Sony VAIO S 13” Analysis (2012 Model)
The Sony VAIO S 13” (VAIO S13) is a 13” ultra mobile laptop introduced inside Spring of 2012. The VAIO S13 comes with all the newest Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 plus i7 CPUs for top mobile performance. The S13 has customers a variety of configuration choices, ranging within the sparsely equipped base device, that has a street cost of about $ 800, to the more pricey models with HD+ 1600 x 900 displays, carbon fiber lids plus devoted GPUs. The S13 is aimed at consumers whom wish a reasonably thin, durable laptop which offers them the greatest performance inside a light mobile package. Below we’re going to dissect the advantages and disadvantages of the VAIO S 13” to hopefully determine whether the S13 makes a wise fit for we.
Here are the requirements of the model below review:
- Model: SVS13112FXB
- Operating System: Windows Seven Home Premium x64
- CPU: Intel 2.5GHz Core i5-3310M(3.1GHz Turbo) 35w
- Memory: 6GB DDR 1333MHz(16GB Max)
- Hard Drives: 640GB Seagate 5400RPM
- Optical Drive: DVDRW(Slot Loading)
- Screen: 13.3” 1366×768 Matte LED LCD
- Graphics: Intel HD 4000 Integrated
- Webcam: 1.3MP
- Network: Realtek Ethernet, Intel 6235 WiFi Card plus Bluetooth
- Inputs: Six Row 81 Key Island Style Keyboard plus Clickpad with Integrated Buttons
- Buttons: Power, Speed/Stamina Control, CD Eject, Assist, Internet plus Viao
- Ports: Three USB Ports – Two USB 3.0 plus One Powered USB 2.0 (All Best Side), Ethernet, VGA/HDMI, Combo Headphone/Microphone Jack, SD Card Reader, MagicGate Card Reader
- Battery: Six-Cell (4400 mAh)
- Dimensions: Width 13.04”, Depth 8.85” plus Height .95”
- Weight: 3.8 Pounds
- Warranty: One Year
- Base Price: $ 725
Design plus Build
Sony provides the VAIO S13 inside 8 different color options, to choose the color which right matches the mood. Pink, gold plus white are some of the hues choices . Whatever color we selected, the whole case is clad inside it. Our review device came inside black, offering it a kind of ThinkPad look. The outside of the S13 has a easy look with just a medium sized Vaio plus little Sony logos designing the the lid. If you open the VAIO S 13” the keyboard is recessed somewhat inward. Whenever I initially saw it, I thought I had broken it considering it’s creased between your keyboard plus screen. The S13 has what Sony calls a full-flat shape. It’s completely flat found on the bottom, except the rubber feet. Many notebooks have anything sticking out the bottom nowadays, that you will feel whenever it rests inside the lap. The S13 is deigned for movement, thus it’s thin plus light at simply 1” thick. It doesn’t appear all which impressive upcoming to certain very thin Ultrabooks which are out today, yet the S13 furthermore provides consumers an optical drive, that you’d not see about an Ultrabook. The S13 weighs really beneath 4 pounds, 3.8 pounds to be actual. While that’s not the lightest 13” laptop available, it could meet the requirements of many mobile consumers.
The VAIO S 13 feels surprisingly strong. You are able to choose it up by the side plus it doesn’t creek or groan at all. The lid is made from magnesium alloy plus carbon fiber is utilized found on the high end models. One and for the mag alloy found on the S13 is it is actually not inclined to smudging or fingerprints. While you are able to result in the screen wrinkle a bit should you click found on the back, very inside the center, it feels perfectly protected however. The screen is fast whenever used, not moving at all. The screen utilizes a latchless shape, however there’s small chance it’ll pop open. Overall the fit plus finish found on the S13 is great.
The VAIO S 13 has a 13.3” TN LED backlit show. The screen is matte, that fortunately signifies there’s no annoying reflections whenever there’s a light source nearby. There are 2 resolution options – 1366×768 plus 1600×900. We have the lower resolution HD resolution screen. Higher end models might have the HD+ LCD. There are 17 brightness degrees found on the S13, that vary from dim, yet usable, to very bright. I’d estimate the brightness to be regarding 300 nits. It appears very close to my ThinkPad X220i, that is rated at 300 nits. The S13 screen itself is very good, It has above average comparison, thus hues plus pictures look advantageous. Side to side angles are very broad plus when the vertical angles aren’t because extensive, there’s a sizable efficient zone. If you’re not moving too much, the screen looks very advantageous. The largest problem I had with all the screen is the screen liked to change the brightness all alone. I’m not certain when it was simply a condition with this S13 or is a greater condition with all S13s, nevertheless the whenever utilizing the S13, the screen dimmed to a lower brightness for simply half a next or thus, then might return to the authentic setting. At first I thought it was several kind of energy administration problem, nevertheless I turned off all energy saving settings plus it nevertheless did it. I wouldn’t state it’s a big condition whenever utilizing the S13 plus it can be limited to the S13, yet it may be distracting whenever it happens.
