The Bottom Line
Feb 6 2013 - Sony's SVE1712ACXB certainly offers a few differences in the under $1000 priced 17-inch laptops thanks to its 1080p capable display and good performance. The build quality and keyboard are also some of the better in this price segment. There are lots of tradeoffs for this display though including short battery life, fewer USB ports and a smaller trackpad that has some big accuracy problems. So if you want a high resolution display, this may be the best option but it certainly isn't the most well rounded option.
- High Resolution Display Supports 1080p Video
- Above Average Build Quality
- Excellent Keyboard
- Below Average Battery Life
- Only One USB 3.0 Port
- Smaller Trackpad Has Accuracy Issues
- Intel Core i7-3632QM Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 6GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 17.3" WUXGA (1920x1080) Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- AMD Radeon HD 7650M Graphics With 2GB Memory
- Gigagit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- One USB 3.0, Three USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, MS and SD Card Slots
- 16.1" x 10.6" x 1.5" @ 7.1 lbs.
- Windows 8, Office Starter,VAIO Suite, Kaspersky Internet Security
Review - Sony VAIO SVE1712ACXB
Feb 6 2013 - Sony's largest of the E Series VAIO laptops takes the same design styling of the smaller versions but scales it up primarily to fit the larger display panel. The extra space also provides it with a few advantages including the ability to feature a numeric keypad. Costs are kept down through the use of plastic and a very basic design but the system is actually put together surprisingly well.
The Sony VAIO SVE1712ACXB is powered by the Intel Core i7-3632QM quad core mobile processor. It should be noted that while this is a very strong processor, it is actually a bit slower than the i7-3630QM found in many competing 17-inch laptops because this version is designed to consume less power. Frankly, most uses will find that the system has no trouble running demanding tasks such as desktop video editing but it is something to note. The processor is matched up with 6GB of DDR3 that provides a smooth overall experience for Windows 8 but it might cause some delay in more demanding programs compared to those in its price range that typically feature 8GB of memory.
Storage features are probably the biggest drawback to the Sony VAIO SVE1712ACXB. It offers a relatively small 500GB hard drive that is typically seen only in more affordable budget class systems. Most of its competitors feature larger 750GB drives. The drive also spins at a 5400rpm rate which means that it is moderately slow for booting into Windows 7 or loading programs compared those using faster drives or also employing a form of SSD caching. If you do need additional storage space, there is a USB 3.0 port for use with high speed external storage devices. It would have been nice to see Sony include more of the ports since two or three are typical for laptops in this size range. The system does feature a dual-layer DVD burner for playback and recording of CD or DVD media.
One area that the laptop dose distinguish itself from similar priced competition is the display. For most laptops under $1000, the 17-inch panel only uses a 1600x900 resolution display but Sony manages to include one that is capable of 1080p high definition video thanks to the 1920x1080 native resolution. Color and brightness are just average and viewing angles are a bit narrower thank would be desired but it is a tradeoff for the higher resolution. In terms of the graphics, Sony does include an AMD Radeon HD 7650M graphics processor. It isn't quite as fast as the NVIDIA GeForce GTX class graphics but it still has the ability to provide 3D gaming just not at the panel's full native resolution and more typically in the 1600x900 or lower range depending upon its graphics needs. The graphics also provide the ability to accelerate non-3D applications as well such as PhotoShop.
The keyboard for the laptop uses Sony's standard isolated keyboard design and has a full sized numeric keypad unlike its smaller versions. The only real downside to the layout is the smaller right control key to make room for the arrow keys. It is a very nice keyboard and offers an accurate overall typing experience. While the keyboard uses the extra space, the trackpad sadly is the same size as in its other models. This means it is smaller than much of the competition. In addition is uses integrate buttons rather than dedicated ones. The result is many accuracy problems with the trackpad especially with Windows 8 multitouch gestures.
The standard battery that ships with the Sony VAIO SVE1712ACXB is rated at 4000mAh. This makes the battery much smaller than your typical 17-inch laptop. Sony estimates that it should provide up to three and a half hours of running time. In my digital video playback testing, the system was able to run for just over three hours before going into standby mode. This is disappointing for a 17-inch class system that focuses more on performance and larger screens. It certainly smaller than the 62WHr battery that comes in HP's Envy dv7 that lasts for four and a half hours in the same test.
Priced at $900, the Sony system prices itself between the low cost budget systems and the higher end performance models but it still has a good amount of competition. The Acer Aspire V3-771G is the closest in price and features. It offers more storage space and faster graphics but sacrifices screen resolution. The HP Envy dv7 lacks the 3D graphics and resolution but has twice that storage and much longer battery life. Finally, Toshiba's Satellite S875 is slightly more expensive but features more storage space, faster 3D graphics and Blu-ray but with a lower resolution display.