Sony’s all-in-one PC might not have a very sleek name – as the VPC-L22Z1E doesn’t so much roll off the tongue, as stumble and fall flat on its face – but it does feature some smart and sleek lines. It’s one of the thinner all-in-ones we’ve seen, measuring just over 5cm at its thickest part in the middle, meaning it’s trimmer than even the svelte Packard Bell oneTwo range.
Aesthetically, the Vaio’s trim nature is its biggest plus point, as otherwise the unit is built along the lines of a pretty standard black, rectangular design. The tubular metal stand looks quite nifty, though, and more to the point, it’s extremely sturdy. It allows the screen to be tilted back around 25 degrees, to make the touchscreen display a little more comfortable to use on a desktop.
That display is a 24 inch full HD (1,920 x 1,080) affair, which supports 3D via a pair of supplied Sony 3D glasses. It’s also multi-touch capable, providing pinch-to-zoom and suchlike. As ever, little tick boxes and tiny nested menus, as seen on the likes of the device manager, can be a trial in terms of accurate touch operation – but that’s really the fault of Windows 7, not Sony’s screen, which is responsive enough.
The display also comes with a neat feature called “edge access”. This means that the glass black surround, around the outside of the display, is also touch capable, and pressing different areas activates various functions.
For example, sliding your finger up and down the right-hand edge of the display lets the user zoom in and out of an image or website. Touching the left side of the bottom edge is equivalent to the back button in your browser, and the right side equates to the forward button. That’s a smart little extra touch, so to speak, and this Vaio has a few of those on board.
One of these, is the quick web access button, as seen on some of the Vaio laptops. Press this, and the VPC fast boots into a web browser ‘only’ mode, should you just want to quickly check your email or something similar. This means it takes around 20 to 25 seconds to boot, instead of just over 40 seconds, for a normal boot takes. Sony also provides an assist button, which facilitates one-touch access to the Vaio troubleshooting and diagnostics centre. There’s a 3D button to turn the three dimensional aspect of the display on or off, too.
The 3D is one of the main attractions of this pricier L-series all-in-one (its less expensive brother, the L22S1E, lacks the 3D display). So how does it perform? The active shutter 3D glasses are wireless, and are charged from the supplied USB cable. They’re comfortable to wear, fitting very neatly over our pair of prescription spectacles.
3D movies look pretty impressive, although there is a touch of the cardboard-cut-out look evident here and there (of course, that varies depending on the content source). The L22Z1E also does 3D up-scaling, and putting a normal “2D” film in the machine’s Blu-ray drive, it did a decent job of adding an extra dimension to the movie without it looking unnatural.
Overall, the picture is nicely bright and very crisp, although the same can’t be said about the sound. The integrated speakers are disappointing, particularly when it comes to an action movie’s rumbles and explosions. Speaker rattle is often evident, above half volume, and the sound quality seems rather muffled at any volume. Sadly, the sonic side doesn’t match up to the visuals with this all-in-one.
When it comes to tackling gaming, the L22Z1E has a pretty solid spec. The machine is driven by an Intel Core i7-2670QM CPU running at 2.2GHz (with turbo to 3.1GHz), backed up with 8GB of Ram, a 1TB hard disk, and a GeForce GT 540M graphics card with 1GB of on-board memory.
Running some benchmarks, we saw Dirt 3 hit a fairly smooth 40 frames per second on medium details at full HD resolution. Battlefield 3 ran at 28 frames per second on average, again with medium details. That was just about playable, but only just – so bear in mind with newer games you may need to turn the detail levels down a fair bit, to get a smooth experience. The Vaio might not be a gaming dream machine, but it covers the bases adequately.
Sony’s VPC-L22Z1E comes bundled with a keyboard and mouse, so you aren’t solely reliant on the touchscreen. The keyboard is a quality affair, although the mouse is rather too slim and lightweight for our liking. The machine also has a 1.3 megapixel webcam on board.
Connectivity and ports include three USB and two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI input and output, composite video input, multi-card reader, an S400 and an ethernet port, along with headphone and microphone sockets.
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- Good quality 3D; neat extras such as a quick web boot and “edge access” touchscreen.
- Pricey; on-board speakers are below par.
There’s a lot to like about the VPC-L22Z1E. It’s a good all-rounder with a Blu-ray drive and impressive 3D performance, plus it makes a decent stab at gaming. The Vaio is also a smart looking, slim-line unit with some neat added features, such as the quick web boot button and “edge access” touchscreen. However, the price is a big ask, and the integrated speakers are disappointing. Its smaller brother, the VPC-L22S1E, comes without 3D and a lesser Core i5 processor, but is potentially better value for money, at £1,199 - if you can live without three dimensions.