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Posted by on Sep 7, 2012 in Featured, Reviews |

Sony VAIO Series T13

Sony VAIO Series T13

Photographs: Mariano Mancilla .

We’ve talked before the second generation ultrabooks , those who neglect philosophy of “release all the grilled meat” and instead make some concessions in terms of hardware and design to achieve a sale price lower than the $1,000 with these products went on sale in the first instance, which in Spanish-speaking countries led to more than $1,600.

Now we are facing Sony’s bet for this category, which being the first manufacturing, immediately adapts the model to reduce costs, but without skimping in terms of external design, delivering a firm structure with internal Intel platform Core of the third and last generation, but without a solid state drive (SSD) for high capacity mass storage support in a hybrid hard drive with a small piece of SSD.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this ultrabook? How is positioned against the competition? We will see below.

Specs

  • Model: T13 SVT13115FL.
  • Availability and price: Latin America, CLP $600,000 (Chile)-approximate USD $1,150.
  • Central processor (CPU): Intel dual core running at 1.7 GHz to 2.6 GHz scalable basis when required. Able to process four simultaneous threads (HyperThreading). 3MB cache, 17W TDP, part of the third-and last-generation Intel Core processors Ivy Bridge, made under a 22nm process.
  • Graphics (GPU): Integrated Intel HD 4000. They run at 350MHz 1.050MHz scalable database load.
  • RAM: 4GB DDR3 1333MHz, expandable to 8GB.
  • Storage: 320GB hard drive spinning at 5400rpm, plus a small solid state drive (SSD) 32GB for caching frequently used data.
  • Display: 13.3-inch, LED backlight, resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels.
  • Connectivity: Memory card slot Memory Stick Duo and 4 USB 3.0, USB 2.0, mini HDMI and D-sub. Ethernet, Bluetooth.
  • Battery promises up to seven hours of battery life.
  • Dimensions & Weight: 1.7cm thick, 32cm wide and 22.6cm deep. 1.6 kg of weight.
  • Other: webcam 1.3Mpx.
  • Software: Remote Keyboard, Remote Play with PlayStation 3, VAIO Gate, Adobe Reader, gesture control, Magic-i Visual Effects, Media Gallery, Media Go, PlayMemories Home, Webcam Companion, Office 2010 (trial version), subscription of 30 days Kaspersky Internet Security 2012.

Design and Display

Sony VAIO Series T13 image 2

As we said, this is a ultrabook that despite being second generation, goes a bit against the current to insist on a good quality external design, through the use of resistant materials and visually attractive. And is that the bottom cover is one piece that extends to the sides of the team, which adds a second upper structure that together, packaged whole notebook, including keyboard and trackpad, which does not need to sit on another cover . So, to be all part of the same body, it gives a great feeling of strength and steadfastness, being almost impossible to bend or crunching the team, even when they hold only from the tips or ends.

In terms of thinness, ultrabook platform gives the possibility to achieve convenient 1.7cm thick, which anyway are average for this type of equipment, so there is nothing to be surprised in that sense, as with weight: 1.6Kg already repeated offers from other companies.

Sony VAIO Series T13 image 3

Yes, it’s nice external appearance, and although we know that this is subjective, do not cease to draw attention to certain details that give a hallmark of this team, with sharp angles and an overall look that evokes an own design line Sony VAIO series, in a sober but elegant packaging, with fringe and a rear surface of the display made of polished aluminum.

Sony VAIO Series T13 image 4

About the screen resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels it has become an industry standard, and when evaluating brightness and contrast, we see that although we do not fall short in terms of brightness, yes there is some loss of color , with a trend toward whites that affects the contrast and definition of basic colors.

Sony VAIO Series T13 image 5

We also see that when moving in a vertical line, color distortion is large and can achieve short angles of visibility. Instead, moving in horizontal (sideways) the loss is low and managed to see well from different positions: ideal for when you are looking at pictures or videos with a companion.

Keyboard and trackpad

Sony VAIO Series T13 image 6

At first glance, keyboard and trackpad are visually attractive due to its simplicity, however, the user experience leaves with little taste. And is that the keyboard, despite being very firm and sufficiently spaced apart keys, has little height and travel distance when you press a button, making it somewhat uncomfortable from the start and takes getting used to. In other words, the keys are too sunken and sometimes seems to be playing a touch surface, disappearing naturally as I write.

