The Bottom Line
- High Resolution Display
- Blu-ray Drive
- Wireless Display Support
- Audio Quality Not As Nice As Some Other Media Laptops
- Hybrid Graphics Has Issues With Some Programs
- On The Heavier Side For 15-inch Laptop
- Intel Core i5-2410M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 640GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- Blu-ray Reader And Dual-Layer DVD Burner Combo Drive
- 15.5" WUXGA (1920x1080) LED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- AMD Radeon HD 6630M Graphics With 1GB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- One USB 3.0, Three USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, SD Slot, Memory Stick Slot
- 14.8" x 9.9" x 1.6" @ 6.3 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, VAIO Suite, Norton Internet Security
Guide Review - Sony VAIO VPC-CB17FX/B 15.5-inch Thin And Light Laptop PC
Jun 2 2011 - Sony's latest 15-inch VAIO C series laptop makes the leap to the new Intel second generation Core processors. In the VPC-CB17FX, it comes equipped with the Core i5-2410M dual core processor that is the lowest of the mid range processors but still comes with some surprising performance that lets it run just about any application without problems. A standard 4GB of DDR3 memory comes with the laptop that is typical of most laptops today. It can be upgraded to 8GB for those doing more multitasking or memory intensive tasks.
The big storage feature for the Sony VAIO VPC-CB17FX is the inclusion of a Blu-ray capable optical drive. This is a key feature for the multimedia focused laptop. In addition to being able to play the high definition media format, it can also record or playback CD or DVD media. For data storage, the laptop comes equipped with a 640GB hard drive that provides a bit more space than 500GB that used to be common but it still trails behind some that feature larger drives. The drive spins at a more sedate 5400rpm rate which gives it a slightly slower feel at times compared to some laptops that use 7200rpm rate drives.
One of the big problem with multimedia based laptops with Blu-ray drives is the lack of full 1080p HD video support. Sony has tackled this problem by including a 15.5-inch LCD panel that features a 1920x1080 resolution. The only downside is that for some people, this high of a resolution in a panel this size might make it difficult to read without increasing font sizes. Of course, if you want to watch it on an HDTV, it is possible to hook it up via HDMI or with an Intel Wireless Display compatible receiver. Graphics wise, it comes equipped with a hybrid system that uses the Intel HD 3000 Graphics on the processor and an AMD Radeon HD 6630M dedicated graphics with 1GB of memory. It should be noted that some applications have a problem properly using the dedicated graphics as they should. This is a modest graphics processor that will give some benefit to those looking to do some casual PC gaming but certainly not at the displays full resolution. It is more useful as a media accelerator for applications such as Photoshop.
As with most 15-inch laptops, Sony includes a six-cell battery pack rated at 5300mAh with the VAIO VPC-CB17FX/B. Sony claims that this will yield upwards of three hours of DVD playback. In DVD playback testing, the system run for roughly two and three quarter hours before going into standby mode. Blu-ray playback is more demanding and will likely yield anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes less of running time while more typical usage should net another hour before it has to shot down.
There are a few things that should be noted about the Sony VAIO CB. While this is a multimedia focused laptop, it does not have some of the better speakers on the market. The audio tends to get distorted at higher volume. In addition, the laptop weighs in at 6.3 pounds which is heavier than the average 15-inch laptop that comes in under six pounds.