One of the initially details I do whenever getting a laptop for review is connect my USB drive to dump my Mp3 collection over. I install iTunes plus hear to several music, hoping to hear anything much better than the last laptop I reviewed. Sometimes, I receive a laptop which rises above the mediocrity which is many laptop speakers, the Dell XPS13 will be an illustration of the, however, largely they all sound regarding the same. The S13 might get into the mediocrity category. While the S13 is pleasant enough for several music or videos, it’s a bit tinny plus there’s not much bass to be had. As with many notebooks a superior set of headphones or speakers can greatly enhance the sound experience.
CPU, Performance plus Storage
Sony has the Vaio S13 with all the newest Intel Core i5 plus i7 Intel Ivy Bridge double core CPUs. Unlike the heavier 15” model, there’s no quad core way for the 13” model. It’s a shame there’s no 35w quad way because which might have created the S13 a true handheld energy home. Our review device had the base Core i5-3210M double core CPU. Additionally to the Ivy Bridge CPUs, we receive a minimal of 4GB of memory found on the base model. Our review device had 6GB of memory, that ought to be fine for many consumers except you’re running certain memory hogging applications. All VAIO S13 designs have minimal of 1 4GB stick soldered to the motherboard with 1 open slot found on the underside of the laptop. That signifies the maximum amount of memory you are able to have is 12GB.
With the newest Ivy Bridge CPUs plus 6GB of memory, the S13 is not a lazybones inside the performance department. I was capable to energy from certain Photoshop filters when hearing to several music plus surfing the net. The S13 didn’t sweat at all. One interesting feature the VAIO S has found on the performance side of factors is a switch found on the keyboard deck which enables you to toggle between speed plus endurance performance methods. I think it’s largely a gimmick. I couldn’t discern a difference between your 2 methods whenever doing standard stuff.
The largest performance bottleneck found on the S13 is the slower 5400RPM difficult drive. With 640GB of storage, the drive has a lot of area, however, it’s not fast. Boot instances were merely over a minute plus applications don’t pop up because quickly because whenever utilizing a quicker drive or SSD. That’s not unexpected, however, the advantageous information is the drive is very simple to swap. It sits beneath a panel found on the bottom of the laptop. There’s just a couple screws to eliminate to gain access into it. Unfortunately, there’s just 1 drive bay plus no mSATA slot, that might let for 2 forces. It equally looks like you can not eliminate the optical drive for another difficult drive like found on the bigger S15 model. While our review device came with a slot loading DVD-RW drive, a Blu-ray reader or Blu-ray burner is an upgrade way for film buffs or those that have to do big backups.
Sony provides 2 images card choices found on the S13, the integrated Intel HD 400, that the review device has, along with a devoted nVidia GeForce GT 640M LE. Should you choose the Intel answer you need to be capable to play elder games plus several new games about low settings. The Intel card must additionally provide customers greater power lifetime. Should you like to do several gaming found on the S13, the devoted nVidia card is the path to take. While not a top card by any signifies, it could enable consumers to play new games whilst found on the go, nevertheless power existence takes a hit.
Keyboard plus Touch Pad
The VAIO S 13” utilizes a chiclet or island design keyboard which is the norm nowadays. It’s a full sized keyboard. Being it’s a 13” laptop, there’s no 10 key quantity pad. The keyboard found on the S13 is very fast, you are able to result in the keyboard provide in the event you press down about it difficult, however, that’s not an matter throughout standard employ. The keys found on the S13 have a smooth feeling for them. The spacing is off from what I’m familiar with utilizing, yet customers must change to this immediately. The level is furthermore a bit found on the shallow side. One nifty feature the S13 keyboard does have is the keyboard backlight. It’s an car backlight. There’s no about or off switch to the backlight, however, whenever we utilize the keyboard, the backlight comes about. Should you don’t utilize for a minute or thus, it turns itself off. That must enable protect power existence plus we don’t need to remember to turn it about or off.
The touch pad found on the S13 is a click pad, meaning anywhere except the lower appropriate corner, that is the proper click, registers because a left click. The S13 has among the widest touch pads I’ve watched, measuring over four.5” broad plus merely below 2.5” top to bottom. The touch pad found on the S13 has merely the slightest bit of coarseness into it like a especially fine sandpaper, however it functions perfectly enough. There’s no lag between what a finger does plus what arises found on the screen. The switch device is a lot stiffer than I’m utilized to, creating dragging goods over the screen a chore, that I didn’t like. I did swiftly discover ways to use tap to visit the S13, that greatly improved the likeability element for the touch pad. The S13 has all gestures like two-finger scrolling, pinch to zoom plus tap to click customers have come to anticipate whenever buying the laptop as well as function effectively for the many element, however aren’t very because fluid because the number one touch pads I’ve enjoyed like those found on the MacBook Air or the ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
The VAIO S has a six-cell power. The power is accessible under a panel found on the bottom of the laptop. Many screws have to be removed to exchange the power. While customers won’t should send the power to Sony for substitution, it’s not the many user friendly task. We wouldn’t like to attempt it about state an airplane tray. Additionally to the standard power, Sony has the sheet power for the S13 which plugs into a port found on the bottom of the computer. It’s also a six-cell power plus must double the power existence the S13 will provide consumers, however, it furthermore adds a pound plus half to the fat, that lessens its movement. To test the power found on the S13 I charged it totally, placed the switch found on the keyboard deck to endurance mode plus Windows to power saver mode because Sony doesn’t provide much inside the technique of power administration software. The screen was set to half brightness plus WiFi was about. With these settings I was capable receive 4 hours plus 16 minutes of power life. While that’s possibly twice what I personally want, it’s a bit found on the low side for more latest Intel Ivy Bridge based notebooks which have come over my desk. The ThinkPad T430 for illustration doubled which, though it had a heavier power. Attaching the sheet power could receive S13 consumers the same power existence because the T430, however with all the added fat, the S13 is heavier than the T430.
