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Sony Vaio Pro 13 - Keyboard, Touch Pad and Verdict

Michael Sawh

By Michael Sawh



  • Recommended by TR
Sony Vaio Pro 13


Our Score:


Sony Vaio Pro 13 - Keyboard & Touch Pad

As we’ve seen on previous Vaio laptops, the keyboard is something that Sony usually gets right. From the well-spaced backlit layout, to keys that are soft to touch and offer great travel, it all makes for a comfortable typing experience. Coupled with an aluminium palm rest that is an accommodating size to work on, Sony has come up trumps once again.

It’s a shame we can’t be as glowing about the all-in-one touchpad. It supports all the usual mouse functions and gestures, such as pinch to zoom, and the response is generally good, but at times it’s slow to respond. More irritating is its habit of mistaking normal use for a gesture, a fact that often results in opening the last app used by mistake. It's just as well this particularly Windows gesture can be turned off.

The touchpad has NFC support, which means you can tap a smartphone against it to transfer data like a web page and instantly see it on the VAIO Pro 13 screen. You can also use it with NFC-enabled headphones to pair quickly. Testing the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone and a pair of the Jabra Revo Wireless headphones the connection was seamless for both devices.

Sony Vaio Pro 13 ultrabook pictures 7

Other things to consider

It’s perhaps a good point here to mention Windows 8 Pro, which adds a few security features over standard Windows 8 and Media Center for those that want it. Otherwise it's standard Windows, which means you keep features like the ability to snap apps and jump back into recent apps with a simple swipe. Windows 8 still feels a little uneven in places, however. Touch applications still appear to hang when launching, and some apps insisted there wasn’t an internet connection when there was. Apps in the Windows Store, although growing, are still sparse in comparison to Apple and Google, but this being Windows there’s no shortage on ‘non-Store’ apps to download.

There’s a 0.9-megapixel front-facing camera for video chatting, which uses a fancy sounding Exmor CMOS sensor. Video quality isn’t spectacular, but it handles low-light conditions reasonably well.

Sound quality from the stereo speakers below the 13.3-inch display is rich and clear. There’s no significant distortion, even at loud volumes, which makes them suitable enough to watch movies.

Sony Vaio Pro 13 ultrabook pictures 15

Should I buy the Sony Vaio Pro 13?

As Ultrabooks go, the Sony Vaio Pro 13 is certainly one of the finest we’ve had our hands on. It ticks all the right boxes in terms of portability and design, while the display goes some way to its £999 price tag.

Inevitably it will be compared to the 13-inch MacBook Air and top end Ultrabook offerings like the Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1 and the Samsung Series 7 Ultra. Its screen outguns them all, but without the £79 extra battery sheet its battery life - while very good - falls a long way short of the 10-hours or more the MacBook achieves.

As the first of the Windows-based Intel Haswell ultrabooks we've seen, however, the Sony Vaio Pro 13 is an exceptional effort from Sony, particularly considering it weighs less than the Microsoft Surface Pro (with a keyboard attached) and lasts longer.

For more altenatives, take a look at our best laptop round-up.


A top of the range ultrabook with an amazing screen and a light, portable body, the Sony Vaio Pro 13 is an excellent portable laptop. Its battery life suffers in comparison to the MacBook Air, but it's a great laptop nonetheless.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 8
  • Build Quality 8
  • Design 9
  • Heat & Noise 8
  • Keyboard 9
  • Performance 8
  • Screen Quality 10
  • Touchpad 7
  • Value 8


June 6, 2013, 5:47 pm

A great looking laptop with some nice features. We make high end carbon fiber cases for laptops and look forward to making a custom case for the 13" Viao Pro.


June 7, 2013, 11:56 am

Why is 4GB still the default? It's good that 8GB is available, but I really want 16GB, which should be an option on a $2K+ laptop.


June 9, 2013, 4:42 pm

imho, you're looking at the wrong laptop.

This is a mobile, long battery life powerhouse, not a desktop replacement.

That's like asking for 4 wheels on a bike. Maybe you should be looking for a car.

16gb of ram would be overkill considering this only has intel gfx and a 'U' processor.


June 9, 2013, 7:16 pm

1) RAM is cheap these days.
2) More RAM doesn't weigh more
3) More RAM doesn't affect battery life

There's just no excuse.


June 11, 2013, 2:12 am

I'd prefer it matching up to the Samsung's weight to reduce the excessive body flex... it just feels too unstable.

The keyboard backlight bleeds like hell too.

Lastly, its lacking in CPU options: only the crappy Core i7-4500U and Core i5-4200U are available on Sony's U.S. store, neither of which sport the new IRIS GPU. The HD-4x00 GPUs they have use the same crummy 16 EUs of the old Ivy Bridge HD-4000.

We need one of these for the new IRIS graphics:

Core i5…4350U…Iris 5000 (GT3)…15W…1.5 GHz
Core i7…4550U…Iris 5000 (GT3)…15W…1.5 GHz
Core i7…4650U…Iris 5000 (GT3)…15W…1.7 GHz


June 11, 2013, 2:20 am

You don't even know what he wants to do with it.

16 GB are great if you run virtual machines for development or large IDE environments on the go.

Notice he wasn't asking for a dedicated GPU or a high TDP processor, just memory, which is neither heavy nor does it take a lot of power.

