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Sony VAIO L All-In-One review:

Sony VAIO L All-In-One

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Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
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Coming in at or near the bottom on every benchmark test, the Vaio L-Series doesn't leave a lot to say about its relative performance. You can argue that its speed is acceptable given that Sony has prioritized home entertainment, but then I would expect to see demonstrably better features than you find on the other PCs. The system has a few nice tweaks, but nothing that adds enough value to offset its price tag.

This is not to say that none of Sony's additions are worthwhile. Of the features you might appreciate on this system, the L-Series has a lightning-fast wake-from-sleep function. The system comes to live literally within a second or two of hitting the power button. On the back of the unit, you'll also find a row of three USB ports that let you charge external devices even when it's powered off. Such a feature might be more useful on a laptop, but at least here you don't have to worry about losing charging capability when the system enters sleep mode or otherwise enters a different power state.

The other connectivity options on the L-Series are useful, if not particularly unique. You get three USB 3.0 jacks on the side of the system, a few more USB 2.0 ports on the back, separate HDMI in and out jacks, composite video input, a TV tuner, a mini FireWire port, an SD Card reader, and an Ethernet jack.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The last notable feature on the system, its in-depth display menu system, is both useful and frustrating. You can drive the menu with either the touch capacitive buttons on the front or the hard buttons on the right edge of the L-Series. The touch-capacitive buttons are difficult to use due to poor response, and the mechanical buttons can be frustrating because you can't see what they are.

Once you over come the poor input schemes, the menu system itself is fairly robust. Sony has included options to adjust various display settings with similar depth to what you might find on a television. It also includes those each of the four different display modes (PC, HDMI, TV, and composite). Adjusting the settings was not able to overcome the image quality issues we found, but at least if you have a preference for a certain brightness, color temperature, or sharpness, you might be able to get the system closer to it.

Support for the Vaio L-Series is relatively typical, although you might appreciate the dedicated Assist button on left side of the display that brings up Sony's built-in system diagnostic tools. You also get a standard one-year parts-and-labor warranty, as well as 24-7 toll-free phone support. Online you'll find live Web chat, driver downloads, and FAQ pages.

I will credit Sony with at least trying to separate the Vaio L-Series from the glut of large screen all-in-ones. I just wish the X-Reality video chip and the gesture recognition provided more meaningful benefits. Because they don't, this system does not have enough capability to justify its price tag next to its competition.

Benchmark testing conducted by Joseph Kaminski. Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations

Apple iMac 27-inch (3.1GHz Core i5, May 2011)
Apple OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.7; 3.1GHz Intel Core i5 (second generation); 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB ATI Radeon HD 6970M graphics card; 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive

Apple iMac 21.5-inch
Apple OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.7; 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 2400; 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 512MB AMD Radeon HD 6750 graphics card; 500GB 7,200rpm hard drive

Asus All-in-one PC ET2700INKS
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 2600S; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540M graphics card; 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive

HP Omni 27 Quad (2.5GHz Core i5, February 2012)
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 2400S; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 64MB Intel HD Graphics 1000 (embedded); 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive

HP TouchSmart 620 (3.1GHz Core i5, October 2011)
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 3.1GHz Intel Core i5 2400; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB AMD Radeon HD 6670A graphics card; 1.5TB 5,400rpm hard drive

Lenovo IdeaCentre B520 (3.4GHz Core i7, June 2011)
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (SP1); 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-2600; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 555 graphics card; 2TB 7,200rpm hard drive

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