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Sony VAIO VPCCA2Z0E review

Another VAIO C-Series laptop breaks cover, this time with a Core i3 processor

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Good battery life
  • Decent screen
  • Colourful design
  • Good performance

Against

  • No USB 3.0
  • Some flex in keyboard and DVD drive

If the powerful Z-series is the big brother of the Sony VAIO family, then the updated Sony VAIO C-series is definitely the attractive cousin.

We originally reviewed the VAIO C Series at the start of this month, but that iteration was packing a Core i5 processor and dedicated graphics. Now we have our hands on the more affordable VAIO-VPC-CA2Z0E Core i3 version.

Available in a choice of five different colours, this mid-level lifestyle laptop has a number of features that make it worth a look if you're tired of the same old black or silver design of other machines.

Our review unit was a bright and attractive red, but the C-Series also comes in lime green, orange, pink, navy blue, white or black. Sony has given the laptop a material finish with a transparent effect – complimented by backlighting around the body of the laptop, such as the VAIO logo on the lid and around the touchpad.

Needless to say, whichever colour you choose, a range of similarly coloured peripherals is available, allowing you to accessorise your new rig.

Sony hasn't stopped at the chassis when it comes to the light show. The isolation-style keyboard is backlit with a sensor called Auto Luminance Control which measures the ambient light surrounding you and adjusts the backlight accordingly. On a practical level, this is excellent for times when you're working late into the night, but it also adds nicely to the overall design.

We ran several high-definition (HD) videos to test out the screen and were impressed with the bright, glossy screen that runs with a native pixel resolution of 1366 x 768. Understandably, it won't match a dedicated games machine like the Asus' Lamborghini VX7, but this is easily good enough for enjoying your pictures and videos.

Just beware the Super-TFT coating does give irritating reflections when you're watching in a brightly lit environment.

Integrated graphics

Should you wish to play games on the C-Series, you will be limited to some of the older titles as the laptop only has an integrated graphics card. But, being that the CPU is a second-generation Intel chip – the Core i3 2310M – performance isn't really a problem.We found web pages and HD videos on YouTube loaded very quickly.

The 4GB of RAM helps a lot and is the benchmark amount for a laptop at this level. A healthy 320GB hard drive means you can store plenty of HD video content here and still have space for office programs.

TechRadar Labs

Tech labs

Battery Eater '05: 251 minutes
Cinebench: 7529
3DMark 2006: 3440

What particularly impressed us, along with the great design, was the strength of the C-Series' battery life. Sony has put the Auto Luminance Display from the keyboard into the screen as well, adjusting brightness depending on your surroundings to maximise performance. We're always happy to see over 200 minutes on a battery life and the 251 we got from the Sony is a very respectable score.

Sony wants you to take this laptop out and about with you, and it has provided the battery life to make that possible.

Sony detail

The only real drawbacks we could find with this machine are a tendency for the keyboard to flex during typing and a pretty flimsy DVD drive. We would also have liked one of the four USB ports to have been upgraded to USB 3.0, but you can't have everything sadly.

Sony has a great line-up when it comes to laptops. While we expect the business users to go for the ultraportable Z-Series and those on a budget to opt for the E-Series, we think anyone who wants a bit more flair will be happy with the funky C-Series as their next laptop.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity320 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 3000
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time6.50 Hour
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
WimaxNo
Product FamilyVAIO C
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Keyboard BacklightYes
Processor Modeli5-2410M
ColourWhite
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Home Premium with SP1
Brand NameSony
Processor Speed2.30 GHz
Processor TypeCore i5
Screen Size35.6 cm (14")
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory4 GB
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM65 Express
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
WWAN SupportedNo
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 3.0
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports4
Memory StandardDDR3-1333/PC3-10600
Height27.9 mm
Width341 mm
Depth235.2 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesC
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelVPCCA2Z0E
Product NameVAIO VPCCA2Z0E Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineVAIO
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberVPCCA2Z0E/W.CEK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing InformationBeautifully finished

Stand out and be noticed. VAIO C Series are designed to be true style icons with a unique material finish that's like nothing ever seen before. Some models have increased transparency combined with a light emitting effect which reflects light within the material and emits it from the edge of the notebook. The ideal design statement for those looking to move on from just bold colours.

VAIO C Series is also available in subtle colours with increased surface transparency. Looks good by your side and complemented by a variety of colour-coordinated optional accessories.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • VAIO VPCCA2Z0E Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Power Cord
  • VAIO International Repair Service Guide