Sony VAIO E Series Eyes-On: Would You Buy a Metallic Teal Notebook?

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Today, Sony announced the VAIO E Series, a new line of  value-oriented multimedia, centric 15.5-inch notebooks with a giant heaping of style. Starting at $700, the VAIO E series features a 2.13-GHz Core i3 330M CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 15.5-inch screen with resolution of 1366 x 768 or 1920 x 1080 (depending on config), either Intel integrated or ATI discrete graphics, a 32o or 500GB hard drive, and an optional Blu-ray drive. The base configuration should start at around $700 and includes the smaller hard drive, lower resolution screen, and integrated graphics. A high-end configuration with 1920 x 1080 resolution, Blu-ray drive, and ATI graphics will debut in March for around $969.

Update: Read our full review of the VAIO E Series >>

Aside from its multimedia oriented specs, what really makes the VAIO E stand-out is its design and controversial color choices. It has an edge-to-edge keyboard with numeric keypad and an interesting gradient pattern on both its lid and deck. A layer of clear, textured plastic overlays the touchpad. More importantly, the notebook is available in Coconut White, Lava Black, Hibiscus Pink, and Iridescent blue.

Controversial Metallic Teal Color

We haven’t seen the white, black, or pink models in person, but yesterday Sony sent us an iridescent blue VAIO E in the mail. From the moment, we removed it from the box, the notebooks’ metallic teal chassis was controversial among our staff. Some editors fell in love with Sony’s bold color choice while others complained that it was way too garrish. It seemed like everyone, from our receptionist to the head of our art department had strong feelings about it.

The author of this post finds himself the self-appointed leader of the iridescent blue fan club as metallic teal has been his favorite color since childhood.

“This color reminds me of my first love, a 1990 teal-colored Plymouth Colt that I drove throughout college and grad school,” he said. “The notebook’s bold color reminds me of the 1980s, my favorite period for fashion and design.  The assist button, with its pink writing, has a Miami Vice aesthetic. I half-expected Philip Michael Thomas to be available via live chat after pressing it.”

Reviews Editor Mike Prospero also found himself attracted to the VAIO E’s design, though he maintained a sense of humor about its bright color. “Sales of the blue Vaio E will be helped by its on-screen appearance in Avatar,” he said.

However, Multimedia Editor Meghan McDonough thought the notebook’s color was way too loud. “It looks like it belongs in an aquarium as the backdrop of a coral reef exhibit. Or perhaps paired with fluorescent yellow surfer shorts on a California surfer dude,” she said.

Art Director Jeff Sass felt that the color and overall design of the VAIO E Series was inconsistent with Sony’s premium brand. “Sony quality out, cheap chintz in,” he said.

News Editor K.T. Bradford didn’t dislike the design, but noted that it would never blend into the background. “The blue color on the E series is like a needy cat. It demands attention whether you want to give it or not. You can’t look at that laptop without noticing it. If you like the color, you have no problem. You’ll enjoy it’s iridescent sheen for many years to come,” she said. “If you don’t like that color, or are indifferent to it, the very act of it being in the room will irritate you. Because you can’t look away! Attention must be paid, says the E series.”

Early Test Results

Aside from getting into violent arguments over its color, we also have had a chance to start testing the VAIO E Series. Our review unit came with the ATI Mobility Radeon 5470 graphics chip, Blu-ray, but only a 1366 x 768 screen, which is low resolution for a notebook with Blu-ray. In early tests, we found the graphics performance was really strong, enabling us to play the graphically-intense game Far Cry 2 at 47 frames per second in 1024 x 768 resolution and the not-as-demanding World of Warcraft at 60 frames per second, also in 1024 x 768.

The 500GB 5,400 rpm hard drive in our unit was nothing to write home about, completing our file transfer test, in which we copy 4.97GB of mixed media files, in 2 minutes and 55 seconds, for a rate of 21.7 MBps which is faster than the mainstream notebook average of 20.5 MBps, but not by much.