Heat & Noise
When utilizing the VAIO S it stayed cool to the touch whether I was pushing it or not. The bottom back is where it got the warmest, however it was not uncomfortable. The vent found on the S13 is positioned inside the center of the back, it appears an odd place choice, however at smallest it’s not found on the bottom, that has a tendency to receive covered whenever used. I wish I could say the S13 ran because quiet because it does cool, yet genuinely, I can’t. The enthusiast sound found on the VAIO S doesn’t receive especially noisy whenever doing boring jobs, yet it happens to be an ever present truth of existence. It has a dull hum that’s about all of the time whether you’re only surfing or running more CPU intense applications. It’s conveniently drowned out with music or conversation, however, should you require quiet, it’s there. I tried setting it to quiet inside the program settings plus placing the CPU inside low energy mode, however it had no impact. When pushing the S13 it may receive a bit loud, however, that’s not unusual for many notebooks.
Ports plus Networking
Sony furnishes the S13 with almost all of the ports typical consumers need. Interestingly, most the ports found on the S13 are situated found on the proper side with all the exception of the headphone jack. Hooking up a corded mouse for a lefty may be a challenge. There are connectors found on the bottom of the S13 for the cut power plus docking port, even so they only have plastic covers which never attach to the S13, meaning they’ll be easy to get rid of. The right side of the S13 MagicGate plus card visitors, VGA plus HDMI connectors for movie, 3 USB 3.0 ports(one powered for charging a phone), an Ethernet port as well as the energy jack.
The left side of the S13 has the slot loading DVDRW slot plus headphone jack.
The bottom of the S13 has the cut power plus docking port connectors. The dock just adds a 500GB difficult drive for back ups or what not, however doesn’t provide we any ports which aren’t found on the S13 itself. The dock might add certain ease whenever utilizing an exterior monitor or different peripherals at a desk.
All S13 come with Ethernet, WiFi plus Bluetooth, that must cover the bases for many consumers. I had no trouble with all the WiFi at house or function. I was capable to connect my telephone to play music plus my mouse to the S13 effortlessly through Bluetooth.
Our VAIO S 13” came with Windows 7 Home Premium, yet Pro is an alternative for those ready to pay more. Sony does include certain software utilities with all the S13 like a settings menu plus several multimedia software, yet they’re less comprehensive because the ThinkVantage suite offered about ThinkPads. Vaio Gate is an annoying item inside the S13 software bundle. It sits at the best of the screen plus pops out whenever the cursor gets close into it. It kind of reminds of ObjectDock. It has a means of popping out whenever we don’t wish it to do thus, though is not difficult to disable. One lame feature Sony provides found on the VAIO S is what they call Fresh Start. First of all, we have upgrade to Windows Expert to receive it, that costs $ 50. Basically, Fresh Start is a clean install of Windows without bloatware. That’s how each notebook/PC could come, yet Sony has the nerve to charge we additional to receive anything it could absolutely have.
The VAIO S 13” model inside certain sense attempts to be all jack of all trades. You’ve got the lower end sub $ 800 models which are very bare plus then your high end models which go north of $ 2,000. If you’re choosing the base plus have $ 800 to invest, the S13 doesn’t hold up up against the competition from a expense attitude. The high end models are thus pricey, limited are probably to deem them worthy. I think where the VAIO S 13 is going shine is within the center. If you’re prepared to invest a some 100 above the base cost, you are able to the S13 with a HD+ LCD, that is nevertheless very uncommon nowadays about 13” notebooks outside of premium Ultrabooks, along with a devoted images card for those whom wish To game a bit found on the go. If you factor in the durable build, appealing shape, above average screen plus fair cost, it’s inside the center which the Sony S13 offers end consumers the number one value.
- Attractive Design
- Nice Screen
- Durable Build
- Color Options
- Auto Keyboard Backlight
- Noisy Fan
- So-so Battery Life
- Not Simple to Swap Battery
- Can Be Expensive about Higher Configurations
- Questionable Software