We also weighs no backlight, key to some users and whose functionality is worth repeating, but we understand his absence as this team tries to deliver a robust design for a price not as excessive as the first generation ultrabooks, which until far have been, but having to sacrifice light elements like keys.

Sony VAIO Series T13 image 7

The trackpad is not the best: space to be handled is small compared to other solutions, and may have been intended more surface for that, because you can see around the edges wide to manage small rectangle that supports multi-touch gestures, the are already standard in the vast majority of teams: two-finger scrolling, pinch to zoom, etc..

Sony VAIO Series T13 image 8

There is a lot of dedication on the part of Sony in the choice of material for the trackpad: it seems the same plastic used in the rest of the inner shell of the same texture and feel, that while it is soft, does not seem to be made for this function, which is to move the fingers on it regularly and consistently. It becomes uncomfortable for people with wet hands, and the rest also causes problems by not having too much precision in the instructions, which in the long term, we are invited to buy an external mouse to manage this function.

Software and user experience

Sony VAIO Series T13 image 9

A common mistake in Sony VAIO notebook line is too include software pre-installed at the factory, which often do not use but slows the operation of our team, adding many processes in the operating system load by penalizing the overall performance.

That is why despite the inclusion of a cache based on a not so small solid state drive (SSD) 32GB, the laptop fails to start in times that are on the average for the rest of ultrabooks, scoring 20 or 30 seconds. This VAIO turns in 1 minute, off for 22 seconds. And that we try des install some things and clean windows registry partially, but still to no avail.

Sony VAIO Series T13 image 10

The good thing is that little heated, and even under extreme circumstances demand, the cooling system responds well, expelling air from the left side and through slots in the base of the computer, what can become troublesome if used is supported on legs.

Performance

Another ultrabook more to our list, this VAIO internal platform sharing only with Lenovo U310 , another second-generation laptop. Before this pair hit the market at much higher prices models Lenovo U300s , HP Folio 13 , Toshiba Portege Z835 and Samsung 530U (Series 5 Ultra) , while on the other hand also premiered the “almost” Ultrabook HP ENVY 14 Spectre and Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG , showing screen sizes over 13 inches.

Here we do not have to wait at all surprising: the jump in performance that delivers the Intel Core i5-3317U dual core, which comes with 2.6 GHz when under load, despite being third and last generation does not change too much the everyday experience, while the Intel graphics do little for intensive 3D applications.

We shall first benchmark or synthetic test suite performs Windows 7 with its integrated tool from factory, which delivers a maximum 7.9 score for each main component of the system, being the main figure given by the lowest number obtained:

Sony VAIO Series T13 image 11

In general it shows fairly balanced platform, but half way down. Recall that we are facing a low voltage processor, and therefore discrete performance, while the spinning hard drive and graphics, also help raise the numbers.

Anyway, we are facing a machine designed not to squeeze, but to perform everyday tasks and maintain a decent battery life, with the initial premise that when manufacturers armen ultrabooks. Sure, sometimes says Intel HD 4000 is for intensive 3D applications, or promises super-fast storage with a 32GB ssd just to cache more hard drive, however, the great benefits on paper does not translate into practice. Not that we need much either, because if you want a laptop for something specific other than office work and surf the Internet, we should definitely not be watching a ultrabook.

There is one thing we can demand that these teams: balance. We know they are not good for one thing or another, but for the everyday and general so PCMark 7 will be the perfect benchmark for measuring the performance of the platform working in unison, showing a balance result of reproduction and video coding high quality, web browsing and processing power when editing images:

Futuremark PCMark7 Playback video coding (Frames per second) Processing web pages (pages per second) Image manipulation (Mpx by seconds) General
Lenovo U300s 1.23 8.19 6.39 3117
Sony VAIO Series E14P 23.04 12.44 9.14 2287
Lenovo U310 23.04 3.10 8.24 3451
M6-1076la HP Pavilion 22.97 10.88 11.47 2005
HP Folio 13 1.23 8.32 6.5 3170
Samsung Series 7 Gamer 23.04 14.99 9.51 3456
Sony VAIO Series T13
22.97 10.21 8.51 2376

We see very consistent numbers at Lenovo U310 , and was not, if both teams are almost equal in their internal components. The overall score drops dramatically when compared to a team that has solid state drive (SSD) completely, as the Folio 13 HP or Lenovo U300s , which although initially went for a selling price higher than this Sony VAIO, nowadays are almost exactly the same value.

