The Bottom Line
Apr 10 2012 - Sony has made a major improvement with the their VAIO E series laptops by upgrading the battery packs to a larger capacity. While this makes the VAIO VPCEG33FX a bit heavier than most other 14-inch laptops, it provides it with one of the longest running times in its price range even if they are shorter than Sony claims and it certainly is much more compact that the majority of laptops which feature 15-inch screens. Sony offers a larger than average hard drive in this system as well which will help since it lacks any high speed peripheral ports like many of its competitors.
- Long Battery Life
- Large Hard Drive
- More Compact Than 15-inch Laptops With Equal Performance Levels
- Running Times Not As Long As Sony Claims
- Heavier Than Competing 14-inch Laptops
- Lacks USB 3.0 or eSATA Port
- Intel Core i3-2350M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 640GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x Dual Layer DVD Burner
- 14" WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display With VGA Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 3000 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Four USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, SD and Memory Stick Slots
- 13.6" x 9.4" x 1.4" @ 5.1 lbs.
- Winodws 7 Home Premium, Office Starter
Review - Sony VAIO VPCEG33FX/B
Apr 10 2012 - Sony offers several different E series VAIO laptops that can be found for under $600 but the VPCEG33FX/B offers a more compact option thanks to its 14-inch display that helps reduce its overall dimensions. While this is a fairly compact notebook, it is on the heavier side for a 14-inch model weighing in at 5.1 pounds compared to the HP dv4-4270us which weighs in at 4.7 pounds. In addition, it is slightly wider and longer than the HP system as well.
Performance wise, the VAIO VPCEG33FX comes equipped with a slightly faster Intel Core i3-2350M dual core processor. For the most part, the performance difference between this and other Core i3 based laptops isn't really going to be noticeable for the majority of applications but it can be a nice option for those on a budget but wanting to do something like video work that requires faster processing. The standard 4GB of memory is typical of most budget system and helps it run smooth but it won't be as responsive when multitasking compared to the HP dv4 with its 6GB of memory.
Storage for the Sony VAIO VPCEG33FX is a bit above average thanks to a 640GB hard drive. This provides it with roughly thirty percent more storage space than the average laptop in this price range that uses a 500GB hard drive. The drive does spin at the traditional 5400rpm rate which means that it doesn't offer quite the same level of performance as slightly more expensive systems that use desktop speed drives. A dual layer DVD burner is also included for playback and recording of CD or DVD media. External storage does suffer a bit due to the lack of USB 3.0 or eSATA ports that could be used with high speed external storage devices. Sony also continues to include an SD and Memory Stick slot even though their flash memory standard hasn't really caught on.
The 14-inch display of the VAIO VPCEG33FX is slightly better than most budget class laptops but it isn't by a huge margin. Brightness seems to be a bit better and viewing angles a bit wider but it still has a fairly big color dropoff typical of TN panels especially on the vertical angles. It uses the standard 1366x768 native resolution which provides an equal work space as a 15-inch panel but with a sharper image. The graphics are handled by the Intel HD Graphics 3000 that are built into the Core i3 processor that is typical of most budget systems. This doesn't give it much 3D performance for anything really useful but it at least provides some acceleration of video encoding with QuickSync enabled applications.
With its more compact size, Sony had to be a bit creative with the keyboard layout of the VPCEG33FX. It lacks a numeric keypad that would be found on a 15-inch laptop and the home keys have been moved to the right hand side of the keyboard. They do offer a set of full sized arrows keys but this means that the right hand shift key is smaller to fit the up arrow key. The trackpd is slightly recessed into the palm rest area but is centered on the keyboard rather than the screen. The only downside is that the trackpad area is a bit smaller.
Sony claims that the VAIO E series systems with their standard 5300mAh capacity rated battery can achieve over five hours of DVD playback and eight hours of default brightness usage. The battery pack certainly has a higher capacity rating than most and is even slightly larger than the ASUS K53E with its 5200mAh battery. In my DVD playback tests, the unit was able to achieve just over three and a quarter hours of running time before going into standby mode. Now, this is much shorter than Sony's claims but still one of the longest overall running times to be found in a budget class system. More typical usage will likely yield around five hours of running time.