Sony Vaio SE Series review:

Sony Vaio SE Series

Juice box
Sony Vaio SE Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 0.24
Sleep (10 percent) 0.91
Idle (25 percent) 11.28
Load (5 percent) 61.62
Raw kWh 53.75
Annual energy cost $6.10

With the optional slice battery, the Sony Vaio SE ran for 6 hours and 34 minutes on our video playback battery drain test, with the GPU switch set to Speed (which is we expect most users will set and forget it). Without the slice battery, the system ran for only 3 hours and 2 minutes, which is on the low end of acceptable for a midsize laptop. Flip the switch to Stamina, and those times should improve by at least a third, and with the slice batter and the GPU turned off, a full day of computing should be no problem.

The Sony Vaio SE is backed by an industry-standard, one-year warranty. Support is accessible 24-7 via a toll-free phone line, an online knowledge base, and a Web site with driver downloads. Sony's support sites are clean and easy to navigate, but information about your exact laptop configuration may be hard to find (although it's hard to tell in this specific case, as Sony hasn't listed it for sale yet).

From the design and features list of the Vaio SE, it's clear Sony is targeting this as a high-end, power laptop with potential appeal to business users, which is rarely charted territory for Sony. Fortunately, it also works just fine as a reasonably priced consumer laptop, and a sharp-looking, powerful one at that.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations

Dell XPS 15Z
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-2620M; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 525M / 64MB (Shared) Intel HD 3000; 750GB Seagate 7,200rpm

Sony Vaio VPC-SE
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-2430M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 512MB AMD Radeon HD 6,470M/ 64MB (Dedicated) Intel HD; 640GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Dell Inspiron N411Z
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 3000; 750GB Western Digital 7,200rpm

Apple MacBook Pro - Core i7 Sandy Bridge 15.4 inch - 2.2GHz
OS X 10.6.6 Snow Leopard; Intel Core i7 2.2GHz; 4096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 1GB AMD Radeon HD 6,750M / 384MB (Shared) Intel HD 3000; 750GB Toshiba

Asus K53E
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2520M; 6,144MB DDR3 SDRAM 667MHz; 192MB (Dedicated)/1,760MB (Total) Intel GMA HD; 640GB Seagate 7,200rpm

What you'll pay

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