Performance on the Sony VAIO Duo 13 is excellent in its day to day usage, and in our PCMark tests, it scored 4,748, beating the VAIO PRO 13 (4,566) and Microsoft Surface Pro (4,740). Impressive for an Ultrabook, and our Geekbench 3 tests backed it up with a good score of 4,524. The solid state drive also leads to impressive boot-up and restart speeds: 13 for the latter, and just six for the former.
With an Intel HD 4400 graphics card, the VAIO Duo 13 isn’t designed as a gaming rig. Despite this, the 3DMark scores were actually pretty impressive on the higher settings. Though the 14,874 on Ice Storm was low, and the 16,013 on Ice Storm Extreme was average, on the Cloud Gate test (aimed at mid-range gaming PCs), it scored 4,869, which not only beats out the Sony VAIO Pro 13 (2,761) but also the Samsung Series 7 Ultrabook with its dedicated ATI graphics card (3,470).
To settle these confusing scores, we booted up some taxing games to try and see what the VAIO could do. Burnout Paradise ran perfectly smoothly in 1920x1080 on high detail, but it was too big an ask to get Crysis 2 or Battlefield 3 running at the same resolution playably. Still, some 3D gaming is definitely on the table here, just perhaps not the very latest releases or highest settings.
In day to day use, the VAIO is pretty much silent, but when the fans do kick into life you certainly know about it - and it’s not always when you’d expect. Heat isn’t so much of a problem though, especially in laptop mode, with the extra airvents behind the screen exposed.
During gaming use though, the fans get pretty noisy. Nothing you can’t drown out with a good loud soundtrack of course, but you definitely will always know it’s there.
When a company promises a battery life in the double-figure hours range, we usually take it with a massive pinch of salt, so colour us surprised when Sony’s claims of ‘up to 15 hours battery’ didn’t seem too wide of the mark. Our battery tests, at 40% screen brightness, clocked in an incredible 10 hours and 38 minutes of regular usage before a charge was required. With a lower screen brightness, and wi-fi off, a 15 hour battery life is possible. This eclipses even the 2013 Macbook Air’s 10 hours, 15 minutes to go straight to the top of our battery table: very impressive.
Charging it back up again was a fairly standard speed, with the VAIO Duo 13 regaining 27% of its battery life from a half hour charge. Of course 27% of a battery-beast like this still equates to nearly three hours of usage, so it remains a strong selling point.