Sony Vaio T Series 13 review

Sony's Ultrabook debut is light on heavy tech but also light on price

Sony Vaio T13 Ultrabook review
The Sony Vaio T13 Ultrabook is slick in design and quick in use

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The lack of an i5 or i7 processor, and the fact that we're dealing with a low-end Sandy Bridge processor, means that the Sony Vaio T13 is slightly underwhelming when it comes to performance. High-end gaming is a definite no and high-quality media editing isn't advised. Overall, it scored below average in benchmark tests compared to the rest of the Ultrabook posse, and these scores are reflected when it comes to everyday usage.

However, that's not to say that the Sony Vaio T13 is a sluggish affair. Far from it. It breezed through HD video playback (from a variety of codecs) with no bother, played photo slideshows with ease, and carried out everyday tasks such as document editing, file management and keeping up to date with your social media networks with no trouble at all - even with multiple programs opened at one time.

This being a Vaio laptop, there's a plethora of Sony bloatware pre-installed, although it's not all bad. We are fans of Vaio Gesture Control, for example - a Kinect-like motion detecting system that enables a Minority Report-style hands-off control experience.

Sony Vaio T13 Ultrabook review

It takes a while to set up and get used to, and is probably more gimmicky than useful, but we're were impressed nonetheless.

You are more than likely going to want to spend a bit of time uninstalling some of the other handy programs that Sony has chosen for your machine. The Vaio Gate toolbar is a bit annoying (although easily switched off) and the sooner you rid the Sony Vaio T13 of the constantly crashing Vaio Media Plus, the better.

Back to the build and a nice design touch is the lipped-hinge system that raises the angle of the keyboard when the display is tilted backwards. It's obviously down to personal habit, but the prime screen position also seemed to coincide with the perfect keyboard angle for us.

Sony Vaio T13 Ultrabook review

As per the recent Vaio trend, there are three physical buttons above the F keys: Assist, Web and Vaio, which are all pre-set as shortcuts to Sony's chosen destinations. You can, however, point these whatever way you choose by tweaking the settings.

The keyboard has got a bit of the MacBook flavour about it - with a black isolated arrangement. Sadly, there's no backlighting for the keys though, and the response isn't quite as soft as Apple's slimline stunner. Key depth is shallow and taps are pretty loud compared to some of the Sony Vaio T13's rival Ultrabooks.

The trackpad is a solitary affair, orphaned by a lack of physical buttons. However, this integrated affair seems pretty natural after a short play, and there are some nice multi-touch features including a four-finger swipe to switch between open programs and a Mac OS X-like two finger scrolling option, which comes in handy when reading long articles on the web.


Cinebench: 4,396
3DMark: 3,059
Battery Eater: 212 minutes