Sony VAIO F13 review

£1200
Price when reviewed

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.

Sony VAIO F13 review

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.

Sony VAIO F13

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.

Warranty

Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

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

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i7-740QM
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM55
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size16.4in
Resolution screen horizontal1,600
Resolution screen vertical900
Resolution1600 x 900
Graphics chipsetNvidia GeForce GT 425M
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 capacity466GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Optical disc technologyBlu-ray reader
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)2
FireWire 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 typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationAbove keyboard
Hardware volume control?yes
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating0.3mp
TPMno
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use2hr 30min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 20min
Overall application benchmark score1.54
Office application benchmark score1.23
2D graphics application benchmark score1.83
Encoding application benchmark score1.47
Multitasking application benchmark score1.65
3D performance (crysis) low settings71fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

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

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