Sony VAIO VPCS11V9E/B review

Price when reviewed

Intel’s innovation has allowed Sony to refresh several of its most popular families, and the VAIO S Series is no exception. Aimed at the business user who also likes a little entertainment here and there, the S11V9E is a tough but lightweight 13.3in laptop that also packs a discrete graphics chip.

The big step forward is the move to Intel’s HM55 Express chipset and Core i5 processor. The Core i5-520M in this machine runs at 2.4GHz, with the Turbo Boost feature dynamically pushing either of the two cores up (to a maximum of 2.933GHz) or down depending on your needs. It’s one of the new batch of 32nm processors, and supports Virtualisation Technology and Hyper-Threading.


Paired with 4GB of DDR3 memory, the VAIO S Series coasted through our application benchmarks with a score of 1.55 – just a fraction short of the 45nm Core i7-720QM inside the Dell Studio 15, which demonstrates just how advanced these latest CPUs are.

But speed isn’t the only intended benefit. The 32nm Core i5s have a TDP of just 35W, and Sony has opted for a six-cell, 5,000mAh battery in the S11V9E, so we were hopeful of good battery life to go with that performance.

We had to disable Sony’s Battery Saver option, which restricts the charge to 80% of capacity to prolong the battery’s life – we’d rather get the extra 20% and take our chances in the long run – and without this limit, the Sony managed more than five hours in our light-use battery test, and 1hr 24mins under full load.

The latter figure is partly down to the more power-hungry GeForce 310M graphics chugging away – Sony hasn’t made the graphics switchable, despite the latest Core i5 processors having Intel graphics built into the chip. It does give the Sony another dimension as an entertainment system – it effortlessly decodes HD video and managed an acceptable 56fps in our Low quality Crysis test – so it’s perfect for a bit of light gaming after work.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions328 x 228 x 34mm (WDH)
Travelling weight2.4kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i5-520M
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM55 Express
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size13.3in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetNvidia GeForce 310M
Graphics card RAM512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity458GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskToshiba MK5055GSX
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveOptiarc AD-7930H
Battery capacity5,000mAh
Replacement battery price ex VAT£117
Replacement battery price inc VAT£137


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

Other Features

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

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, heavy use1hr 12min
Overall application benchmark score1.55
Office application benchmark score1.31
2D graphics application benchmark score1.68
Encoding application benchmark score1.49
Multitasking application benchmark score1.74
3D performance (crysis) low settings56fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Professional 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7

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