Sony VAIO Z13 review

Price when reviewed

With Core i5 laptops available for as little as £500, the price at the top of this page is enough to make anyone wince. Sony’s VAIO Z Series is unashamedly expensive. At nearly £1,600 exc VAT – and that’s for the bottom of the range model – this is a laptop that only a precious, deep-pocketed few will even be able to contemplate buying.

And if you’re expecting something designed along MacBook Pro lines, or even HP’s Envy range, the Sony just doesn’t look like nigh-on two grand of laptop. If you’re the kind of person who likes your premium-priced purchases to look exactly that, you’re likely to be underwhelmed. Painted top-to-toe in aluminium and grey, the Z13 looks smart but ultimately unremarkable.

It is pleasingly compact, though. The 13.1in display and lithe build make for a slender physique and it’s feather-light at just 1.4kg, just a little heavier than your average 10in netbook. That it also feels stiff and sturdy, barring that ever-flexible lid, is impressive for such a portable piece of kit.

Sony VAIO Z13

Indeed, picking up the Z13 is a disconcerting experience. With many expensive products reassuring as to their value with a weighty feel, the Sony feels barely there. Before you press the on button it’s easy to speculate that someone forgot to put anything inside the chassis at all.

Unlike many ultraportables, the Z13 isn’t hobbled by a low-voltage, low-power processor. Instead, even this lowliest model of the range is well equipped for such a waif. The 2.53GHz Core i5-460M processor is accompanied by two 64GB SSDs lashed together to form a 128GB RAID0 array, while Nvidia’s GeForce GT330M graphics chipset sits alongside. With a result of 1.64 in our benchmarks, the Sony outperforms the majority of far bigger laptops we’ve tested, and it managed a perfectly good 55fps in our Low quality Crysis test.

Turn your attention to graphics performance and the Sony has a trick up its sleeve. Nvidia’s Optimus graphics-switching technology is nowhere to be seen, but Sony’s dual-graphics arrangement is arguably more flexible: a three-way rocker switch flicks between the Nvidia chip, Intel’s HD graphics and an automatic mode that switches between the two according to whether you’re running on mains or battery power. Where Nvidia’s Optimus makes all the decisions, Sony’s system hands the choice to the user, and for such a high-end yet portable laptop it’s a sensible approach.


Warranty2yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions314 x 210 x 24mm (WDH)
Travelling weight1.8kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i5-460M
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM57
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size13.1in
Resolution screen horizontal1,600
Resolution screen vertical900
Resolution1600 x 900
Graphics chipsetIntel HD graphics / Nvidia GeForce G330M
Graphics card RAM1.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity61GB
Spindle speedN/A
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskToshiba THNSC064GMMJ
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveMatshita DVD-RAM UJ892AS
Battery capacity5,200mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


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 ports0
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?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating0.3mp
Fingerprint readeryes
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use6hr 10min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 12min
Overall application benchmark score1.64
Office application benchmark score1.33
2D graphics application benchmark score1.76
Encoding application benchmark score1.53
Multitasking application benchmark score1.94
3D performance (crysis) low settings55fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Professional 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos