Sony’s Vaio E series has had a revamp for 2012 but this model (SVE1511K1E) is one of the cheapest in the range and lacks the latest Ivy Bridge processors of its more expensive bretheren. Still, it's hard to complain when it costs less than £500. See more budget laptop reviews

The Vaio SVE1511K1E has a reasonable specification of a second-generation Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM, a 750GB hard drive and a good quality 15.5 inch screen.

It has to be said that the Sony Vaio E SVE1511K1E seems like a rather chunky machine thanks in no small part to its somewhat fat edges. It is a little on the heavy side too, at 2.7Kg, the result being that it might not be the laptop to choose if you intend to take it everywhere with you. Build quality is up to Sony's usual standard though, and this could be a good choice as a family laptop.

See also: Laptop Advisor

The glossy finish to the 15.5-inch screen is far from unusual for consumer laptops, but this is one of the more reflective varieties and we found it very difficult to use with a light source behind us. It was, though, superb for watching video. The speakers were loud and quality was good.

Sony Vaio SVE1511K1E

Sony Vaio SVE1511K1E: performance

The integrated graphics didn’t have a negative effect when watching our test videos, but if you want to play games, then you may find the Intel chip limiting. Certainly our Fear benchmark returned only 13 frames per second at its maximum settings.

The SVE1511K1E's battery life of just over 6 hours in our MobileMark test is impressive for a laptop of this size, so if you need to be away from the mains for long periods, the Vaio should allow it.

Sony Vaio SVE1511K1E: connectivity and input devices

Sony has managed to include a single USB 3.0 port which opens up the possibility of high-speed data transfer to external devices, and this will appeal to those looking for a measure of future-proofing for their potential new peripherals.

While we found the isolated keyboard comfy enough to use, the trackpad disappointed. Its buttonless design is hard to get used to and we'd always prefer separate buttons instead of having to press down on the trackpad. Sony has incorporated gesture controls which can be used via the built-in webcam to help you control Windows Media Player, Media Gallery and Internet Explorer.

Set this up and you can pause, go back and forwards, and control volume. Some may find this something of a gimmick, others might feel it is useful.

Sony Vaio SVE1511K1E

Sony Vaio SVE1511K1E: Specs

  • 2.4GHz Intel Core i3-2370M
  • Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • 15.5in (1366 x 768) glossy LCD
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 750GB SATA 5400rpm hard drive
  • 4GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM
  • Gigabit ethernet
  • DVD SuperMulti drive
  • HDMI, VGA outputs
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4
  • 1.31Mp webcam
  • Stereo speakers
  • Built-in mic
  • Stereo 3.5mm line-in, 3.5mm headphone/line-out
  • 3 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0
  • SDHC/MS reader
  • 100 x 57mm buttonless multi-touch trackpad
  • 44Wh lithium-ion battery
  • 371.9 x 253.3 x 15.3 - 35.1mm
  • 2700g
  • 1 year collect and return warranty
  • 2.4GHz Intel Core i3-2370M
  • Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • 15.5in (1366 x 768) glossy LCD
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 750GB SATA 5400rpm hard drive
  • 4GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM
  • Gigabit ethernet
  • DVD SuperMulti drive
  • HDMI, VGA outputs
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4
  • 1.31Mp webcam
  • Stereo speakers
  • Built-in mic
  • Stereo 3.5mm line-in, 3.5mm headphone/line-out
  • 3 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0
  • SDHC/MS reader
  • 100 x 57mm buttonless multi-touch trackpad
  • 44Wh lithium-ion battery
  • 371.9 x 253.3 x 15.3 - 35.1mm
  • 2700g
  • 1 year collect and return warranty

OUR VERDICT

The Sony Vaio SVE1511K1E feels slightly clunky and we aren’t fans of the buttonless trackpad. The gesture control is something of a gimmick, too. Nonetheless this laptop is a decent performer - gaming aside - with a great screen for watching video and catch-up TV.

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