Sony VAIO T13 review

15 Jun 2012

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

Price when reviewed: 
679inc VAT
4

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £566
Price inc VAT £679
Overall rating 4
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 6
Performance 3

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 323 x 216 x 19mm (WDH)
Weight 1.520kg
Travelling weight 1.8kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i3-2367M
Motherboard chipset Intel HM77
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 0

Screen and video

Screen size 13.3in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel HD Graphics 3000
Graphics card RAM N/A
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 500GB
Hard disk usable capacity 466GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Optical disc technology N/A
Optical drive none
Battery capacity 4,050mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch no
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 1
FireWire ports 0
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 1
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader no
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset Realtek HD Audio
Speaker location Front edge
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 7hr 25min
Battery life, heavy use 2hr 33min
3D performance (crysis) low settings 22fps
3D performance setting Low
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.45
Responsiveness score 0.61
Media score 0.44
Multitasking score 0.29

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition