This is the second desktop replacement notebook I’ve written a review on in the last few weeks. Following on from my Dell Inspiron 17 R review. The Vaio 17 inch in White on the other hand is of substantially higher build quality as one would expect from this far more premium branded notebook. With its metallic plastic case and beautiful white glossy chassis and chicklet keyboard with rigid and sturdy frame its both stunning and durable.
Upon first opening the lid you’ll be met by a gorgeous 1600 x 900 resolution LCD display and the full size keyboard complete with numerical keypad. Above the keyboard on either size you have the stereo speakers, which offer rich warm tones, albeit without much base. One down side to the Vaio design is the implementation of a unified trackpad built into the chassis itself. As I’ve mentioned before, these kinds of trackpads can suffer from decreased sensitivity if your fingers have something sticky or oily on them. Also the trackpad buttons feel cheap and don’t give you much satisfaction when pressing them. But the keyboard on the other hand is a joy to type on for long periods of time. It also features additional media function control buttons for brightness, volume, web and more. A Webcam is built in as expected.
On the right hand side of the notebook you’ll find 3 USB 2 ports and a DVD / Blu Ray drive. On the bottom of the computer is a latch that allows for easy removal of the battery. On the Left hand side you’ll find the power port, gigabyte ethernet, a large cooling vent, VGA Display port, HDMI, eSata port USB combo and an express card slot. On the front just below the palm rest you have yet more memory expansion with HG Duo and SD slots with a Wi-Fi on/off switch. Battery life and hard drive indictor lights continue along the lip of the case with audio jacks for microphone and speakers.
Initial setup took a substantial amount of time, Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit took about 10 minutes to fully boot-up following initial setup and configuration screens. After that, boot-up is relatively quick. Somewhat frustratingly Sony no longer provide Windows 7 OEM install restore discs. Instead upon entering Windows for the first time your greeted with a system tray message asking you to create a reinstall disc by burning the system onto a blank DVD-R. That aside, system performance is quick and responsive with plenty of power under the hood including that Mobility Radeon HD 5470 GPU.
Similarly to Dell, the Vaio’s own proprietary media dock also graces the top of the desktop, again dropping down at inconvenient times and accidentally being clicked on when attempting to type in a url to the IE address bar. We quickly dispatched this application under add / remove programs in the control panel. Unlike the Dell Inspiron R 17 inch, this computer feels like a solid build and the chassis doesn’t bend or compress on one side when holding it in one hand. As its a heavy notebook you won’t be carrying it around very often as it is designed to be moved only very occasionally. Battery life is poor at maybe 2 to 2.5 hours but as these types of desktop replacement PCs are meant to be kept in one location for long periods it’s likely you’ll have it plugged in when working anyway. Overall the notebook is competitively priced and packed full of features and expandability, for €1000 for these specs despite some bloatware and a dodgy trackpad your getting a solid office work machine with a luxury branded design and a gorgeous display.
Model Sony Vaio 17.3 inch VPCEC2SOE/WI
320 GB Hard Drive,
Display Res 1600 x 900
HDMI, Wifi 802.11n,
GPU is the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470.
Memory card reader Memory Stick™ Slot
SD Card Slot
USB 3 x USB 2.0
Audio interface Microphone Jack
TV output VGA
Keyboard & Mouse keyboard and multi-gesture touchpad
Battery Li-Ion (Panasonic cell), up to 3 hours of life
Size Depth: 273.8 mm
Height: 31.9 mm
Width: 409.1 mm
Weight 3.3 kg
Watch the unboxing and review video below: