Sony VAIO EB1Z0E review

Price when reviewed

The latest offering from Sony’s EB-series makes a striking first impression. Finished all in black, and replete with gloss and matte highlights, the Sony EB1Z0E seizes the attention before it’s even found its way to the nearest mains socket.

Never mind that dark, brooding exterior, however; the real show starts when you boot up Windows and clock the resolution. Other models of around this size stick at 1,366 x 768, but the VAIO EB1Z0E’s 15.5in panel goes right up to a Full HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080.

This makes desktop icons and text rather tiny (you may want to bump up the DPI in Windows 7), but it works wonders for HD video. Pop a Blu-ray disc into the built-in drive – a definite luxury considering the keen asking price – and the picture is incredibly sharp, with rich, deep colour. It’s an experience cheapened only by the speakers, which simply can’t produce the low frequencies required for a really cinematic experience.

Thanks to a built-in ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5740 GPU you can use this awesome screen for gaming too – although an average of 17fps in our Medium quality Crysis test suggests you’ll have to scale the effects back if you want to play at HD resolutions.


Media capabilities may be the VAIO EB1Z0E’s trump card, but it won’t let you down when it comes to mundane desktop tasks. With its Core i5-430M processor and 4GB of RAM it outpaces many of its mid-priced rivals, achieving an overall 2D benchmark score of 1.56. It boasts a healthy selection of ports and slots, and a solid frame and ergonomic keyboard too. You also get Bluetooth and a larger 500GB hard disk.

The only technical shortcoming is battery life: a high resolution screen like this can devour energy at a shocking rate, and in our heavy-use test the VAIO EB1Z0E chewed through a whole battery in just 56 minutes. Light-use performance was near the back of the pack too, at 3hrs 17mins, although given its increased screen specification over the competition that’s not too bad.

The Sony VAIO EB1Z0E can’t rival the more frugally equipped competition in the value for money stakes, so if you don’t want a high resolution screen – or if you regularly need to work on the move – it makes sense to look elsewhere. But for a home user who’ll enjoy the extra desktop space and welcome Blu-ray’s starring role, it will prove simply irresistible.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions370 x 248 x 31mm (WDH)
Travelling weight3.0kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i5-430M
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM55 Express
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size15.5in
Resolution screen horizontal1,920
Resolution screen vertical1,080
Resolution1920 x 1080
Graphics chipsetATI Mobility Radeon HD 5740
Graphics card RAM512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity466GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskHitachi HTS545050B9SA00
Optical disc technologyBlu-ray reader
Optical driveOptiarc BC-5500S4
Battery capacity3,500mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchno
ExpressCard34 slots1
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)4
FireWire ports0
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readerno
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationAbove keyboard
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating0.3mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use3hr 17min
Battery life, heavy use56min
Overall application benchmark score1.56

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition, burn own recovery discs
Software suppliednone

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