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Sony Vaio E series (VPCEB3J0E/WI) review: Sony Vaio E series (VPCEB3J0E/WI)

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The Good Great screen and keyboard;. Good range of ports;. Stylish design;. Fast processor.

The Bad Short battery life;. Poor 3D performance.

The Bottom Line Its stylish design and good all-round performance makes the 15.6-inch Sony Vaio VPCEB3J0E/WI a great laptop for use around the home.

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8.3 Overall

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If you're after a stylish laptop that won't break the bank, this ivory stunner -- the Sony Vaio VPCEB3J0E/WI -- might fit the bill. Our review model was supplied by Laptops Direct, where you can buy it for £560, which is relatively cheap for a Sony-branded model.

Ivory eye-pleaser

The EB3J0E/WI shares a similar design to the rather attractive Vaio EE3E0E/WI we looked at recently. Certainly, with its silver lid, ivory keyboard and wrist rest, it's a striking machine. Sony has also added some attractive detailing here and there, such as the seamless integration of the trackpad into the wrist rest and the industrial-style speaker grille that runs across the top of the keyboard. Given this model's top-notch build quality, it's easy to overlook the fact it's fairly heavy for a 15-incher, at 2.7kg.

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Sturdily built and stylishly designed, it's easy to overlook the hefty weight of this machine.

Some of the cheaper Sony models we've looked at over the last couple of months have relied on AMD processors, but the EB3J0E/WI takes the more traditional Intel route. It's built around a dual-core Intel Core i3-370M processor that ticks over at 2.40GHz. This is helped along by a decent 4GB helping of RAM, which is fully addressable by the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium.

Graphically lacking

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the price, Sony hasn't added discrete graphics capability, sticking with the integrated Intel HD solution instead. Opting for an Intel processor rather than an AMD one has certainly paid dividends when it comes to performance. The laptop racked up a score of 4,984 in the PCMark05 benchmark test, compared to the 3,968 that the AMD-equipped EE3E0E/WI managed. As a result, it'll have no problem dealing with more demanding tasks such as HD video editing.

On the flip side, its use of integrated graphics means it's not so hot when it comes to 3D gaming. In the 3DMark06 benchmark test, it limped its way to a score of 1,733, so it certainly doesn't have the graphical grunt for the latest first-person shooters, although you will be able to play older titles at a decent frame rate if you turn the detail settings down.

Elsewhere, the specification continues to impress. The 320GB hard drive will provide enough storage space for all but those with the largest of digital media collections, and the on-board DVD writer means you can easily run off your own custom DVDs and CDs.

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