Sony VAIO T13 (mid-2012) review
When we saw the first incarnation of the Sony VAIO T13 we though it was 'a well-rounded entry-level Ultrabook, although not without its faults'. At the time it was cheap, by Ultrabook standards, but this update has gone upmarket with a new Ivy Bridge processor and an SSD.
The T13 has a relatively thin chassis built from a mixture of metal and plastic. The silver colour scheme is trademark VAIO and certainly looks the part, even if it isn’t as thin as some wedge-shaped Ultrabooks from the competition. There’s room around the edges for a reasonable collection of ports, although Sony has been fairly stringent with USB – you only get two, and only one is the faster USB3 version. HDMI and VGA video outputs, Ethernet, a multi-format card reader and single 3.5mm combination audio jack complete the limited line-up.
Internally, the Ivy Bridge Core i5-3317U has been paired with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. Running at 1.7GHz and using Turbo Boost to reach 2.6GHz in certain applications, it’s certainly no slouch, scoring 53 in our multimedia benchmarks.
Intel’s HD 4000 integrated GPU provides a welcome boot in graphics performance over Sandy Bridge, but you still shouldn’t expect miracles – it could only manage 15.8fps in our Dirt 3 test, suggesting that trying to play newer games at higher detail settings will result in a jerky slideshow.
With integrated graphics, a newer processor with reduced power consumption and an SSD with no moving parts, we were expecting the Ivy Bridge-powered T13 to outperform its Sandy Bridge sibling. Lasting nearly ten hours in our light use test is an excellent result for any Ultrabook.
The 13.3in display has a 1,366x768 resolution and uses a TN panel. Viewing angles go from fine at face-on to completely illegible very quickly. The glossy screen finish gives colours more pop than a matt panel might, but also makes light reflections an issue. Brightness is reasonable and there’s a great amount of screen tilt – we certainly didn’t have any problems working on it for hours at a time, although you won’t be blown away by its image quality.
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