Let us now review how the central processor walks alone through the application Cinebench R10, which measures performance in rendering or post-processing using a single CPU core (SingleCPU) and together (Single CPU) slightly demanding graphics in OpenGL paragraph:

Same category (Ultrabooks):

Cinebench R10
Single CPU
Multi CPU
OpenGL
Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG 3352 7000 4449
Toshiba portege Z835
3611 7190 4620
Samsung 530U (Series 5 Ultra) 3513 6195 3743
HP ENVY 14 Spectre 3622 7211 4677
Lenovo U300s 3544 7137 3724
Lenovo U310 4378 9085 4049
HP Folio 13 3626 7294 4481
Sony VAIO Series T13
4391 9168 4094

Other categories:

Cinebench R10
Single CPU
Multi CPU
OpenGL
Alienware M11x 1643 2979 2886
SONY VAIO 3D VPCF215FL 4529 17121 3859
Sony VAIO VPCCA17FL 4621 9768 4793
Sony VAIO Z 4573 9819 2058
Samsung R480 2362 5494 2924
Samsung R580 2795 6268 3350
Samsung Series 7 Chronos 4688 14070 5607
HP Pavilion dm1z 1149 2210 1937
HP Pavilion dm4 3081 6852 2036
HP Pavilion DV6-6185LA 4582 16983 5490
Sony VAIO Series E14P 4910 10376 6980
Samsung Series 7 Gamer 4810 18051 8643

Not coincidentally, the Lenovo U310 and the Sony VAIO Series T13 have better CPU performance, with fairly stable numbers denoting a significant improvement in terms of central processing. But for some lines ago said that the performance of this generation Intel core processors was understated by low voltage, adjective also apply to the entire platform in general.

Are we contradicting ourselves? Tranquility, because while we see an improvement in the second generation of respect to the first, the jump in overall scores is null or nonexistent. In addition, regular notebooks multitasking work (in the second table) will take advantage of this poor 17W Intel Core i5. And 3D graphics processing tasks, like games, is another matter …

The 3DMark tell us how to render the Intel HD 4000 graphics:

Same category (Ultrabooks):

Futuremark 3DMark 2006
SM 2.0
SM 3.0
CPU
TOTAL
Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG 4800 5267 2440 10854
Toshiba Portege Z835 1422 1690 2440 4114
Samsung 530U 1170 1461 1931 3454
HP ENVY 14 Spectre 1187 1468 2000 3498
Lenovo U300s 1186 1408 2412 3484
Lenovo U310 1196 1634 2958 3838
HP Folio 13 1195 1414 2023 3444
Sony VAIO Series T13 1780 2345 2959 5403

Other categories:

Futuremark 3DMark 2006
SM 2.0
SM 3.0
CPU
TOTAL
SONY VAIO 3D VPCF215FL 2462 3063 3231 7060
Sony VAIO VPCCA17FL 2473 3074 3129 7054
Sony VAIO Z 1598 1975 3199 4761
Samsung R480 3183 3167 2216 7547
Samsung R580 3178 3273 2498 7726
Samsung Series 7 Chronos 2978 3266 3454 7946
HP Pavilion dm4 655 856 2763 2120
HP Pavilion DV6-6185LA 4063 5341 5048 11877
Sony VAIO Series E14P 2030 2512 3405 5976
M6-1076la HP Pavilion 2851 3418 2815 7692
Samsung Series 7 Gamer 7559 8195 5451 18461

This time we started the VAIO, improving scores in relation to their siblings as far as graphics are concerned, probably because the video drivers from Intel are more updated than on previous occasions. But again the same applies: we have up, true, but only numbers within a table, and despite the optimism they generate, are not high enough to make demanding 3D games run well. Proof of that is the comparison with the Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG , laptop with NVIDIA GPU in 3DMark 06 doubling this VAIO, it really is appreciated when launching a 3D app.

We conclude with the performance of the 320GB hard drive in this ultrabook, something that will reflect the CrystalDiskMark test 3:

Sony VAIO Series T13 image 12

The average notebook hard drive for no more and no less, with readings and writing 73MB/seg same. Spinning at 5400rpm, is not much we can expect, so that Sony, like all other manufacturers of second generation ultrabooks, decided input hybrid storage units, those that make up a traditional hard drive along with a small portion of solid state drive (SSD) to cache frequently used data, such as operating system, which should accelerate its load.

