The Bottom Line
Dec 7 2012 - Sony's VAIO SVE1412CCXB on the outside doesn't seem to be all that bad of the laptop. It has a nice solid feel to it and has one of the better keyboard layouts to be seen in a laptop of this size. The problem is that the performance and internals at its price point are consistently can be found in other laptops at the same price point. One such example is the inclusion of just a single USB 3.0 port while most companies offer two or three on full sized laptops.
- Excellent Keyboard Layout
- Above Average Build Quality
- Heavy For a 14-inch Laptop
- Below Average Performance
- Just One USB 3.0 Port
- Intel Core i5-3210M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SAA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 14" WXGA (1366x768) Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- AMD Radeon HD 7550M Graphics With 1GB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wirelee, Bluetooth
- One USB 3.0, Three USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 3-in-1 Card Reader
- 13.6" x 9.6" x 1.4" @ 5.3 lbs.
- Windows 8, Office Starter, Kaspersky Internet Security
Review - Sony VAIO SVE1412CCXB
Dec 7 2012 - Sony has typically been known as a premium laptop company and they have tried to change that over the years. The VAIO E series has been some of their more affordable full features laptops. The SVE1412CCXB comes in with a respectable $800 price tag. It is a bit smaller than thanks to its 14-inch display but it is actually relatively heavy at five and a third pounds in weight. With its exterior comprised mostly of plastic, one would think that it would be lighter.
Powering the laptop is the Intel Core i5-3210M dual core processor. This is the lowest of the standard laptop Core i5 processors which means that it has less performance than those equipped with the quad core i7 processors but it certainly is much higher than what can be found in ultrabooks. With the 4GB of DDR3 memory, it runs smoothly in Windows 8 and does a fair job of multitasking but it can certainly benefit from extra memory if you are doing more demanding tasks such as desktop video editing.
Storage for the VAIO SVE1412CCXB is fairly standard of just about any full laptop design. It uses a standard 500GB hard drive that provides it with a good amount of space for applications and data. The downside here is that performance is below many other laptops in its price range particularly the ultrabooks that utilize a standard drive like it has with a 5400rpm spin rate but match that up with a small solid state drive for caching to improve performance. Boot times are noticeably slower at roughly forty-five seconds or more to get into Windows 8 from a cold boot. Now, if you do need to add extra space there is a USB 3.0 port for use with high speed external drives. There is sadly only one of the ports while most of the competition offer two or three. There is a dual-layer DVD burner for playback and recording of CD or DVD media.
Since the Sony VAIO SVE1412CCXB is a more affordable laptop, the display on the system has more in common with budget laptops than it does with premium ones. The 14-inch display features a native resolution of 1366x768 which most budget systems use. The color and brightness are decent but the viewing angles are a bit narrower than would be hoped with contrast drop off particularly on the vertical plane. While most companies have switched to using the NVIDIA GeForce Graphics processors, Sony has decided to instead use an AMD Radeon HD 7550M processor. This compares roughly to a bit better than the GeForce GT 630M but below the 650M. It has enough performance to do 3D gaming at the native resolution of the panel but is restricted in detail by the 1GB of video memory. The graphics processor also has the ability to accelerate non-3D applications like Photoshop.
The keyboard design of the SVE1412CCXB is much better than some of the past E series. The keyboard is fact is roughly the same size as you would expect on a 13-inch laptop so there is a fair amount of space on either side of the keyboard. The keyboard layout itself uses an isolated or chiclet style design the company has been using for some time. The best part is that the tab, caps lock, shift and enter keys are all large size which means that it is very similar to one that you would find on a standard keyboard. The experience is very good and definitely one of the better aspects of the system. The trackpad is nice and wide but a bit short in order to fit onto the palmrest area. It uses integrated buttons which combined with multitouch support is a bit problematic at times with Windows 8.
The battery pack for the laptop is rated at 5400mAh which gives it roughly the same capacity as many other laptops in the 14 to 15-inch range. In digital video playback testing, this resulted in roughly three and a quarter hours before going into standby mode. This gives it average overall battery life but falls well short of the seven hours that the Apple MacBook Pro 15 with Retina can achieve with its nearly double the capacity battery and of course more than double price tag.
There are a surprisingly large number of 14-inch ultrabooks in the price range of the Sony but they all lack optical drives and performance of a standard laptop. The best competition for this laptop is from the Dell Inspiron 14z and Lenovo IdeaPad Y480. The Dell laptop is technically an ultrabook so it has less performance from its lower voltage parts but is certainly thinner and lighter while still featuring a DVD drive. The big downside is that it only uses integrated graphics. The Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 is nearly the same price and size but comes with a faster quad core processor and larger hard drive.