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back to article Sony Vaio T13 Ultrabook review

It’s only natural that manufacturers want to show off their biggest (or in this case, smallest) and best but Sony has spotted the flaw in this plan. By thrusting their fabulously lean but powerful sexy bits in your face all the time, Ultrabooks have gained a reputation for being the Page 3 girls of computing: naughty, vigorous …

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FAIL

1366 x 768????

Fuggedaboutit!

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Unhappy

Re: 1366 x 768????

Exactly.

I keep coming to the reviews in the hope that one soon will have a decent resolution. :(

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Re: 1366 x 768????

and glossy too. FFS

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Re: 1366 x 768????

There is a Vaio Z that has 1920 x 1080... but it will cost you. It also has an optional external media dock containing an AMD Radeon to power another three displays.

Just search Vaio Z, go to the Sony UK link, and configure.

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Re: 1366 x 768????

There's a similarly sized Asus Zenbook Prime with 1080p resolution, but it's £1500 in the UK. Ouch.

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Re: 1366 x 768???? Vaio Z

There is, but at 1600 euros for a reasonable model (ie i7, 256GB and Full HD) and 400+ for the Power Media Dock I don't think that it is in the same category as this ultrabook.

Plus of course the Z is a real DTR (I can play CS: GO at full HD with most of the options turned up).

The Z is a wonderful machine (personally I think it's the best laptop at the moment) but if you are thinking of spending 700 pounds it's not going to be on your radar.

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Useful things missing

How noisy is the fan?

What are the speakers like?

Does it cook your lap?

Can you replace the hard disk yourself? (Seeing as you can get a 256GB SSD for little over £100 now, the logical thing is to buy the cheaper spinning disk version and replace it.)

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Re: Useful things missing

Not very

Tinny

No

I don't think so. You've caught me out there: I ought to have tried. Sorry.

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Re: Useful things missing

Thanks Alistair.

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Re: Useful things missing

not very noisy, but the frequency is kinda high and unpleasant.

They have no bass, of course, and at max volume they distort slightly, but at 80%, they are clear and voices are easy to understand.

it stays very cool, one of the better units to take if you're traveling to countries with hot climate

The hard drive is very easy to replace, it takes one with max 7.5 mm height. Its equally as easy to add 4GB of ram in the single free slot. The hard drive is not a 'hybrid drive' its a separate Samsung 32 GB SSD and a normal HDD. Like with Asus, it may be possible to hack the system to use the SSD directly, but from the Factory, its used as a Cache only and has no drive letter.

Finally: to correct some wrong info from the review: "The 13.3in screen is small but, at WXGA resolution, perfectly usable and clear. Viewing angles are wider than I have experienced on other ultrabooks"

I don't know what Ultrabooks this guy has tested, but while the horizontal viewing angles on this are ok, the vertical viewing angles are so bad, that the top and bottom already shift colors from what they look like in the center. And that's not all. Black value, contrast is poor, the whole screen looks washed out. To make it worse, the screen is reflective (consumer model) and dark, less than 200 cd/m2, so outdoors, you can forget about seeing anything. Don't take my word for it, you can find reviews that actually do proper screen measurements.

But this review's statements on the display are as wrong as they come... In other respects, I'd let it stand as the usual bish-bash-bosh reviews you get on The Reg. Its a pretty good Ultrabook, except the display being even worse than Acer's S3 / M3 / M5. And those displays are already stinkers...

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Re: Useful things missing

"You can forget about seeing anything"

Oh right.

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Jeez, that looks ugly and why bother even making it with that resolution.

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FAIL

No backlit keyboard

Only 2 USB ports

Stupidly priced SSD upgrades

1366x768?

Sony never learn when it comes to laptops. Too expensive for not enough features.

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Anonymous Coward

That's why Apple is more pricey, 1440x900 screen.

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Anonymous Coward

My olde MBP (2010) has 1680 x 1050 - the only mistake I made was option for a glossy screen. Never again..

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Anonymous Coward

@Olde MBP

2010 and only 1680*1050, wow I gave that resultion up on anything bigger than an 11" screen in 2006! I also imagine that a MBP is going to be a tad more than 700...

Anon as you are :)

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"stupidly priced SSD upgrades"

Indeed. Don't single out Sony though, most of them try to take twice the open market price for their SSD upgrades.

At least Sony is fair when it comes to RAM upgrades. Both are extremely easy to upgrade yourself, it takes 3 screws only to get to both Drive and RAM.

While the display is sad not only in resolution but more so in quality, you have to remember that this is the cheapest Intel certified "Ultrabook". It would be on my short list, if they offered a better display as an option for another 100 bucks. But I think they're not doing it, cause they don't want this to intrude on sales for the S13A and the Z series. The S13A is the single most feature rich 13" notebook on the market, which weights hardly any more than this one at 1.64 Kg. Its got a GT 640M GPU, an optical drive (can be used for extra HDD instead), a 3G/UMTS module, a much better quality display that also sports 1600x900 res. and backlit keyboard. I think they did away with the fingerprint reader for the 2012 model though, which is too bad...

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FAIL

"After all the scare stories about hugely expensive ultrabooks, it’s good to see a premium-brand, latest-tech model set at a mid-range price.

Suggested Price: £779"

For shizzle?

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The best thing about this is that everyone else's will be cheaper.

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Anonymous Coward

ITT

reztards. reztards everywhere.

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Missing keys

No PgUp/PgDn or Home/End keys, and therefore not useful for people doing real work. At least it has a Del key, unlike the MacBooks.

