Sony Vaio S Series 13P ultrabook review

Reviews James Hunt Feb 11, 2013

This Sony ultrabook is unapologetically high-end - but is that a problem?

Historically, Sony's Vaio line has been a good place to find laptops that are high quality but horrendously expensive, especially when it comes to business-oriented systems. So what kind of showing does the Sony Vaio S Series 13P put in?

Typically for Sony, it's full of bells and whistles: a fingerprint scanner, Blu-ray writer (of course) and a built-in Thunderbolt port. The general specs are high too. It's undoubtedly in the premium tier of Ultrabooks, alongside the likes of the Macbook Air and Samsung Series 9, and the very Sony-esque glossy, angular chassis hides a Core i7-3520M CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and dedicated GeForce graphics.

Again, though, the fact that it contains a dedicated graphics card (and the rest of Sony's extras) means that as Ultrabooks go, it's quite thick and heavy. Not unacceptably so, but at 21mm and 1.6kg, at least noticeably so.

The only real weak spot is the screen, which isn't full HD. 1600x900 is fine for low- and mid-range devices, but at this size we'd expect to see something better. The matte screen makes it a poor choice for gaming and entertainment, even as the dedicated graphics card makes it a good one. The speakers too, are fairly uninspiring, which is hard to forgive at these prices.

And speaking of prices… Now, hold on to your seats while we tell you. There's no way to sugar-coat it. Specs like the ones we've discussed here will cost you at least £1,800. So as usual for a Sony laptop it's high quality but horrendously expensive. Is it worth the money? Well, yes, but only if you have it in the first place. You can customise the components to bring them down to more affordable levels, though, but then, if you try to do that you'll probably lose what makes Sony's hardware attractive in the first place.

Ultimately, as a business machine, it's second to none. We're not sure home users will want to shell out for one, but with the features it has, it more than justifies every penny of your expense.

Details:

• CPU: Core i7-3520M
• SSD Size: 256GB
• Screen Size: 13.3"
• Weight: 1.6kg
• Thickness: 21mm
• Price: £1,800

Scores:

Power: 9/10
Value: 8/10
Overall: 9/10