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Sony Vaio Pro 13 - Performance, Heat & Noise, Battery Life

Michael Sawh

By Michael Sawh


  • Recommended by TR
Sony Vaio Pro 13


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User Score

Review Price £999.00

Sony Vaio Pro 13 - Performance

The Sony Vaio Pro 13 is the first ultrabook to benefit from fourth-generation Intel Haswell processor technology, which aims to improve all round power efficiency, providing better battery life and a bump in the graphics department – read our What is Intel Haswell? feature for more detail.

The dual-core 1.6GHZ Core i5 processor with 4GB of RAM and 128GB PCIe SSD onboard is clearly more than capable for running everyday tasks like browsing the web, streaming HD video, writing documents and some casual gaming which are the kind of tasks you’d expect this ultrabook to be used for. It’s also worth noting that boot-up times are impressively quick at times, taking less than three seconds from sleep mode.

Running the benchmarks, the Pro 13 manages a 4,572 PC Mark 7 score, which beats the Ivy Bridge-based Samsung Series 7 Ultra NP740U3E by only 4%. Putting Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 4400 GPU to the test we ran the Cloud Gate 3DMark gaming test, which is aimed at laptops and home PCs, it hovered around the 20fps mark and scored a pedestrian 2,761.

For a more real-world look at gaming performance, we also ran a few games off Steam including Sniper Challenge 2 that runs on the Cry Engine 3. The results were not great, however. At 1,920 x 1,080 it was sluggish and unplayable. Even dropping the resolution down further made no real improvements in the smoothness. If you are planning to do some gaming with it, we’d suggest sticking to the casual variety on offer through the Windows App Store, or older games. The 2013 MacBook Air 13-inch has the faster Intel HD 5000 graphics, which offers a little more performance, but not so much to turn it into a genuine advantage.

Sony Vaio Pro 13 ultrabook pictures 14

Sony VAIO Pro 13 – Heat & Noise

With so much power hidden underneath that slim line body, it’s no surprise that the Pro 13 does generate a little heat, particularly where the A/C Power port lies, but it’s not to the extent that it’s uncomfortable on your lap.

As for noise, the Pro 13’s fan goes into overdrive when it’s first turned on, but it soon quietens. It picks up when you are installing software and during other mildly intensive tasks, but it’s cool and quiet when streaming video or performing everyday tasks like browsing and word processing.

Sony Vaio Pro 13 ultrabook pictures 9

Sony Vaio Pro 13 - Battery Life

Sony claims that the battery life for the Vaio Pro 13 is up to eight hours with an optional extended sheet battery that will take that up to 13 hours. In our Powermark benchmark, however, it lasted a fairly average six hours and 30 minutes. That’s less than the eight hours claimed and significantly less than the MacBook Air (albeit using different benchmarks), but it does fare better than the Samsung Series 7 Ultra NP740U3E that lasted slightly less than six hours.

Similarly to the MacBook Air, it also managed to gain 39% of juice in 30 minutes from a critical battery level, which means that an hour’s worth of charging should get it back up to respectable levels and give you enough battery life to make it through the day.

If you want to buy the 4,690 mAh extended sheet battery it will cost you an extra £79. That brings the total package up to £1,078, which is £129 more than the 13-inch MacBook Air. The extra battery adds 290g of weight, too, a total of 1.35kg that is conveniently exactly the same as the MacBook. The sheet battery should push battery life to match the MacBook, possibly even exceed it, but we didn't have one to test.

Overall, however, it’s clear that without the additional power the battery life falls someway short of the standard set by Apple. That's not to say the Sony Vaio Pro 13's battery life isn't good enough – many will find it ample. But it's trade-off between the Sony's incredible lightness and Apple's longevity here. Take your choice.

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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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