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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.
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.