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Sony VAIO T13 review

Verdict

Currently the best low-priced Ultrabook on the market, but this Sony does have its weaknesses

Review Date: 15 Jun 2012

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £566 (£679 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
6 stars out of 6

Performance
3 stars out of 6

After many months of waiting, Sony has finally unveiled its first Ultrabook, the VAIO T Series. The real surprise isn’t just how long it’s taken to materialise, however – it’s the price. With the entry-level model starting at £679, Sony has delivered its Ultrabook at the lower end of the Ultrabook spectrum.

Those expecting a bargain-basement lump of plastic may be surprised. Sony has got the look of the new VAIO T Series just right. There isn’t the wow factor of Samsung’s pretty Series 9, but the blend of clean, crisp lines and chamfered edges make for a slim, smart laptop. The plastic underside cheapens the effect somewhat, but it’s more attractive than Acer’s Aspire S3, which is a similar price.

Sony VAIO T13

At 1.52kg and 19mm thick, the VAIO T13 is by no means the most portable Ultrabook we’ve seen. Build quality is generally good given the price – the base only flexes once you really exercise those forearm muscles – but the display on our review unit was less reassuring. Under gentle pressure the screen housing bends from side to side, but press harder and the plastic bezel actually clicks apart.

Getting the price down below the £700 mark has left Sony pinching the pennies elsewhere. The CPU on our model was one of the older Sandy Bridge Core i3 models, the Core i3-2367M, and without the Turbo Boost of its Core i5 and Core i7 cousins, it runs at a maximum of 1.4GHz. Equally, there isn’t room in the budget for a full-sized SSD. Instead, Sony has used a 32GB SSD caching drive as per Intel’s requirements, alongside a mechanical 500GB hard drive.

Performance is fine, though. The result of 0.45 in our Real World Benchmarks puts it a little way behind models with Turbo Boost-equipped Core i5 processors, but it’s more than adequate for general use. As ever, the weakling Intel HD Graphics 3000 chipset isn’t up to the challenge of our Crysis tests, with the VAIO T13 struggling to an average of 22fps even at the least demanding resolution and quality settings.

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User comments

Fans are loud and noisy (sony's T ultrabooks)

Many people are reporting that T13 make too much noise even with light load. You can find many related threads if google "sony t13 fan noise"

By seoklee on 17 Jun 2012

Futureproofed, not.

I cant imagine why anyone would opt for the outdated Sandy Bridge processor with Ivy Bridge now alive and kicking. In the fast paced world of IT surely you have to futureproof a purchase as best you can...

By jamesv1001 on 17 Jun 2012

Why did Intel bother...

defining the Ultrabook name, when manufacturers / the press call every notebook that appears an Ultrabook, whether it fits the criteria or not?

By big_D on 18 Jun 2012

Display

I agree, I find the display resolution is way too low, which has put me off of Ultrabooks.

1600x900 should be the minimum that they should consider for that size, although I'd prefer a 14" with 1920x1080 (or better yet, a real computer display with 1920x1200).

By big_D on 18 Jun 2012

Okay I'm being insanely picky but an Ultrabook with a screen 13.3" or less is 18mm high maximum according to the specifications. This is apparently 19mm.

By pveater on 18 Jun 2012

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