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Sony VAIO VPC-F12M0E/B review

A stunningly high-powered Blu-ray media centre, ideal for both work and play

The Full HD screen makes a great companion to the Blu-ray drive, allowing you to watch Full HD movies in their native resolution


  • Awesome performance
  • Blu-ray drive
  • Full HD screen
  • Build quality


  • Mobility

Sony's VAIO laptops are among the world's best known portables and offer the latest technology to consumers at affordable prices. The VAIO VPCF12M0E/B is a stunning big screen Blu-ray media centre and provides staggering quad-core performance.

Powered by a powerful Intel Core i7 740M processor, we expected cutting-edge power, but initial results from MobileMark benchmark tests proved underwhelming. It was only after extensive supplementary testing that the full power of this CPU was revealed.

Vastly outperforming the Apple MacBook Pro and HP Elitebook 8440p – two stunning powerhouses in their own right – this is one of the fastest laptops you can buy. Complex multi-tasking is made easy and even the most demanding software runs with ease, making this a great choice for busy students.

Graphics are similarly exceptional, with the dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT 330M GPU. The latest games and high-definition (HD) video run smoothly and quickly, so whether you want to use your laptop for work or play, you'll be fully catered for with the VAIO.

Adding to such capable multimedia potential is the stunning 16.4-inch screen. Featuring a Full HD resolution, HD video can run in all its glory for the sharpest image possible. Colour and contrast are equally striking, offering vibrant images that leap from the screen.

Blu-ray entertainment

With such powerful performance and vibrant images, it's no surprise to see a Blu-ray drive included as standard. You can watch the latest high-definition movies with vastly better image quality than standard DVDs.

It's to Sony's credit that this is also a great machine to work with. The keyboard is among the best we have used and consistently comfortable to use, so you'll never find it a chore to use when studying.

Sony build

Build quality is also excellent, with the chassis feeling strong and more than tough enough for the years ahead.

At 3.1kg, basic mobility is provided, but this is a machine better suited to use at home than on the move, although 207 minutes of battery power is on offer when needed. Rounding out this excellent machine is Microsoft Office Starter 2010 software.

Providing cut-down versions of Microsoft's market-leading word processing and spreadsheet tools, you'll have all you need to get started when you reach university.

Combining stunning performance, great usability and HD features, the VAIO VPCF12M0E/B is a fantastic machine at this price. Costing £650 less than the MacBook Pro, it stands head and shoulders above all competition at this price.

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