Sony VAIO VPC-L11S1E review
For all the advances in PC technology over the past few decades, the humble mouse appears in little danger of becoming extinct anytime soon. Other control methods have plugged away with limited success, and the most promising of these right now looks to be touch. Indeed, where Microsoft’s previous operating systems relegated touch to little more than a novelty, Windows 7 finally brings it to the fore, and Sony has harnessed its potential with the VAIO VPC-L11S1E/S.
We’ve seen some stunning all-in-one PCs in our time, but this Sony is the best. Heave it from its box and its weighty, solid build reassures from the off. The VPC-L11S1E/S oozes such quality that every time we returned to the PC Pro Labs, we found someone amorously prodding its wide touchscreen display.
It’s the display that raises the VAIO above the opposition. The patented X-Black glossy finish might be dogged by reflectivity, but fire up a Blu-ray movie and the immense brightness and vibrancy allay any concerns. Its 24in splendour is matched by a Full HD native resolution and superb image quality, with dual backlights making for beautiful colours and fantastic contrast levels. Whether images are moving or still, the Sony imparts them with a depth that has to be seen to be believed.
Rather than the resistive technology employed by many of the touchscreen PCs we’ve seen, the Sony’s optical multitouch screen is altogether more suitable. The panel is incredibly sensitive, and in concert with Windows 7’s touch-friendly onscreen keyboard, you’ll rarely have to use the supplied wireless keyboard and mouse. Surfing the web is rapid and intuitive, with “pen flick” gestures or the stroke of a finger allowing you to navigate the web, and pinching motions zoom seamlessly in and out of websites.
Windows 7’s Touch Pack collects some of its more alluring touch software, culled from the much-touted Surface project. Surface Globe is clunky, but the range of games prove an impressive showcase for the Sony’s multitouch talents.
Spritely performance helps to keep Windows 7 Home Premium feeling light on its feet, largely thanks to Intel’s 3GHz Core 2 Duo E8400. The combination of 4GB of memory and 64-bit Windows means even serious multitasking or video editing is on the agenda – a score of 1.44 in our benchmarks might not be cutting edge, but it’s fast by all-in-one standards.
The only disappointment is Nvidia’s GeForce G210M graphics chipset. The G210M has enough grunt to decode Blu-ray, but struggled to a disappointing 14fps at 1,280 x 1,024 and medium detail in our Crysis benchmark.
Sony hasn’t missed a trick with the rest of the VAIO’s specification. A dual digital-tuner TV card is included as standard, and there are HDMI and composite video inputs to allow other devices to take full advantage of the sublime display. There’s even picture-in-picture technology. And when you’re watching TV, the loud distortion-free speakers will easily fill most rooms.
There’s no shortage of ports, with the two USB connectors on the left-hand edge supplemented by mini-FireWire, and both SD and Memory Stick card readers. An aerial socket provides for both tuners, while there are three more USB ports alongside an optical digital S/PDIF output. The package is rounded off with Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11bgn wireless networking.
It isn’t cheap, but with a generous core specification, the Sony VAIO VPC-L11S1/E is ready for pretty much any task you throw at it. Its looks are matched by an equally stunning high-definition display, and the multitouch capability is a fine match for Windows 7. It’s an expensive, luxurious, hands-on triumph.
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Total hard disk capacity||500|
|CPU family||Intel Core 2 Duo|
|CPU nominal frequency||3.00GHz|
|Processor socket||LGA 775|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel P45|
|Conventional PCI slots free||0|
|Conventional PCI slots total||0|
|PCI-E x16 slots free||0|
|PCI-E x16 slots total||0|
|PCI-E x8 slots free||0|
|PCI-E x8 slots total||0|
|PCI-E x4 slots free||0|
|PCI-E x4 slots total||0|
|PCI-E x1 slots free||0|
|PCI-E x1 slots total||0|
|Internal SAS connectors||0|
|Internal PATA connectors||0|
|Internal floppy connectors||0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|Memory sockets free||0|
|Memory sockets total||2|
|Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?||no|
|3D performance setting||Low|
|Graphics chipset||Nvidia GeForce G210M|
|Graphics card RAM||512MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||0|
|Number of graphics cards||N/A|
|Hard disk||Western Digital WD5000AAJS-55A8B2|
|Hard disk usable capacity||466GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk 2 make and model||N/A|
|Hard disk 2 nominal capacity||N/A|
|Hard disk 2 formatted capacity||N/A|
|Hard disk 2 spindle speed||N/A|
|Hard disk 2 cache size||N/A|
|Hard disk 3 make and model||N/A|
|Hard disk 3 nominal capacity||N/A|
|Hard disk 4 make and model||N/A|
|Hard disk 4 nominal capacity||N/A|
|Optical drive||Sony Optiarc BC-5500S4|
|Optical disc technology||Blu-ray reader|
|Optical disk 2 make and model||N/A|
|Optical disk 3 make and model||N/A|
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,920|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,080|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Sound card||Realtek HD Audio|
|Peripherals||Wireless keyboard and mouse, Media Center remote control|
|Dimensions||584 x 200 x 433mm (WDH)|
Free drive bays
|Free front panel 5.25in bays||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||5|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||1|
|3.5mm audio jacks||3|
|Front panel USB ports||2|
|Front panel FireWire ports||1|
|Front panel memory card reader||yes|
Mouse & Keyboard
|Mouse and keyboard||Sony|
Operating system and software
|OS family||Windows 7|
|Recovery method||Recovery disc|
Noise and power
|Idle power consumption||91W|
|Peak power consumption||133W|
|Overall application benchmark score||1.44|
|Office application benchmark score||1.51|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||1.62|
|Encoding application benchmark score||1.28|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||1.37|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||47fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
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