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Re: Missing keys

Hold down the Fn key and you get all these functions. Come on, everyone, you know this.

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Re: Missing keys

Yes, but I don't think that's the point. The extra keystroke slows you down, especially when zipping around in editors. My cheapo Acer Aspire One has real page up and down keys in the spaces around the cursor up key. My HP Pavilion DM1 and this Sony don't, although at least the Sony looks like they weren't intended - on the DM1 it almost looks as if they've been replaced with blanking plates like Wallace's Techno-Trousers - "What have you done with the controls, Gromit?" It does slow you down and cause confusion when you also use a desktop keyboard, especially when you're having to use other modifiers (ctrl/shift/alt). Style over substance - but then that's the forte of an ultrabook I suppose!

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Anonymous Coward

FAIL

For what is basically a budget laptop, with an SSD in drag. = Still over priced.

Poor reporting, after the one last week, you'd have thought someone would be paying attention, but no!

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Stop

Re: FAIL

Indeed.

Also the report says WXGA but it isnt.

C'mon Register stop reviewing this kind of crap. You are not doing anyone any favours here.

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Re: FAIL

Yes it is WXGA. WXGA represents several (five?) generally similar widescreen resolutions between 1280x720 to 1366x768.

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Re: FAIL

Hmmm I thought WXGA applied to only 1280x res.

There we go.

At least we know you've seen the comments.

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Megaphone

The Register failed to review this Sony notebook properly

Remember to always check the CPU's virtualization bit (VT/vmx) when dealing with Sony tech. Sony are well known (VAIO UX, TZ, Z Series) to have the VT/vmx bit disabled by their BIOS and leaving no way to turn it back on.

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Re: The Register failed to review this Sony notebook properly

If you need or want to run virtual machines it's a very good point. I have just brought a Vaio Z and according to CPU-Z it is enabled - but I don;'t know if it is reporting if it's enabled, or just if the CPU supports it...

I do remember being annoyed that my TZ21 wouldn't! (as it is not something I need anymore I didn't bother worrying about it this time)

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The Register failed to review this Sony notebook properly

Does it have TPM too - got my fingers burned on getting a sony to find it didn't support that

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Re: The Register failed to review this Sony notebook properly

The Z or the Ultrabook? The Z does (according to the Device Manager - I haven't used it)

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FAIL

Double fail ...

1366x768 *and* made by Sony.

Looks like the Ultrabook market is trying to strangle itself at birth rather than let Microsoft and Intel beat it to death like they did with netbooks.

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Noted. Will check for this in future. Thanks, Ramazan.

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FAIL

This is not an ultra book

This thing is a laptop, plain and simple. My MacBook Air laughs at these fat pretenders.

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cd

Re: This is not an ultra book

But is is shiny!

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Re: This is not an ultra book

Your MacBook Air? You mean your poor man's Vaio Z?

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Oversized netbook

IMHO anything with Intel graphics integrated should be called an oversized/fast cpu netbook since they can't run decent games.

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Anonymous Coward

Widely differing PCMark 7 results?

"The Vaio T13’s result in the PCMark 7 benchmark confirms what we should expect from an entry-level Ivy Bridge processor: it beats just about every pre-Ivy Bridge Ultrabook Register Hardware has tested to date, although the HP Spectre XT reviewed recently, puts in a surprisingly high score from the same chippery."

Anyone know why there's such a vast difference between the benchmark scores? I noticed the same was said in the recent MacBook Air review when it was compared against the Intel Ivy Bridge Whitebook.

It makes comparisons between machines with similar spec quite difficult, unless you have the raw test results.

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Anonymous Coward

USB Ports

"I really don’t see the point of the T13 being fitted with one USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0 port. Why not both USB 3.0?"

Um, maybe because having 2 USN 3 devices plugged in will kill the battery in no time? Just a thought. And it plugged into power it may put too much drain on the transformer (not sure what it's rated at). In reality, I would think most people (ie target audience) would not need 2 USB 3 devices plugged in simultaneously.

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Facepalm

VGA?

How about a serial and parallel port while you're at it...?

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Re: VGA?

Or one of those never used S-video ports?

VGA ports are handy however for road warriors that have to hook up to often ancient boardroom projectors.

One of those annoying legacy hangovers.

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Re: VGA?

No, I would have no use for a serial port or a parallel port. I would find plenty of use for a VGA port.

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Anonymous Coward

USB 2.0

Some of us still boot into Hirens and other such CDs from our USB devices... Ever tried it from a USB 3.0 port?

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FAIL

Another one bites the dust.

Or at least it will with that screen res.

I don't understand why we are still seeing 'ultrabooks' with this screen size. It simply doesn't fit the target market, and is wasting good development money.

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Re: Another one bites the dust.

Also don't hate me for saying but one really deserves basic touch functionality (not multi etc) if win8 is months away.

I am not very interested in touch on laptop but vendors are really playing a very cheap game and it will be costly to them.

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Go

USB 2.0

Because, like with the VGA port, Sony realise there is still a huge number of devices on the market that go horribly wrong when plugged into a USB 3 port. And in a scenario unique to Sony's laptops, the reverse is true too (I'm looking at you, Fiio E17).

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Test a game demo?

If this thing is called "ultra" book and bought instead of a tablet, it should run a current 3d game fine.

Not? Why? Integrated Intel junk graphics?

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MJI
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Same price as full featured laptop

From same manufacturer

with 17" 1920x1080

BD writer

2 core CPU

lots of RAM

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