SONY VAIO Pro 13 Touchscreen Ultrabook
Dimensions: 322 x 12.8 (maximum 17.2) x 216 mm| Weight: 1.06 kg (including battery)
“A laptop lighter than Air”, well, we mean the MacBook Air. SONY introduced the 13 inch touchscreen notebook – VAIO® Pro 13 in a bid to take on Apple’s MacBook Air, with an ultra-slim and light weight design to deliver easy portability. The exciting thing is that this Windows laptop has SSD with PCI technology and sports Intel’s new core i7 Haswell processor that promises to extend battery life. Read on to find out more.
Hardware specs at a glance
|SVP132A1CM (Norwegian keyboard layout)
|13.3-inch Capacitive Touchscreen with Full HD Triluminous TFT for Mobile, LED Backlight and X-Reality for mobile and IPS display
|1,920 x 1,080 pixels
|Intel® Core™ i7-4500U Processor 1.80 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.00 GHz*1
|4 GB DDR3 RAM |1600.0 MHz | Fixed on board
|128GB PCIe SSD drive
|Intel® HD Graphics 4400
|HDMI, Line In 1/8, Line Out 1/8, USB 3.0 x 2, SD card slot, Battery connector
|Centrino N 7260 AGN with WiDi/WiUSB (802.11a/802.11b/802.11g/802.11n), Bluetooth v4.0
|Microsoft Windows 8 Pro 64 bit (English Version)
|NFC enabled touchpad, Built-In Microphone, Built-In Webcam (1 MP)
For complete specs visit – http://www.sony.co.in/product/svp1321xpn
What experts say?
The first thing that you will notice about the VAIO Pro 12 is how amazingly light it is, and yes if you are wondering it is definitely lighter (290 g) than the MacBook Air with similar screen size. Some of the tablets also weight much more than this beauty, that’s how light it is.
Secondly, unlike other Ultrabooks that use aluminum for the body, Sony has dared something different, the Pro 13 uses carbon fibre material and a Hexa-shell design to make for a durable shell and a lighter body. The carbon fibre back is smooth to touch and resists fingerprints well. The build though compact is boxy with sharp corners unlike the MacBook Air that has rounded ones. It has wedge shaped design wherein it is thicker at the hinges connecting and slimmer down towards the edges, not as impressive as the MacBook Air but laudable nonetheless.
The only area that uses aluminum is the gap-less palm rest area around the touchpad that sports a brushed metal look and is well designed for comfortable typing during those long work sessions. It certainly does not cut into your wrist while typing as seen with some laptops.
The keyboard is chicklet-style meaning there are no gaps between the keys, which is a good thing as you it will not accumulate crumbs of food that you might drop while eating and working. The springy resistance of the keys assists in fast and accurate typing. Oh and the keyboard is also backlit and therefore you can work in the dark but on the downside it lacks a shortcut for adjusting or turning the backlight off. However, if you are watching a movie in the dark the keys will automatically dim down and resume brightness once there is some activity like key press or mouse move. Keyboard scores good points.
The touchpad though large and good looking is regrettably the weakest in terms of performance in the VAIO Pro 13. The touchpad supports multi-touch gestures but the performance is temperamental with some of the gestures working very erratically. Worse still is that the pointer on the screen tends to jump around while using the touchpad. Interestingly the trackpad comes with a built-in NFC reader, although also with a caveat that large file transfers are not supported. So not too many marks there for the trackpad.
Vaio Pro doesn’t have an Ethernet socket due to the lack of real estate and also considering its slimness, which means to access internet you are forced to use Wi-Fi. Alternatively, you can buy an optional mini USB wireless access point to overcome this deficit. Optical drive is also lacking.
The 0.9-megapixel webcam uses the Exmor CMOS sensor but the video quality is below par, however it seems to handle low-light conditions pretty well.
The VAIO Pros 13-inch screen is technically excellent. It has a full-HD Triluminos IPS panel with a 10-point capacitive multi-touch touchscreen. It also includes the X-Reality engine that is designed to make images look razor sharp and brighter.
The colors are flawless (Delta E, which measures colour fidelity, being 3.6). The colour temperature also ranks well at 6,550 K, which is on par with the ideal 6,500 K.
The touchscreen response is pretty good and helps in navigating those Windows 8 Apps. Sony includes a protection cloth for cleaning the touchscreen so don’t throw it away.
All of the ports on the VAIO Pro 13 are clustered on the right side which is problematic if you want to plug in multiple devices at a time. The ports include – an SD Card slot, a headphone jack, two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port. The only connector on the left is the power jack. It also houses a connector for attaching the optional sheet battery. The lack of an Ethernet port can be overcome by purchasing an adapter.
