Sony Vaio S Series 13P review

Sony's flagship business device ticks all the right boxes

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This year Sony streamlined its entire laptop catalogue and as a result, the Sony Vaio Series is available in three variants: The S Series 13, S Series 15 and S Series 13P with the main differences being screen size and chassis colour options.

Our review model was the Vaio S Series 13P - the P stands for premium – but once you've selected your model, you can choose from a range of options that let you customise the internal components to your own needs (or budget).

This extra freedom to shape your product is something Dell has been doing for a while, and it's a definite plus point for Sony.

If you're not interested in the components then there are standard specifications, but if you're planning to spend £1,000 on a new laptop it pays to take a bit more time and get the machine exactly the way you want it.

The beating heart of the Sony Vaio S Series 13P is the Intel Core i7-3520M CPU. It's not the fastest Ivy Bridge chip available, but it was enough to go blisteringly quickly through our benchmarking tests.

There's 8GB of RAM on board, although this too can be customised either upwards to 12GB or downwards to 6GB or 4GB. We feel 8GB is perhaps the sweet spot between price and performance.

It's doubtful you'll use the Vaio S Series 13P as a gaming machine, but the Nvidia Ge GForce card does help take some of the strain from the processor and the Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics.

Even so, the Vaio S Series 13P is much more suited to using professional editing or creative software than busting out a few frags on Battlefield with the detail settings cranked up.

Sony Vaio S Series 13P review

Unfortunately, the 13.3-inch screen on the Vaio S Series 13P doesn't boast a Full HD display, relying instead on a 1,600 x 900 pixel resolution.

What's more, the lack of a Super-TFT reflective coating further hampers this as a movie/gaming machine.

The matte screen is obviously better suited to professionals looking to work in offices or other brightly-lit environments.

What is good to see is that the screen is reassuringly bright and colours look sharp even without the added depth of shading that you get from a reflective screen.

Sony has made the most out of the available real estate on the Vaio S Series 13P's chassis.

To the right is a slot-loading Blu-ray drive, which can be upgraded to a Blu-ray writer if you fancy burning your own high-definition content. Also on the right are two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and VGA connections for external monitors or TVs and a Gigabit Ethernet port for wired internet access.

There's also the Thunderbolt connection, popularised by the new Macbook Pro but still relatively in its infancy when it comes to peripherals.

You also have an SD Card slot alongside a MagicGate Pro Duo port for Sony's own proprietary memory cards.

Rounding out the specifications is the fingerprint scanner tucked next to the standard Sony hotkeys at the top of the chassis.