Sony VAIO VGN-CR320E/W 14.1 inch Laptops

Sony VAIO VGN-CR320E/W 14.1 inch Laptops
New laptops in 2011 : I’m lucky enough that with my job that I have the opportunity to access a number of the newer laptops and PC’s as they arrive on the market. I’ve taken home the Sony VAIO VGN-CR320E/W today and I’ve decided to give it a test drive. Now I’m going to let you know what I think about it and who should buy it.

We all know that Sony means quality backed with unparallel customer support. Unfortunately the consumer often pays a premium to have that Sony label attached to their product. The Sony VAIO VGN-CR320E/W comes in at the mid-to-low price point and is currently one of their best selling portables on the market. Well enough of this here is what she’s running.

14.1 inch″ screen

Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 processor

2 GB of RAM (DDR2 SD) (expandable to 4GB)

250 GB hard drive

CD R/RW dual layer DVD R/RW drive

Integrated Video card

Weight 5.5 lbs

At first glance this laptop has a little bit of a striking appearance. It’s not overly gaudy with graphics or any of the other gimmicks some of the other manufactures are currently slapping on their hardware. Mine is white with VAIO written in the center of the back side of the screen in typical style. For a 14.1″ it comes out a little hefty but it is about right for this price point. The 1.3 Megapixel digital camera is becoming fairly common in this price point and the VAIO’s doesn’t set it apart.

Sony’s XBRITE-ECO screen is fantastic. It is quite crisp and you should compare it to other laptops at a retail store before you buy. You’ll be amazed. Glare is minimal and the screen is bright. I’m typing this in an overly bright fluorescent lit office and I find the screen performs fine. The screen pumps out a 1280 x 800 resolution which is a native 720p, so don’t expect “True HD”. Although you would be hard pressed to spend this much and find that in another laptop. The integrated video card is a disappointment. Despite the Firewire port you won’t be using this machine to do a tremendous amount of your video editing. Simple applications are fine, like watching movies and light editing but anything more seems to overwhelm her.

The processing power is adequate however when multi-tasking it tends to get a little bogged down. Even just with a few web browsers open and a few office programs you can note a sustainable straining.

Lets discuss the connectivity:

Bluetooth (A must for any new laptop)

1 Fire wire (this can be used to quickly transfer video files from your digital camcorder to your PC)

3 2.0 USB ports (these are used for connecting things like printers, cameras, and iPods, this is a standard number of ports at this price range)

1 VGA out (for typical monitors)

1 S-Video out (for things like projectors)

1 Memory stick / memory stick duo slot (Sony loves themselves)

1 SD memory slot

1 Ethernet port

1 Modem port

1 Mic in / 1 Speaker out

The connectivity is average if not perhaps a little below average for the price point. There is the omission of a HDMI out, which is probably ok and comes as no surprise due to the integrated graphics card. Next is the lack of memory cards supported. In Sony Fashion there is always a memory stick slot but if you have anything other than a Sony digital camera or a camera running on an SD card you’ll need to connect via USB (those are just examples). Many laptops in this price range offer a 5 in 1 card reader giving the user more options. The Bluetooth is crucial and I’m glad this laptop is equipped. There are more and more Bluetooth enabled devices every day.

The windows vista home premium is preloaded and comes with a lot of options. They market the laptop as being able to be used as a Tivo. This is a stretch; it’s just an option available via home premium and without an HDMI, and running an integrated video card, it’s kind of useless.

Lastly Sony is famous for their preloaded software. Most of this stuff is trial-ware from their partners. There is so much on this laptop that performance is noticeably affected straight out of the box. These have to be removed before effective use. Most of these programs are redundant as the operating system offers many of their features preloaded. The battery life is also a bit disappointing, you won’t be watching anymore than 1 movie on that overnight flight, that is for sure.

The final word is at the $1000+ price point this Sony comes up a little short. Wait until the price drops a little or find it on sale. Otherwise you’re just overpaying for a brand name and no one wants to do that.

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