While other notebook manufacturers have been releasing ultrabooks left and right, Japanese manufacturer Sony has strangely been quiet until the announcement of their VAIO T series last May. Since then, many tech pundits have wondered the eventual price point of their ultrabook entry, fearing high prices that’s been the hallmark of VAIO notebooks ever since they were introduced. We’ve managed to grab a VAIO T13 for review, and we’re pleasantly surprised at the value proposition of the new series.
Sony doesn’t like us calling their VAIO T series ultrabooks, but let’s not kid ourselves here: this notebook bears all the characteristics of an ultrabook – a chassis that’s only 17.8mm thin, latest generation (Ivy Bridge) Core i5 processor, overall weight of only 1.6 kilos and a hybrid SSD drive. The notebook is clad in a silver plastic body, with a brushed aluminum design that gives it that extra visual flair. And while its competitors try to outdo each other in flowing, smooth curved lines in terms of design, the T13 has taken the cornered, boxy route when it comes to overall aesthetic. Build quality is excellent, which is no surprise – this is a Sony, after all.
The body has all the usual ports you need, and then some – 2 USB ports (one being USB 3.0), SD card reader, full-sized HDMI port, Ethernet and a D-Sub port.
The T13 uses island style keys that are decently sized, which is complimented by a clickpad that doesn’t have physical seperators. One of the things we noticed with the keyboard itself is that the seperation between keys are a bit too wide, which means that the less adept typers out there will misspell a word or two until they get used to it. Another issue we had with the keyboard was the shallow travel which is a usual problem with ultrabooks. We also noticed that the T13 doesn’t have a backlit keyboard, which is a bit disappointing.
The display is a 13.3 inch wide (WXGA 1366 x 768) TFT color display that does a good job, but doesn’t deliver pictures quite as rich as some ultrabooks currently out in the market. It’s also bit prone to glare in some lighting situations, and doesn’t have wide viewing angles – drift a bit off center and the display becomes washed out.
Internally, the T13 packs an Intel Core i5 3317u processor, pumping about 1.7GHz of processing speed. That’s paired with 4GB of DDR3 memory, onboard Intel HD Graphics 4000 and a 500GB HDD paired with a 32GB SSD drive for faster boot-up times. Sony has also helpfully added their own software enhancements into the machine, VAIO Gate, to help you access programs faster and easier.
Sony promised a wake up time of around 2 seconds from sleep, and the T13 delivered. Boot times from cold boot were significantly higher (about 19 seconds) but it’s definitely faster than what traditional notebooks can deliver.
Overall performance for the T13 was excellent, and the notebook rarely, if ever, hanged while in use. While it’s integrated graphics won’t be setting performance records anytime soon, it’s still suitable for light to moderate graphical number crunching, and can run most mainstream games without issues.
Battery-wise, you’re looking at about 5 hours and 30 minutes give or take, which is pretty good for an ultrabook of this size and weight. That’s more than enough to get most users through the day.
One of the things we really disliked about the T13 is the clickpad itself. In our experience, pads that don’t have physical seperators are a pain to use, and the clickpad that ships with the T13 is no exception. Specifically the rightmost corner of the clickpad for the right mouse button which sometimes refuses to register our frantic clicks.
Overall, the T13 is a great little ultrabook that does the job well. The notebook currently has a list price of Php 49,999, which isn’t that bad, considering that this ultrabook comes from a company that prides itself in building hi-quality electronic products.
Fast boot up
Long battery life
Shallow keyboard travel
The Sony VAIO T13 isn’t the cheapest ultrabook out in the market right now, but it gives users plenty of value for money. The fact that it’s made by Sony means that you’ll be getting your money’s worth as far as build quality and durability is concerned.
- Screen Size: 13.3 inch wide (WXGA 1366 x 768) TFT color display
- Memory: 4GB DDR3
- CPU and chipset: Intel Core i5 (Ivy Bridge) 3317u processor, 1.7GHz
- Physical Dimensions: 323.0 x 17.8 x 226.0 mm
- Warranty: 1 year warranty on parts and labor