 display, costing $1,020. That’s actually a pretty good price, considering what’s under the hood.
That’s enough to cement the E17 as a very good computer, but as a Windows 8 laptop, it falls short. It lacks a touch screen, and its included touch pad just isn’t up to the task for Windows 8’s gestures. The battery life is also very short, although that’s common for big-screen laptops. However, if you’re looking for a good value in a full-featured laptop with plenty of upgrade options, the E17 is a solid bet. It’s the other side of Windows 8: the conventional one.
Get an Acer Swift 3 ultraportable for $419.99
Slim, sexy and packed with features, the Swift 3 has never been cheaper. Plus: three bonus deals, including a $10 Bluetooth speaker!
Eight killer Costco deals coming on Black Friday
It's that time of the year for a deal on a two-pack of Google Home speakers, discounted laptops and marked-down game consoles.
Hey Apple: Let's bring Face ID to Macs
The facial recognition technology in the iPhone X would be perfect for the MacBook and iMac.
Move over, PUBG, this PC-only retro RPG is burning up the Steam charts
Divinity: Original Sin 2 went from Kickstarter cult fave to mainstream hit.
3 big reasons VR failed to revolutionize PC gaming
With a lower profile at this year's E3, virtual reality may not be the game-changer some expected.
Ever own a computer with a DVD drive? You may be owed $10
Optical drive makers settle a class-action lawsuit that accused them of conspiracy to inflate prices.
How Apple's embrace of the new USB points to world without wires
Apple's reliance on a single, more powerful version of the USB port in its new MacBook might alienate customers today, but analysts say the company is leading the way to future PC design.
Xbox One and Windows 10: New best friends
Microsoft shows off new features that indicate soon, your Xbox won't be just a game console, but a TV-connected Windows PC, too.
Get a Sony Vaio Tap 11 hybrid PC for $379.95
Originally $800, this refurbished 11.6-inch tablet includes a keyboard, kickstand, and 128GB SSD.
Vaio Pro and Fit are first Vaio laptops since being sold off by Sony
Vaio is now a separate company to Sony, but its first two laptops are familiar for more than their name.
Sony's PC implosion a lesson for Apple?
Sony priced itself out of the market. And consumers' flight from premium laptops could mean some pain for Apple.
Sony recalls hybrid Vaio laptops due to battery issues
Sony has today announced a recall on selected VaioFit Laptops due to an internal issue with the lithium-ion battery that can cause it to overheat.