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Sony Vaio E series (VPCEE2E1E/WI) review: Sony Vaio E series (VPC-EE2E1E/WI)

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The Good Beautiful design; Excellent keyboard; Good build quality; Decent battery life.

The Bad Mediocre performance; Trackpad buttons feel a little cheap.

The Bottom Line For a budget laptop, the 15.5-inch Sony Vaio E-series VPCEE2E1E/WI looks fantastic, but, sadly, its performance doesn't quite match its impressive design.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.5 Overall

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The Sony Vaio E-series VPC-EE2E1E/WI is one of the few laptops around that uses AMD's Vision 2010 platform. Basically this means that, instead of being based on Intel technology, it runs on an AMD Athlon processor and uses ATI Radeon graphics. The 15.5-inch laptop is aimed at the budget end of the market. Our review model was supplied by Laptops Direct, where you can buy it for just £475, which is surprisingly cheap by Sony's standards.

Sparkling ivory stunner

It may be aimed at budget buyers, but the VPC-EE2E1E/WI looks far from cheap. In fact, its sleek curves and glossy white-and-silver finish mean it stands out like a sore thumb when viewed next to the boring all-black designs of most cheap laptops. You'll find several classy design touches dotted around the chassis, including a subtle sparkle effect embedded into the glossy white finish, sculpted screen hinges and the neat way the trackpad is seamlessly integrated into the wrist rest. At 2.7kg, the VPC-EE2E1E/WI is a little heavier than usual for a 15.5-inch machine, but it's not too bulky, measuring just 284 by 37 by 369mm. Its build quality is also very impressive. It feels remarkably solid when you pick it up and there's very little give in the chassis.

Of course, some corners have been cut to keep the price down. For example, the 15.5-inch display has a pretty mediocre screen resolution of 1366x768 pixels -- this is the same resolution you'll find on the smaller displays of some high-end netbooks. Nevertheless, the screen is LED-backlit and has a glossy coating, so colours look impressively rich and vibrant. As with most glossy displays, it can be a tad reflective, but no more so than the displays you'll find on even pricier laptops. Like many budget laptop screens, the horizontal viewing angle on this machine isn't all that wide.

The Vaio E-series sports Scrabble-type keys that are a pleasure to type on.

The VPC-EE2E1E/WI's keyboard uses isolated keys. This type of keyboard arrangement is very fashionable at the moment, but it's also practical, especially when it's well implemented, which is certainly the case here. The combination of the large, flat surface area of the keys and the generous amount of space between them make it a pleasure to use, even for faster touch-typists. The layout is excellent, too, and there's also a numerical keypad on the right-hand side of the keyboard.  Sony has added a grid of tiny dots to the trackpad surface to give it a more tactile feel. If we have one complaint, however, it's that the generously sized trackpad buttons are a little rattly and don't have the solid action we would have liked.

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