When we unpacked the VPC-J21L8E, we thought Sony had sent us a TV to review. The company has copied the square edges and styling of its Bravia TVs with astonishing accuracy.

At just 185mm deep and weighing only 9.8kg, this all-in-one is extremely compact. It has the joint-smallest display in the group, too, at 21.5in. It’s hard to imagine how Sony has managed to squeeze inside a 2.3GHz Core i5-2410M processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory and a 1TB hard drive; it has, of course, and this machine performs admirably well with most productivity tasks. We recorded 84 points in our WorldBench 6 speed test.

Its touchscreen display is capable of two-point multitouch, but it’s overly sensitive. Hovering a finger near the Start menu caused the Sony to select the Internet Explorer shortcut.

We were surprised not to find a Blu-ray drive, with Sony instead supplying a slot-loading DVD SuperMulti drive on the Vaio’s right side. The PC also lacks a dedicated graphics card, and relies on the Intel HD Graphics 3000 integrated to its processor.
 
It delivered mediocre performance in our gaming tests, with only a single-digit result at Stalker: Call of Pripyat’s ‘Ultra’ setting, and an unplayable 17fps in Fear (‘Maximum’ detail).

The bundled wireless keyboard is comfortable to type on, with isolated square keys and a similar svelte design to the PC it’s paired with. The wireless mouse is also small and fits snugly in the hand, although we aren’t keen on its glossy black finish.

On the left edge are a pair of USB 2.0 ports, audio outputs and a memory card reader. At the top is the computer’s power button, and another that switches off the Sony’s 21.5in display (surprisingly, this isn’t a given for all-in-ones). You also get two USB 3.0 ports.

Sony Vaio VPC-J21L8E: Specs

  • 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB, 7,200rpm HDD
  • 21.5in (1920x1080) glossy touchscreen
  • Intel GMA HD 3000 (scored 17fps in Fear at 'Maximum' detail)
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • HDMI
  • DVD SuperMulti drive
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • gigabit ethernet
  • Bluetooth
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC/MS Duo card reader
  • webcam
  • wireless keyboard & mouse
  • stereo speakers
  • headphone jack
  • mic input
  • power consumption: 41W (idle), 72W (under load)
  • 525x185x398mm
  • 9.8kg
  • WorldBench 6 score: 84
  • 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB, 7,200rpm HDD
  • 21.5in (1920x1080) glossy touchscreen
  • Intel GMA HD 3000 (scored 17fps in Fear at 'Maximum' detail)
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • HDMI
  • DVD SuperMulti drive
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • gigabit ethernet
  • Bluetooth
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC/MS Duo card reader
  • webcam
  • wireless keyboard & mouse
  • stereo speakers
  • headphone jack
  • mic input
  • power consumption: 41W (idle), 72W (under load)
  • 525x185x398mm
  • 9.8kg
  • WorldBench 6 score: 84

OUR VERDICT

This slim and compact all-in-one PC looks great but is let down by a lack of grunt. In daily use the VPC-J21L8E performed smoothly, however. It’s pricey, but the build is solid. This Sony Vaio is ideal for anyone lusting after a cute all-in-one computer that’s capable of most computing tasks.

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