We have tested a fair number of Ivy Bridge-based Ultrabooks so far and have been eagerly waiting to get our hands on an Intel Haswell-based Ultrabook, which claims to give a boost to the battery life thanks to its power-efficient micro-architechture. We received the Sony Vaio Pro 13 (SVP1321WSNB) which sports an Intel Core i5-4200U processor. This Ultrabook is sleek, looks great and houses the 4th generation Intel processor. So let us see if it delivers on the Haswell promise of better performance with a much higher battery life.
The Sony Vaio Pro 13 sports a 13.3-inch LED backlit LCD full HD touchscreen and a chiclet keyboard
Sony Vaio Pro 13 Touch is quite slim and looks attractive at first glance
The Vaio Pro 13 comes in an all-black body with sharp edges with a tapering profile around the sides. It’s made of carbon fibre material which keeps the weight light. There is a nice chrome touch on the rear side with the Sony branding. One thing we found surprising was that the top cover tends to flex when you apply mild pressure.The rear side of the laptop is clean and it has a provision to add an extra sheet battery pack. There is a rubber strip running along the base on the rear side to give the Pro 13 a good grip when placed on a table.
On opening the top flap, you are presented with a chiclet keyboard, a palm rest with a brush metal finish and a considerable trackpad. The keypad is laid out on a matte black finish material and all the keys are backlit. The trackpad has a monolithic design and it suffers like most of the other monolithic trackpads we have seen, requiring a harder press to register a response beyond a point. The keypad is well laid out with the keys having a decent amount of travel. There are no surprises as far as the size and placement of keys such as Ctrl or Enter are concerned. Seven of the twelve function keys serve a dual-purpose.
The hinge mechanism is a bit different on the Vaio Pro 13. As you lift the top flap, you will notice that the chrome edge with the Sony branding will touch the base of the table in a way that the top of the keypad is raised from the table. Now while this mechanism is alright on a flat surface like a table, it can be annoying when you use it on your lap.
The speakers are nicely concealed on the top of the keypad
The speakers are stealthily-located and you can see them only on opening the top flap all the way out. The speakers fire in the direction of the monitor which is another reason why the hinge mechanism is thought out this way.
The Sony Vaio Pro 13 has just two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and an SD card slot on the right hand side
The Sony Vaio Pro 13 houses the fourth generation Intel Core i5-4200U processor clocked at 1.6GHz with a Turbo Boost upto 2.6GHz. It is an ultra-low voltage (ULV) series dual-core processor with hyper-threading and has the Intel HD 4400 on-die graphics. The Vaio Pro 13 houses 4GB of RAM and a Samsung MZNTD128HAGM which is a 128GB SSD. There are only two USB 3.0 ports along the sides and it lacks an optical drive which is the norm with thin Ultrabooks. There is no LAN port as well. It sports a 13.3-inch full HD resolution LED backlit screen, with a glossy finish. The screen is a multi-touch screen and is quite responsive. We found the presence of a USB port on the power charger to charge your mobile devices quite thoughtful. It leaves the two USB 3.0 ports free to be used with a mouse or an external hard drive. The Vaio Pro 13 bundles an HDMI to D-Sub adapter so that the monitor contents can be shared on another display or projected on a screen while making presentations. This is a good tool for business users.
The VAIO Care utility has various sections for troubleshooting, system settings, security settings etc.
Just like the recent bunch of Sony Xperia devices and high end compact cameras, the Vaio Pro 13 also supports near-field communication (NFC) which allows you to pair your NFC-enabled mobile devices or cameras with the Ultrabook and transfer or stream data. On the OS front, the Vaio Pro 13 comes bundled with Windows 8 and there are a decent number of apps available by default such as Sony Music’s Jive HD, Socialife, Shufflr, Gaana, Big Flix and so on.
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