There was some ultrabook that offered up to 16GB, but I forgot where I saw that...


June 11, 2013, 5:13 am

At least you make a good point. But is that what he wants to do? Coz it seems like he just wants it for the sake of it.

Not saying that he's like that, but it's always amusing to see people go for maximum specs just because they want it. To use word.

Thing is there's only 1 slot for the mobo, and I suspect it's to save space and cost. They probably thought most people who buy this only needs 8gb, not to mention having 1 less ram slot probably saved them a bit of money.


June 11, 2013, 5:13 am

Space and price.

I believe there's 1 ram slot on this system instead of 2. It could effect the cost of the mobo because everything else has to be a little smaller to make room for that extra ram.

Though I'd be with you if you said they could've done it on for the 13". But I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to save cost by using the same mobo on both the 11 and 13.

It's sony, where their great products are always hacked by accountants.


June 14, 2013, 1:57 pm

I've been known to keep north of 1000 tabs open in google chrome sometimes.

RAM helps that habit greatly :D


June 14, 2013, 6:10 pm

16 gb is overkill for a pc too and we are talking ultrabook here


June 17, 2013, 12:39 pm

Maybe for your usage. Not mine. Try running one or two virtual OS installs and you're out of mem quickly.


June 17, 2013, 12:40 pm

Yep, that's what I want. Running virtual OSs takes a lot of memory.


June 24, 2013, 12:47 pm

Does the HDMI port support resolutions of 2560x1440?


July 1, 2013, 6:20 pm

"Battery life short of MacBook Air"


Even you mention that with the removal/optional sheet battery, it weights the same and has the same battery life as the MacBook Air.

So with this Vaio you actually have ***a choice*** (unlike with the MacBook Air) between the least weight possible or super battery life.

Yet this is a "Con"


Brian O'Neill

July 2, 2013, 9:25 am

I got the dell xps 13 and the trackpad is woeful. Trackpads on windows ultra books all seem to be terrible. If you are considering buying an ultrabook I would strongly advise you to refresh what the trackpad is like on the machine, as they can be incredibly frustrating to use.

Gareth Barber

July 2, 2013, 10:18 am

Does the air loose a star for not being as light as this?
No? why should this loose one for the battery difference?

Sachin Thakur

July 2, 2013, 10:16 pm

Bear in mind that the UK & European version is only SATA SSD and not PCIe SSD. Confirmed this on my Sony Vaio Pro 13.


July 6, 2013, 12:28 am

That seems slightly OCD


July 6, 2013, 9:07 am

I can't figure out if Apple was just the only one saying they will use nothing except a processor with IRIS GPU, or if Intel is playing favorites with Haswell supplies...

Asus, Samsung and Acer are not usually slow in putting their stuff to market, but somehow, Only Apple has instant Haswell HD-5000 stock to sell on their announcements, and only Sony has ample supply of Haswell HD-4400 chips to sell with their Vaio Pro.

If you've tried to get a Haswell system from the other guys, you will have noticed they have nothing. Its highly unlikely that Asus & Co haven't got their new mainboards ready to go, so what's holding them up?

I guess they're not Intel's most favored customers... Maybe Intel doesn't like them for also building ARM devices, and makes them wait, till their best friends Apple and Sony could grab all the early sales?

Since the Computex announcements, its been absolutely dead... no new product besides Apple and Sony.

Maybe Intel is more friendly to those bores at HP or Dell? I don't usually check them anymore, as I've never found anything I wanted to buy there...


July 6, 2013, 9:09 am

As opposed to the U.S. versions or the Japanese versions?


July 6, 2013, 9:10 am

You're right about that...

But the Sony should loose a star for not insisting on a Haswell processor with IRIS HD-5000 GPU, like Apple...

Sachin Thakur

July 6, 2013, 9:19 am

The US & Japanese versions both get PCIe SSD. Check Sony UK website and configure your Vaio Pro, & see what options you get for SSD. Only SATA. Then check US & Japanese websites. It's PCIe there. There is an owners' thread on Notebook Review forum in Sony Owners' Lounge. This has been discussed extensively there as well.

Sachin Thakur

July 6, 2013, 9:25 am

Although, I must say that in real use for day to day work, you're unlikely to see the benefits of PCIe SSD over mSATA. My Vaio Pro 13 takes only 3 seconds to start from switching on, and only 1-2 seconds to wake up from sleep.

Sachin Thakur

July 6, 2013, 9:26 am


Gareth Barber

July 6, 2013, 10:25 am

Not sure there is much in it, crappy intel graphics vs slightly less crappy intel graphics.


A big % increase in some cases but those games may still be unplayable.
The slightly faster CPU over the air is probably the better choice as neither are games machines and you'd be a fool to buy either for that, crunching some numbers faster (i.e. compiling and deploying a dev build) are more likely uses.

I'd rather an discrete graphics switch like my Z (2010) and use the integrated for desktop work. In fact that laptop is probably still the pinnacle for desktop replacement machines, Quad SSD's (single ones only now getting faster), proper mobile not U CPU, Optical drive and switchable discrete GPU all weighing just over 1kg and with the larger battery option giving 9 hours usage.

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