A powerful but over-priced laptop computer with a well-designed keyboard
Sony's Vaio computers have a reputation as being expensive and, sometimes, gimmicky.
With that in mind, consider the Sony Vaio C Series 14, which is a £720 laptop with a bright-coloured semi-translucent plastic body.
It's a bold move to put out a range of laptops that are only available in garish colours. We reviewed the orange version. The entire lid of the laptop is coated in a shiny orange plastic that almost seemed to glow, even when it was turned off.
The laptop looked and felt cheap, mostly due to the lid being transparent, showing the other bits of plastic that hold the case together. The plastic finish also clashed badly with the black screen surround and the keyboard.
Prices start at £659 for the most basic model but we looked at a slightly faster version with an improved processor, bringing the price to £720. There are different model numbers for each; ours was VPCCA1S1E.
That ought to make it rather fast but in our video-encoding test, which mimics the intensive task of converting a DVD movie for playback on a portable device, the Vaio C performed slightly below expectations. It took 39 minutes to complete the job; the cheaper Novatech Nspire took 29 minutes.
Still, the Vaio AMD Radeon HD 6470M graphics card made its games performance very good, but we can't help but feel that this computer is overpriced.
It has a 320GB hard disk, 14in screen, memory card reader, CD and DVD drive, HDMI and VGA sockets for attaching monitors, one USB 3 socket and three USB 2 sockets. It connects to wired and wireless networks and Bluetooth devices.
Weirdly, the screen has a 16:10 aspect ratio rather than the more common 16:9. That makes it slightly worse for watching films, but otherwise it won't make a big difference.
It weighs 2.45kg, making it reasonably portable, but battery life was poor at under two hours in light use and closer to an hour when doing more intensive tasks such as video editing or gaming.
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