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Sony Vaio F13M0E review

Barry de la Rosa
5 Dec 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,199
inc VAT

A smart laptop with great connectivity, 2D and 3D performance, but is let down by its small, dull display

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Specifications

16.4 in 1,600x900 display, 3.1kg, 1.73GHz Intel Core i7-740QM, 4.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

As a desktop replacement laptop, Sony's new Vaio F13M0E ticks most boxes: a fast Intel Core i7 740QM processor, a dedicated Nvidia graphics card and a Blu-ray drive. It also has a broad array of expansion ports, and is one of the few laptops to support the new, faster USB3 standard. It's strange then that, like many other laptops here, it doesn't have a Full HD display as you'd expect to get with a desktop PC.

It's fair to say you'll always expect compromises if you buy a laptop rather than a desktop PC, but there's no reason why the display should be one of them. Not only is the display smaller than we'd like - especially at this price - but in our side-by-side tests, the backlight proved to be dull and uneven, with noticeable dark patches along the bottom edge. There's a slight blue cast that dulls flesh tones too, but the lack of contrast and weak colours caused by the dim backlight were our main concerns.

Sony F13M

This is a shame, as the rest of the laptop is great. In our Windows benchmarks, the F13M0E scored an impressive 103 and was only beaten by HP's even more expensive 8440p. The Core i7's four cores, effectively doubled to eight by Hyper-Threading, mean you won't notice a slow-down with multiple applications running, and 4GB of RAM is plenty for working with large files.

A dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT 425M graphics card means you can play games, albeit with some compromises in quality. It scored 32fps in our Call of Duty 4 benchmark, but at the screen's native resolution of 1,600x900 you'd have to turn off anti-aliasing to get a smooth frame rate. It will also speed up CUDA-enabled applications, making certain operations much smoother.

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