But something happens to these solutions do not work quite right: SSD speed is promised and never reached, and do not say by CrystalDiskMark 3, which tested only the hard disk, but boot times, which on all laptops with hybrid storage we tested round the minute, while teams not spend 100% SSD 20 seconds. There is work to do there.

Games

Sony VAIO Series T13 image 13

The 3DMark 06 we saw earlier revealed a small increase in performance on Intel HD 4000 graphics over other Intel integrated graphics, something that probably came through drivers (drivers) optimized. We will then see in real life if those changes are applied in practice.

The first will run a popular title like Starcraft II in his five standard configurations for graphics quality: Low, Medium, High, and Extreme Ultra. We measure the FPS (frames or frames per second) we get on average and its highest and lowest, ie, when the game is less demanding and few display items as well as when it is higher. This occurs during an epic battle where you get the lowest number of FPS, 30 FPS is considering a number that allows fluid gameplay, no less than that:


Low Intermediate High Ultra End
Average FPS 78 33 25 16 16
Minimum FPS 15 13 10 8 8
Maximum FPS 149 62 44 29 28

At lower settings, the game runs fine for casual users: Yanks 15 frames per second will not please those who are experienced in Starcraft II, however, this happens only in cases where there are too many units on screen, keeping a very good average for most of the experience.

Far Cry 2 is another 3D game title is not more demanding market, and not a headache for almost any modern hardware configuration. We’ll run your benchmark tool to 1280 X 720, DirectX 10 with filter on Anti-Aliasing (4x) and optimal overall quality:


Average FPS Maximum FPS Minimum FPS
Lenovo U310 11 17 8
M6-1076la HP Pavilion 32 51 23
HP Folio 13 11 16 7
Samsung Series 7 Gamer 100 142 75
Sony VAIO Series T13 16 26 11

Sony VAIO Series T13 image 14

Again reflecting the small improvement over other ultrabooks, but not enough to play Far Cry 2 decently, because average 16fps screen look very, very bad.

Sure, the numbers are optimistic when we have 30% increases in Intel HD 4000 graphics over the HD 3000, but apparently the last generation was so impoverished that, in practice, has not yet reached a level of stable gameplay and allowing run titles are not so demanding, because Far Cry Starcraft II and 2 fall below the mean demand in the industry.

Battery and charger

Sony VAIO Series T13 image 15

One important aspect to consider is the one ultrabook battery. Because along with thinness, these teams also promise big energy independence, in a portable machine to take abroad without relying on an outlet, and this, in general the product performs well.

To test this, we gave start to our ‘YouTube Test “where we started on Google Chrome a video on YouTube, the longest I could find , to 240p in the small player, using the Windows power profile in ” Balanced “and the screen brightness to 3/4 of its maximum capacity. Compare against some ultrabooks:

Test of YouTube
Time
Lenovo U300s 4:45
Lenovo U310 3:56
HP Folio 13 5:10
Sony VAIO Series T13 4:38

Working time is the average amount of equipment, which should reach for a half day of intense work without depending on the charger, which incidentally, is not as small as others we’ve seen extremely low, however maintains discrete dimensions that do annoying to wear on a daily basis.

Conclusion

Sony VAIO Series T13 image 16

We ran into a team that input is priced more discreet than the first batch of ultrabooks we saw in the market, a second generation design makes concessions and internal storage to reduce cost. But in this series VAIO T13 that is barely noticeable: the construction is impeccable, elegant and very firm, with great choice of materials.

In return we were a little short, and is the platform for ultrabooks Intel also allows for more, with a clear focus on maintaining battery life instead of offering performance, for example, graph, where the Intel integrated falls as always. Not a good decision to buy an ultrabook 3D games, of course, and this we must add that the hybrid storage solution is wrong and boot times are slow, where excess software pre-installed in the factory also penalizes field.

Despite this, almost all of the ultrabooks promise is fulfilled in this product, and not having an exaggerated value as other models seen a couple of months ago, stands as one of the best alternatives for this category in this range price.

What Imperdible

  • Attractive design.
  • Firmness in construction and good choice of materials.
  • Good overall performance for a lower entry price than the rest.

The unpresentable

  • Keyboard and trackpad weak.
  • Excess software pre-installed at the factory.
  • Internal storage that does not respond quickly.
  • No backlit keyboard.
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