Sony VAIO F12 review
Sony's latest VAIO laptop is a high-end entertainment machine that looks the business
Review Date: 13 Jul 2010
Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith
Price when reviewed: £1,173 (£1,378 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
We’ve already seen the first of Sony’s F Series – the high-spec Sony VAIO F11. Now comes the F12. With its generous 16.4 in display, grey-brown finish and faux-leather wrist-rest, it looks like a serious machine – an impression the price does nothing to dispel. Yet this sober notebook is in fact the company’s “ultimate entertainer”, and a closer look reveals a 1080p TFT, a Blu-ray drive and – as with the F11 – dedicated media playback controls set directly below the screen.
There’s plenty of power inside, too. Sony offers a range of processors, RAM from 4GB to 8GB and a selection of hard disks; but our review model was based on an Intel Core i7-740QM quad-core CPU with 8GB and a 500GB, 7,200rpm drive.
That combination achieved 1.58 overall in our desktop benchmarks – a strong score, but then at this price you’d expect that. If you step down to an i7-720QM, halve the RAM, swap the Blu-ray drive for a regular DVD writer and make do with a 320GB hard disk, you can expect performance only around 10% slower for a slightly more digestible £927 exc VAT.
3D performance is creditable too, thanks to a powerful Nvidia GeForce GT 330M. This helped the VAIO F12 motor through our low-detail Crysis test at an average of 81fps, and hold up a fairly playable 28fps with medium settings. Be warned, though, that 3D gaming causes the system fan to spin up to some very noisy speeds.
If gaming isn't your priority, you can order the F12 from Sony Style with a GeForce GT 310M card (and a much-reduced spec elsewhere too) for a mere £595 exc VAT.
But buying the economy version of the F12 is a little like ordering an Audi R8 with a 1.2-litre engine. It just isn’t the point.
If the VAIO F12's premium credentials aren’t already apparent, they will be once you start to use it. Even by Sony’s usual high standards, this feels like a beautifully assembled laptop, with a sturdy chassis and clearly separated keys that are a joy to type on.
The trackpad’s comfortable and responsive too, though the numeric keypad is a mixed blessing: not everyone likes their keyboard and pointer controls shunted over to the side.
Sony F12 review
Many thanks for the interesting review. In respect of your comments regarding the screen looking washed out under certain circumstances, there is a huge thread on this machine on Notebook Review web site. Several UK & Eu subscribers have recommended deselecting the auto brightness feature and adjusting it manually. The UK/EU matte screen is believed to be one of the best for the high end versions of this laptop. The main complaints are re the USA/Canadian glossy screen. Search the notebook review site for further info re UK or Eu screen under the F11/F12 thread using the search bar. http://forum.notebookreview.com/sony-owners-lounge
By superbike999 on 22 Jul 2010
Finally we can order vaio owner made like in japan and America.......but it still doesn't mean choice! I ordered my f12 from america where I was able to have a backlit keyboard and 840qm for the same price delivered with 1 year guarantee as the Sony flagship model. I didn't know about tue gloss vs matte screen when I ordered - I do prefer my old z matte screen, but the gloss is still a great screen - I notice I angle it slightly more to get the best out of it. A great pc stifled by Sony uk's Limited customising options. Btw why is Sonystyles shop so sparse and why don't they sell a. Case for the f is a complete mystery.
By Virtuatw on 18 Aug 2010
Backlit keyboard and i7840qm
Sorry I should have made it clearer - these specs are not available to uk consumers. With a customisable model available this is not acceptable.
By Virtuatw on 18 Aug 2010
- Swatch Touch smartwatch in development
- Did iCloud flaw lead to celeb photo hack?
- Microsoft refuses to hand over customer emails
- Apple signs up credit-card companies for NFC payments
- Apple bans developers from selling your health data
- Intel unveils eight-core Haswell-E CPU
- Forget robot butlers: meet Fuji Xerox's robot printer
- Wing it: Google's drone delivery revealed
- Facebook testing keyword searching in old posts
- It's on: Apple announces 9 September event for the iPad, iWatch and iPhone 6... maybe
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Why we've closed the PC Pro forums
- How to turn off Google Location Tracking
- 20 years of PC Pro: our greatest review mistakes
- 20 years of PC Pro: our first A-List
- Wikipedia's "right to be forgotten" protest hits the wrong note
- 3D printing hits the high street for plastic selfies
- 20 years of PC Pro: What amazed us in our first issue
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Best of IFA 2014: what smartphones, tablets, smartwatches are expected to launch at IFA this year?
- How to uninstall a program on Windows: remove unwanted apps from your PC
- How to format a USB drive on a Mac or Windows
- What’s the best 4G network in the UK?
- How to set up a wireless hotspot for your business: give customers free or paid for internet access
- How to download YouTube videos: save YouTube videos to your iPhone, iPad, laptop or Android device
- How to access iCloud on a PC
- Nexus 5 vs Moto G 4G (2014 model)
- Chromecast vs Roku Streaming Stick vs Apple TV: what's the best TV streaming device?
- The 8 best small tablets of 2014: what's the best compact tablet?
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office