Sony VAIO EC Series (VPCEC490X) Review
This big-screen notebook delivers good performance for a reasonable price.
Price as Reviewed: $749.00
Want a big screen without blowing your budget? Take a good look at Sony’s VAIO EC. This 17.3-inch notebook packs a Core i3 processor and ATI graphics, providing plenty of power for everyday tasks–with enough oomph for some gaming on the side.
The VAIO EC isn’t as flashy as other Sony notebooks such as the F Series, but overall we like the clean look. The laptop sports a matte black lid and a glossy black deck with specks of silver that glitter when they catch the light just right. A green, glowing power button adds a dash of color.
Measuring 16.1 x 10.8 x 1.3 inches, the VAIO EC isn’t as thin as the 17-inch MacBook Pro, but it’s a lot less chunky than an 18-inch monster such as the Toshiba X505. At 6.8 pounds, the EC is also on the lighter side for a desktop replacement; the HP Envy 17 weighs in at 7.5 pounds.
In most areas, the VAIO EC stayed cool. Temperatures between the G and H keys and the touchpad were 88 and 83 degrees after watching a Hulu clip for 15 minutes. The middle of the underside only reached 84 degrees. The area by the vent reached a hot 108 degrees, but since it’s on the left side you won’t notice it when computing at a desk.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The VAIO EC offers a large and comfortable keyboard and number pad and even has room to spare. The keys are all well sized and in the right place, and they provided a snappy spring when we were typing.
We wish the 3 x 1.8-inch touchpad was larger, as there’s plenty of space on the deck. The touch surface is dimpled and sits in a shallow well, making it easy to find without looking. However, we found the Alps touchpad somewhat wonky. For example, selecting text sometimes took multiple attempts. (You have to be careful not to stray into the scroll area.) The two distinct mouse buttons were springy and responsive, though.