Sony Vaio Pro 13 Review

What We Think

The Sony Vaio 13 packs a seriously powerful 4th generation Intel Core processor and includes the gorgeous Triluminous display. In short the Sony Vaio Pro 13.3″ Touchscreen Ultrabook is a portable performance powerhouse.

Introduction

Sony’s Vaio Pro 13 is the improved power-efficiency of the ‘Haswell’ processor that has allowed Sony to design what it calls ‘the world’s lightest touch-capable laptop’. The cheapest version of the Vaio Pro 13 costs £859 and comes with a Core i5 processor. However, if you opt for touchscreen capability, a Core i7 processor, 8GB memory and a 512GB SSD pushes the price up to £1519.

Design

The slimline design of the Vaio Pro 13 catches the eye immediately. The 13.3-inch model measures just 17.2mm at its thickest point, and weighs a mere 1060g. That’s under 300 grams less than the 1.35Kg of the 13-inch MacBook Air. The Vaio Pro 13 outguns the MacBook Air in other areas too, most notably the 1920×1080 resolution which also provides a really bright, colourful image.

As standard, the laptop comes with a built-in microphone, a HD webcam, backlit keyboard, SD card slot, headphone jack, two USB 3.0 ports and a HDMI port. The Vaio Pro 13 includes NFC that can be used to quickly pair with other devices such as Bluetooth speakers. There’s also a clever little Wi-Fi router dongle that plugs in to one end of the power supply. This allows you to create an impromptu Wi-Fi network for up to five devices: ideal when you’re travelling and your hotel room provides only a wired Ethernet connection.

Screen

The VAIO Pro 13’s Full-HD touchscreen is something special – the image quality is superb. The glossy screen finish won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but the high brightness, superb contrast and vivid, accurate colour reproduction are as good as it gets.

The integrated graphics is more than enough for basic photo editing and we didn’t have problems with trimming or playback of 1080p video clips, either. The Pro 13 can handle some graphically demanding games, but it’s not a pleasant experience — stick to casual games or play at reduced resolutions. Also, the system will heat up under heavy load and its tiny fans really start to whir.

Performance

Overall the performance is good. However, the memory is soldered onto the mainboard and as a result there is no alternative to the 8 or 4 GB DDR3L-SDRAM (1600 MHz). The Vaio Pro 13 has a Windows Experience Index of 6.4. There is more than enough power for web browsing and running Microsoft Office, as well as more demanding tasks such as photo editing. However, other laptops with the fourth-gen Core i5 processors scored similar or greater results, so you could probably downgrade this model to an i5 when ordering online and save yourself £100 without a noticeable loss of performance.

Our Verdict

When it comes down to it the Sony Vaio Pro 13 is a superthin and light ultrabook with an amazingly long battery life. The Sony Vaio Pro really is a prime example of what’s possible with Intel’s fourth-gen Core i-series processors and offers a great Windows 8 experience.

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