The Bottom Line
- Blu-ray Drive
- Comfortable Keyboard
- Lower Performance Core i3 Processor
- Integrated Graphics
- Display Doesn't Support 1080p Video
- Intel Core i3-2310M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 640GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- Blu-ray Reader And Dual-Layer DVD Burner Combo Drive
- 17.3" WSXGA+ (1600x900) LED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 3000 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Four USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, Memory Stick Slot, SD Card Slot
- 16.1" x 10.8" x 1.5" @ 6.9 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, VAIO Suite, Norton Internet Security
Guide Review - Sony VAIO VPCEJ16FX/B 17.3-inch Desktop Replacement Laptop PC
Jul 15 2011 - With a list price of just under $800, the Sony VAIO VPCEJ16FX/B is certainly one of the more affordable 17-inch laptops the company has produced. In order to keep the costs down for this laptop, they chose to use a new Intel Core i3-2310M dual core mobile processor. While this second generation Core i3 processor does offer a significant boost over previous generations, it falls short of the Core i5 dual core processors found in many similarly priced laptops. Now, unless you are doing tasks like desktop video editing, this probably won't be a huge impact on your overall experience.
Since Sony is heavily focused on entertainment and media for their computer systems, they have equipped the VAIO VPSEJ16FX/B with a Blu-ray compatible optical drive. This allows the system to become a mobile high definition Blu-ray movie platform, something that Sony has a vested interesting in since they are a major backer of the format. In addition to this, it can also be used to playback or record CD and DVD media. Storage space for digital media is also quite good with a 640GB hard drive although performance is a bit mediocre thanks to the 5400rpm spin rate. One disappointment though is the lack of an eSATA or new USB 3.0 port for high speed external storage. Instead, users will have to use USB 2.0 peripherals.
Sony may not include eSATA or USB 3.0 ports with the VAIO EJ laptop but they do include Bluetooth capability. This is handy for easily attaching a wireless mouse or even connecting it to a mobile device for tethering. With Sony placing most of the USB ports in the front right hand side, this is actually very convenient compared to using a wired mouse. It is nice to see this in a more affordable laptop as many companies consider this something only for higher end laptops.
While the laptop does come equipped with a Blu-ray drive, the 17.3-inch display resolution tops out at 1600x900. This means that it falls short of being able to support full 1080p HD video. You can always hook up an external monitor or HDTV via HDMI if you want to do this. The display itself has decent color and viewing angles and a typical glossy coating that helps improved contrast at the expense of increased glare in outdoor or certain lighting conditions. Rather than having a dedicated graphics, this system uses the new Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor that is built into the CPU. This is a step up from previous Intel integrated graphics options as it fully supports HD video playback and can even help boost media encoding performance. The downside is that it still lacks 3D performance to even be used for casual 3D games other than at limited detail and resolutions.
Isolated or chiclet keyboards were one of the big features that Sony introduced to mobile computers and they continue to use this style with the VAIO EJ series. With the larger size of the laptop, they are able to fit in a full numeric keypad. Overall, the design works well, is quite comfortable and accurate to use. The trackpad is positioned directly below the center of the space bar in their textured palm rest area. It is a bit smaller than some others on the market but it does come with dedicated right and left mouse buttons that are larger and much easier to use than the single thin rocker bars on many consumer laptops.
Sony equips the VAIO EJ series laptops with a fairly typical six-cell battery pack that comes with a 4400mAh capacity rating. Sony claims that this can achieve up to three hours of DVD playback time. In my DVD playback tests, it was just short of this three hour claim but close enough that it is accurate. More typical usage should yield a bit more than four hours at the standard shipped power settings. Blu-ray playback is a bit more demanding and will result in shorter running times. Overall, it is fairly typical for a laptop with these features and battery size.