The speakers are located near the hinge area. The headphone/microphone combo jack provides remarkable high fidelity sound with high volume and zero saturation for this size. The sound is rich and clear with a deep bass which most of you will love. You can expect great results with the ClearAudio+ setting enabled for Music or Video in the VAIO Control Center or you can also customize your own.
The Sony VAIO Pro 13 is powered by fourth-generation, Intel® Core™ i7-4500U Haswell Processor. The Haswell architecture has made huge improvements to power consumption albeit for raw application speed, Intel’s Haswell processors are no quicker than their Ivy Bridge predecessors.
For everyday tasks like web browsing, streaming HD videos, writing documents, this Ultrabook proves to be quite efficient but when it comes to gaming it becomes sluggish.
With so much power underneath its hood, it is bound to heat up, but it is within comfortable limits except for the occasional overheating (up to 48°C/118°F) reported at times. The fan gets a little noisy when the laptop is first turned on but becomes quiet in due course of time although it can give a dull drone while installing software or doing mildly intensive tasks.
The SSD on board uses the PCI Express interface, which promises extremely high transfer rates and speedy boot times. It boots up in a mere 6 seconds and shuts down in 12.
Although, the Sony VAIO Pro 13 falls considerably behind the monstrous 14.5 hour battery life of MacBook Air, it stands a better chance against other Ultrabooks like Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A and HP Folio 13, lasting around 6-10 hours, from moderate to heavy use, higher than what Sony claims.
The relatively small, internal 37Wh battery is integrated into the Ultrabook. You can also add an additional sheet battery that basically doubles battery capacity and battery life. The sheet battery is intelligently only used when the integrated battery drains. But even without the sheet battery life is awesome so full points to Pro 13 for this.
As is the norm these days, laptops come preinstalled with a lot of software, while some of them categorize as bloatware (not useful and unnecessary), the VAIO offers some useful applications. You can also share directly to Facebook, Flickr, Shutterfly, YouTube and more.
The useful stuff includes –
- Trial version of Microsoft Office
- ArtRage Studio (for finger painting on touchscreen)
- PlayMemories (for managing photos & videos)
- VAIO updater
Some of the bloatware that it may include:
- Anti-theft service and hotspot assistant from Intel
- ArtWildTangent Games
- Shortcut to Ebay.com
- McAfee AntivirusVaio Apps (Sony Music, Socialife, VAIO Care, a trio of Xbox games, VAIO Movie Creator and Movie Maker Jam)
Third-party options include:
- Hulu Plus
- iHeart Radio
- Kaspersky Now
We recommend you uninstall the bloatware to deliver a better hassle-free experience.
|Intel Core i5-4200UIntel Core i7-4500U
|Windows 8Windows 8 Pro
|128 GB256 GB512 GB
|4 GB8 GB
|Ethernet Wi-Fi & VGA dongle
What customers say?
What made the customers happy?
- Exceptional design, sexy looking
- Extremely light weight is really exceptional
- Excellent display and viewing angles
- Long battery life and fast operation
- VAIO Pro 13 boots and load programs very fast, start-up is the most impressive thing
- SSD performance is good
- Decent battery life but depends on screen brightness
What made the customers unhappy?
- Expensive – considering it’s only Dual-core with only 4GB of RAM, a small SSD and the entry-level IGP
- Gaming sucks
- Problematic Wi-Fi, signals drop if not in the same room as router
- Poor webcam, could have done better
- The touchpad is hard to “click” in the bottom and top corners (basically it doesn’t depress much)
- After a couple of months usage, keys seem to imprint themselves on the screen so that (at certain angles) key marks can be seen on the display
- Lots of bloatware (useless trial software)
SONY has managed an impressive, chic Ultrabook that’s actually lighter than the MacBook Air but it does fall a little short of its competitor, the latter offering extra 128 GB storage space and better trackpad and Wi-Fi capability as compared to the VAIO Pro 13, only for a slightly higher price.
That being said, the VAIO Pro 13 nevertheless scores well on its display which is seemingly one of the best so far in its class and on other features like elegant design, easy portability, a smooth backlit keyboard and good batter life and performance making it an excellent Windows 8 alternative to the Macbook Air.
Video Review on YouTube by Trusted Reviews :
We still recommend the MacBook Air over the Pro 13, but if you are not much of a gamer and you travel extensively, you can swipe that credit card for the VAIO Pro 13. If you think otherwise let us know.