Sony VAIO F13 review
A superb desktop replacement, but poor battery life and a medicore screen dent its appeal
Review Date: 4 Oct 2010
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £1,021 (£1,200 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
It's that time of year when Sony's VAIO laptops queue up for a specification bump, and Sony's F Series has now reached its third generation. You'd be hard-pressed to tell from looking at it, though. From the outside, Sony's 16.4in desktop replacement hasn't changed a bit.
It isn't that it's in dire need of a ground-up redesign. It's no match for Apple's MacBook Pro in the looks department, but it's still a fine-looking laptop, and the F Series has an air of quality that many would do well to emulate. Its chassis feels stout and flex-free, and is worth paying the weight penalty for - this 3kg laptop is unlikely to be a welcome travelling partner on all but the shortest of journeys.
That sturdy build is matched with superb ergonomics. The Scrabble-tile keyboard is simply superb, with a spacious layout, great feel and, unlike Asus' similarly sized N53JN, not even the slightest hint of undue squish. Spreadsheet fans will be mighty glad of the numeric keypad alongside.
Despite appearances, Sony has made a few tweaks here and there, the most interesting of which is the introduction of USB 3 on the F Series. The two ports on the laptop's left-hand side now reach up to USB 3's nippy transfer speeds, which is a welcome sight for a desktop replacement. Now, at least, backing up the 500GB hard disk won't be a painfully slow process.
The processor and graphics chipset have been upgraded too. The processor in question remains one of the older 45nm Core i7s, namely the 1.73GHz i7-740QM. It's quick, but despite having four cores to the two of the newer Core i5 and Core i7 models, it lags a little behind the newer generation. Still, a result of 1.54 in our benchmarks is still pretty fast by any standard, and few are likely to find themselves limited by the amount of power on tap.
Are other Sony's getting a spec bump?
You mention at the top of the article that it's the time of year for Sony to refresh their range.
Is there any news on any of their 13" models getting a bump up? I'm looking into buying a 13" laptop shortly and as you mention in the article the build quality is excellent.
By Grunthos on 5 Oct 2010
I'm waiting for the updated S and Z Series laptops at the moment. I'm confident we'll have them in the next week or two. Watch this space!
By SashaMuller on 5 Oct 2010
Why are they delayed in the UK?
I see the F13 available in north America, Germany and Holland. Also the Asia pacific region... It's strange that the UK is delayed unless it's deliberate to sell off the last F12s around.
By Dewinte on 5 Oct 2010
I just gave their UK Sales line a call and apparently the fastest way to get an F13 is to Customise Your Own, either on the website or over the phone on 0845 6000124. Estimated delivery time is 3 weeks.
By SashaMuller on 5 Oct 2010
Sony's little helper
Odd that you weren't sent one with the premium (1920 x 1080) display considering the GPU it came with.
As for battery life, I'm not sure what you were expecting really given the specifications. Upgrading to the larger capacity battery is an option, but really, if mobility and battery life are key, you're looking at the wrong laptop.
By Deckard on 16 Nov 2010
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