With a weight of 6-pounds, you wouldn’t expect the VAIO E to be very portable and its battery life reinforces that idea. The 3500 mAH battery has fewer mAH than most netbook batteries (4400 to 5600 mAH is typical for 6-cell netbook) and when you combine it with a power hungry system you get only 2 hours and 44 minutes of endurance.

Overall, though, we’re impressed with the VAIO E’s performance, many of us are in love with its design, and we look forward to completing our testing and posting our full review later this week.

In the mean time, let us know whether you would buy a metallic teal or “iridescent blue” notebook by voting in the poll and posting your comments below.



AUTHOR BIO
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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  1. nicole scooter Says:

    First thing I looked for was the battery life before I made my call! Its never ceases to amaze me that Sony consistently comes out with such low capacity batteries on their new eye catching designs. Awesome colour that I would totally love to own BUT if I can only be safely online for less then two hours is an epic fail in my books!!

  2. Corinn Says:

    I absolutely love the crazy purple Vaio CW, so I’m happy to see Sony putting out more computers in whacky colors. :D

  3. Mugsy Pinckrton Says:

    While the color is not particularly a bad choice, It looks too much like a toy. If they had made the screen
    bezel outlined in black and left the laptop cover and around the keyboard area the blue teal that would have made the screen pop more and much more appealing. Besides I still wouldn’t be interested with all the unnecessary bloatware Sony always includes and I agree with the last comment the battery life is sad.
    Here’s a hint Sony switchable graphics incorporated on one machine instead of selling two versions.

  4. alpha Says:

    Is the screen glossy, semi-glossy (like the VAIO Y) or matte?
    How’s the fan noise?

  5. Aleah de Mello Says:

    1st : When can I buy one? I want to order this now…
    2nd: can I get a better batt?
    3rd: Thanks for making this color laptop!!

  6. Farhan Says:

    They wont release the diffrent colors in Sweden :( SUX! Only white/black here..

  7. David Stillwell Says:

    Note the comments about the “washed out colors” in the review of this model. This is extremely serious. I saw the Sony F11 in a Best Buy store. Even after adjusting the Nvidia controls the screen remained extremely washed out. It was so bad I consider the screen to be defective. Sony needs to recall the F and E series laptops from the North American market. Do not buy a Sony laptop without seeing the screen first. That F11 had the worst screen on a laptop that I have seen in at least ten years.

  8. Jacki Goosen Says:

    Yeah, I have had that problem, where I enjoy the post, but I have no experience with the subject, . So when I have time I try to think of something to say and when I don’t I move along wishing I did.

  9. LeeF Says:

    Just got my iridescent blue Vaio EB. While color is toward the bottom of the list of essential ingredients when I was putting this together on SonyStyle.com, it certainly is the first thing that greets you when you sit down to work, frames your view all day while at the keyboard, and the last thing you see as you pass an irresistable sideways glance on your way out of the room. That said, despite my concerns I might have picked a LOUD color or a “feminine” one (I’m male), I can honestly say it was 100% the best choice! It’s snazzy and really not that loud. Remember that it is very glossy, so the blue mixes with whatever colors are also reflected in the case, helping it blend in colorfully with the environs. And while I think of blue traditionally as a boy’s color, it doesn’t scream sexist at all – in fact it is perhaps a tad more masculine than I anticipated (perhaps because if that metallic/industrial sheen – I suppose like that teal plymouth mentioned in the article). Yes, it does stand out in the crowd just enough. But I suspect whatever looks it draws will be envious ones….

  10. Avram Piltch Says:

    @LeeF, don’t you think it has a wonderful Miami Vice look about it?

  11. LeeF Says:

    Avram – not sure since I never really watched it but definitely has the feel of that beachy 80’s genre. In fact, one of the “snider” comments in the article – mentioning the surfer dude – actually drew me to reconsider the color after I was ready to go with gun-metal black. I’m a (real bad) surfer, but there’s nothing like sitting alone on a board in Cocoa Beach, FL (except perhaps RIDING that board), and the connection made me see the color as really being ME. I guess it is similar to the Miami Vice connection – the beach, the water, in that sense the blue is quite organic. This blue says, “let’s have an adventure!” while the black just said, “let’s get to work, clone”.

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