Sony VAIO F11 review

Plenty of power, a great screen and a plethora of features make the VAIO F11 a solid all-rounder

David Bayon
21 Apr 2010
5
Price when reviewed 
1,110

There's a nice continuity to much of Sony's VAIO line-up, with the same grey styling applied to ultraportables and desktop replacements alike. The VAIO F11 is ostensibly an entertainment laptop, but its 16.4in Full HD screen and Core i7 processor make it just as capable of workstation duties.

The wide chassis allows for an excellent Scrabble-tile keyboard, with light key travel and a rigid backing. There's a useful number pad to the right; a minor complaint is that the touchpad sits skewed to the left half of the base - a design choice that's more a matter of preference than a major flaw. Above the keyboard sit quick playback controls, and there's a programmable function button too.

Sony VAIO F11

The entertainment focus is strengthened by a Blu-ray reader, and the 500GB hard disk is plenty for a video library. Should you need extra storage Sony has added a combined USB and eSATA port, along with two further USB ports, and there are HDMI and D-SUB outputs for hooking up external displays.

With a quad-core Core i7-720QM and 6GB of RAM inside this model (the VPCF11S1E/B), we expected great things from our benchmarks, but that's one of the older 45nm processors. As a result, it proved slower than laptops we've seen with the newer 32nm dual-core Core i5. Nevertheless, a score of 1.52 shows its potential, and its four cores and eight threads will come into their own when editing video or rendering 3D.

The 16.4in Full HD display is vibrant enough to bring those videos to life, the backlight is even and bright, and the lid offers ample protection for slinging the F11 into a bag. The tones are a touch oversaturated for accurate colour work, but they're perfect for Blu-ray movies or gaming.

The Nvidia GeForce GT 330M graphics drove our Crysis test at 1,280 x 1,024 and Medium settings with an average frame rate of 29fps. Whether that's worth the trade-off depends on your usage - battery life was merely average, lasting 3hrs 39mins under light use.

The Sony isn't cheap at £945 exc VAT, and doesn't quite commit fully to either the role of workstation or entertainment monster. But if you want a laptop that can do a bit of both in a manageable 3.1kg chassis, the F11 is ideal.

Warranty

Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions387 x 262 x 43mm (WDH)
Weight3.050kg
Travelling weight3.5kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i7-720QM
Motherboard chipsetIntel PM55 Express
RAM capacity6.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size16.4in
Resolution screen horizontal1,920
Resolution screen vertical1,080
Resolution1920 x 1080
Graphics chipsetNvidia GeForce GT 330M
Graphics card RAM1.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity500GB
Hard disk usable capacity453GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskHitachi HTS545050B9SA00
Optical disc technologyBlu-ray reader
Optical driveOptiarc BC-5500H
Battery capacity5,000mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchno
Modemno
ExpressCard34 slots1
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
FireWire ports1
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readerno
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeMultitouch touchpad
Audio chipsetNvidia HD Audio
Speaker locationAbove keyboard
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating0.3mp
TPMno
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use3hr 39min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 31min
Overall application benchmark score1.52
Office application benchmark score1.14
2D graphics application benchmark score1.83
Encoding application benchmark score1.45
Multitasking application benchmark score1.65
3D performance (crysis) low settings93fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition
Software suppliedNone

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