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Sony VAIO L24 (SVL24114FXB) Review
The Sony VAIO L24 (SVL24114FXB) all-in-one desktop PC adds capacitive touch functionality and seamless glass to an already attractive system.
(3.5 out of 5)
- Seamless capacitive touch screen
- Third-generation Intel Core processor
- Blu-ray player
- Sony media creation bundled software
- HDMI in and out
- HDTV tuner with TV Mode
- Decent sound
- USB 3.0.
- Faint grid of lines on screen
- Integrated graphics
- Only 30-day trial for Kaspersky Internet Security.
The Sony VAIO L24 (SVL24114FXB) ($1,399.99 list) is a touch-screen-equipped, all-in-one desktop PC optimized for media consumption. The 24-inch capacitive touch screen with seamless glass is a vast improvement over the indented IR-based touch screens of previous VAIO K Touch desktops like the former midrange Editor’s Choice Sony VAIO VPC-L231FX/W ($999.99 at Staples, 4.5 stars). The L24 is certainly an improvement over the older model, but there are a few things holding it back from being the best in class.
Design and Features
The L24 looks very similar to the previous VAIO L Series models, with all of the components built into the screen chassis. It resembles a large computer monitor or smallish HDTV. The screen floats, suspended by the system’s two-pronged stand. You can stow the included wireless keyboard under the screen, a benefit of arm-mounted all-in-one PCs. The wireless mouse is a little slimmer than the mice that come with other systems, but it works. Virtually everything else is wireless as well: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and an IR remote for the built-in TV functions. The L24 we tested came with a VAIO TV Tuner “Powered by BRAVIA TV,” which means that the screen works as a TV even if the Windows system is powered off. There is also an HDMI-in port, which works with settop boxes (like the one you have from the cable company), game consoles like the PS3, or with your laptop (handy for when the system’s processor finally becomes obsolete).
The 24-inch screen has a 1,920-by-1,080 native resolution, perfect for true 1080p HD video sources. The HDMI-out port provides multi-display capabilities, so you can be more productive. The system also has composite video A/V-in ports so you can hook up older video sources like a VCR. The system’s screen was supposed to evoke Sony’s quality, but there is a fly in the ointment: There is a faint grid of lines visible in the screen (about 1/2-inch or 1/4-inch squares). You can barely see them with the default background or while watching videos, but the grid just becomes visible when you have a significant amount of white background on the screen, such as when you’re using Word or surfing the Internet. It could be distracting if you’re a perfectionist and are the type of user who hunts for “dead pixels” in your electronic devices. Sony reps claim that our review unit uses the final version of the LED/IPS panel, so you’ll want to view the screen at the store before buying if you have a critical eye.
The system comes with other ports as well: three USB 2.0 ports, three faster USB 3.0 ports, and Sony’s standby FireWire 400/i.Link port for connecting old-school DV camcorders. There’s an Ethernet port and an antenna jack for the TV tuner. This is a very connected system; basically it has all the consumer connectors you would want. The desktop is upgradeable to 16GB, but you’ll have to remove the existing 6GB to get to that amount. The system comes with holes for VESA mounting in the back, but it doesn’t come with a wall mount.
The L24 comes with some utilities pre-installed and a few pieces of bloatware on the desktop. The unneeded icons include eBay, Kaspersky Internet Security (with an abysmal 30-day trial period), and Office 2010 Starter. Word and Excel are reduced-functionality versions, but they never expire. More useful are the media apps that Sony bundled in, like Vegas, Acid, and Sound Forge. The system comes with Vaio Media Gallery and PlayMemories Home as well. Sony has included a touch-overlay, though it isn’t as extensive as the one found on HP machines like the current midrange Editors’ Choice HP Omni 27 ($1,249 direct, 4 stars) and HP’s TouchSmart series PCs. The L24 comes with a standard one-year warranty.
The L24′s new Intel Core i5-3210M mobile-class processor helps keep it energy efficient and reduces the heat generated by the system. The i5-3201M is a dual-core CPU with Hyper-Threading, so it can handle four streams of data at once. But this also means that the system is a smidge slower than other systems with true quad-core processors, like the Asus ET2700INKS-B062C ($1,499 list, 3.5 stars) and the HP Omni 27 (check price).
The L24 performed well on Handbrake (1 minute 42 seconds) and Photoshopt (4:03), but the Asus ET2700 (which scored 1:17 in Handbrake and 2:58 in Photoshop) and HP Omni 27 (1:28 in Handbrake and 3:31 in Photoshop) were quite a bit faster. The L24 was quick and stutter-free at displaying online 1080p HD videos, however, and the system’s Blu-ray performance was just as fast with the pre-installed PowerDVD BD playback software.
The L24′s Intel HD Graphics 4000 integrated graphics were sufficient for HD videos, but it lagged a little while playing Crysiss (21 frames per second) and Lost Planet 2 (17 fps) at medium settings. The Asus ET2700 garnered passable scores, with the HP Omni 27 bringing up the rear at 3D. At least the VAIO L24′s integrated graphics are now DX11-compatible, an improvement over older GPUs. The L24 was very good at the PCMark7 overall test, so we’re confident this system will last you several years before it feels slow.
Compared with its rivals, the Sony VAIO L24 (SVL24114FXB) comes across as a very good media consumption device. HD Videos, Blu-ray movies, music, and photos come up quick and are enjoyable to page through. However, if you’re more interested in creating videos and retouching photos, one of the other all-in-one systems like the Asus ET2700, HP Omni 27, and the high end all-in-one Editors’ Choice Dell XPS One 27 ($1,999 direct, 4.5 stars) may be a better choice. All three rivals have larger 27-inch screens and are faster, plus the Dell has a higher resolution (2,560 by 1,440) screen which means more virtual screen room to view larger images. The HP Omni 27 holds on to the Editors’ Choice for midrange all-in-one desktop PCs midprice, but the L24 is a decent choice if you must have a touch screen. You’ll just have to pay a couple extra hundred dollars and accept a smaller screen to do so.
BENCHMARK TEST RESULTS: Check out the test scores for the Sony VAIO L24 (SVL24114FXB)
Compare the Sony VAIO L24 (SVL24114FXB) with several other desktops side by side.
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By Joel Santo Domingo, PCMag