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Sony VAIO F12 MOE/B - Performance, Battery Life and Verdict

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

With a quad-core mobile Core i7 processor onboard, CPU performance is outright impressive and is going to be more than adequate for the foreseeable future.

It's no surprise to see the Acer Aspire Ethos 8943G edge ahead, as our reviewed configuration came with a whopping 12GB of RAM. If you get the 4GB version priced closer to Sony's £1,150 F12, however, you can expect identical performance.

When it comes to games, the Nvidia GT 330M can't be called a 'real' gaming card despite its generous 1GB of RAM. However, for older and less demanding titles it will do just fine, and managed to get 60fps in TrackMania Nations Forever at the screen's native 1080p resolution. Even Stalker: Call of Pripyat proved playable when we knocked the resolution down to 720p.

Last but not least we have battery life, where the F12's 5,000mAh/54Wh battery managed two hours and 40 minutes in our semi-intensive Productivity test with wireless disabled and the screen at a very usable 50 percent brightness. While this is certainly decent compared to most laptops with above-16in screen sizes, it doesn't match up to the Ethos' extremely impressive near three and a half hours. Though Acer's laptop needs to power a larger 18.4in display and twin hard drives, it only has a dual core CPU, and thanks to the Sony's lower 3.1kg weight it's a tough call to say which machine is more portable (we guess it depends on the condition of your back).

Unfortunately, the F12 fared a lot worse with its screen at full brightness in our DVD test, where it lasted just over an hour and a half – barely enough for many films.

The main question remaining is whether the Sony F12 is worth its £1,150 asking price. Considering that you can usually get a laptop adequate for the average consumer's needs at the £600 mark, is this machine worth the extra? Actually it's not bad value for what you get, especially considering the high-resolution screen, Blu-ray drive and powerful CPU. If these are important to you, it's worth considering.

For £35 extra, a version of the Ethos 8943G gives you a bigger screen, better keyboard, larger (though slower) 640GB hard drive and better build quality aided by a metal finish, not to mention being quieter in operation. However, it's considerably bulkier and heavier, and neither the speakers nor the screen's viewing angles are as good. Given the addition of a quad rather than dual-core Core i7, overall we'd say the Sony easily wins.

Verdict

Sony's F12 is a capable desktop replacement laptop that offers good value for money, but relatively poor battery life and a few other niggles hold it back from coming recommended.

meeto 0

August 27, 2010, 12:50 am

I have a custom model which I bought through sony's website. If you look online occasionally sony offer a free bluray writer which is what I got. My only regret is not paying for the faster hard drive or better still the SSD drive.





I love the minimalist design and have no problem with the keyboard but I could not agree more with the comments regarding the trackpad. I will often write something and my sentence will end up being broken because of the pad reacting to my palms. Its really annoying.





I love the number pad for Photo shop. And the speakers are good too.


As for creaking my only concern is with the underneath where the drive is.

StuartH

August 27, 2010, 3:11 am

Twice in the review and in the feature table it says that the HDD is 7200 rpm but on the official Sony website the VPCF12M0E/B is clearly descibed as having a 5400 rpm HDD.

StuartH

August 27, 2010, 3:15 am

I really interested in this laptop. Can I ask a couple of questions?


How easy is it to see the text in web broswers or Word with the full HD resolution on a 16.4 screen?


How loud is the laptop? Is the noise offputting?

ffrankmccaffery

August 27, 2010, 8:35 am

Nice to see the power and ethernet ports on the same side. Although the rear would be more preferable it still hinders the laptop a lot less.

Carlos

August 27, 2010, 8:17 pm

How can you give this a value score of 8/10, when you gave the acer aspire 5553G 6/10?





Lets look at the facts:





According to you PCMark results, this sony is on average, 18.68% faster than the acer. So if we say the acer "scores" 100 and the sony 118.7 then the price to performance figures (lower = worse) are as follows:





Acer 100/£600 = 0.0983


Sony 118/£1200 = 0.103





so in actual fact, based on current prices, the acer 5553g is 69.5% better value. So how do you translate this as being worse value than the sony?

Nicholas Phan

August 28, 2010, 4:34 pm

@Carlos





That's not a fair way to calculate value at all. There is always diminishing returns to price, and especially so when it comes to technology and computing power. For example the most expensive CPU chip may be much more expensive than the second most expensive, however the performance difference is not that much.

Carlos

August 29, 2010, 9:52 pm

@Nicholas





Its perfectly fair to calculate value based on price/performance ratio. Thats how the value of cpus and graphics cards are calculated in most reviews. Its common knowledge that the high end cpus are not good value.





For example, I doubt there are many people in the world who would call the most expensive core i7 excellent value, because it isn't. It has excellent performance, but its terrible value in terms of the price you pay for that performance.





If you are going to give value a score, it must be based on facts, or the score is meaningless, and the best way to go about this is to base it on price/performance ratio, or bang for buck if you're stateside.

Stewart

August 30, 2010, 6:31 pm

@Carlos





Who said value is purely based on performance?


For a media oriented machine I would certainly 'value' the larger screen, the higher screen resolution and the overall better performance of the Sony screen. I would also 'value' the Blu-Ray drive, the better keyboard, Bluetooth, a physical wireless switch etc....





Ultimately though, the 'value' score is subjective (as are the other scores). I don't think you should get hung up on the headline scores.


If performance is important to you there's enouth information in both reviews to at least let you know which laptop you might want to consider and the features you might value.

Stewart

August 30, 2010, 6:31 pm

@Carlos





Who said value is purely based on performance?


For a media oriented machine I would certainly 'value' the larger screen, the higher screen resolution and the overall better performance of the Sony screen. I would also 'value' the Blu-Ray drive, the better keyboard, Bluetooth, a physical wireless switch etc....





Ultimately though, the 'value' score is subjective (as are the other scores). I don't think you should get hung up on the headline scores.


If performance is important to you there's enouth information in both reviews to at least let you know which laptop you might want to consider and the features you might value.

StuartH

August 31, 2010, 3:04 am

It seems that the only problem with this laptop is the noise that this, and some other reviews, have mentioned. How does thte noise-level compare to other equivalent laptops?

TechVegan

September 1, 2010, 7:32 pm

@meet_0:


Thanks for your comment and feedback!





@StuartH:


It would appear some of the models being sold through 3rd party retailers, such as the model sold by play, have faster hard drives.


As to your questions, text is perfectly legible though you need good eyesight. You can always zoom in a little or increase the default fonts size, so there's no real downside.





As to noise, as mentioned it can be off-putting, but then I prefer my PCs virtually silent - it might not bother you and is certainly not dramatic. However, a larger chassis like that of the http://www.trustedreviews.com/... is quieter despite hotter components, and I'd say the Sony is slightly noisier than some of the more immediate competition.





@Carlos:


Stewart has made all my points for me twice over - thanks Stewart :)

StuartH

September 3, 2010, 4:49 am

Thanks for your feedback Ardjuna. Can I be a pain and ask another question?


On the Sony site you can down-spec to a i5-450M - would having a less powerfull processor reduce the noise? I would also consider an SSD.

BobaFett

December 10, 2010, 8:13 pm

A colleague at work just bought one of these but discovered that it can't power his 27" Dell screen at its native resolution of 2560x1440, as it only has a VGA port and does not operate at the higher frequencies enabled by HDMI 1.3. This is despite the NVidia GPU being capable of supporting this resolution and appears to be a limitation that's common across all current VAIOs.

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