Sony VAIO T Series SVT13137CXS 13.3-Inch Touchscreen Ultrabook Review

Sony VAIO T Series SVT13137CXS 13.3-Inch Touchscreen Ultrabook

The Sony VAIO T Series SVT13137CXS 13.3-Inch Touchscreen Ultrabook is an upper mid-range Ultrabook that combines stylish good looks with easily portable computing power and a battery life of up to five and a half hours.

Its sleek, silver shell measures just 12.72″ (W) x 0.75″ (H) x 8.90″ (D) and weighs a mere 3.77 lbs, yet it manages to contain enough raw computing power to get real work done on the move, and offers enough input / output ports to cater for most needs.

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The machine is driven by a third generation Intel Core i5-3337U Dual Core processor running at 1.8GHz, although, thanks to Intel’s Turbo Boost technology, it is capable of automatically adjusting its speed to  maximum of 2.7GHz. The i5-3337U is an Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) component, specifically designed to offer an excellent balance between power consumption and performance in small laptops and Ultrabooks. As with other modern Intel CPUs, Hyperthreading allows its two cores to work with up to four threads simultaneously.

The processor is supported by 6Gb of installed DDR3 RAM, of which 4GB is fixed on board and a further 2GB are removable. This enables the machine to be upgraded to a maximum of 8GB of RAM. Although this is less than some other machines can accept, it is still more than enough for most purposes. Indeed, even in its default 6GB configuration, this machine should have no difficulty in running the pre-installed copy of Windows 8 and multitasking your favourite applications with reasonable speed.

Much of that speed comes from the machine’s 128GB Solid State Drive (SSD). SSDs offer several advantages over conventional hard drives, including being less vulnerable to physical damage – always a possibility in a machine intended to be used on the move. However, their primary advantage is speed – an SSD is much, much faster than an equivalent hard disk, enabling systems to boot in seconds and load applications almost instantly. Naturally, that speed comes at a premium – large capacity SSDs tend to be very expensive.

Pros :

  • Small, lightweight, powerful workhorse
  • Plenty of RAM
  • Fast SSD
  • Touchscreen
  • Windows 8

Cons :

  • No Optical Drive
  • Graphics are underpowered for serious gaming

This leads to an inevitable trade off between speed, capacity and price; conventional drives are large and cheap but relatively slow, while SSDs are fast but small and expensive. In this case, the choice of a 128GB SSD is reasonable for a machine intended to deliver powerful, workhorse computing on the move – it is large enough for most purposes, sufficiently fast to boost the machine’s overall performance and not too expensive. And, if more storage is required, it is an easy matter to connect an external USB hard drive to one of the SVT13137CXS’s USB ports.

Ideally, that would be the machine’s single high-speed USB 3.0 port, which also doubles as a sleep charge port, allowing you to charge your cellphone or other USB device while the laptop is sleeping or shut down. There is also one standard USB 2.0 port for attaching a variety of wired peripheral, a Gigabit Ethernet port for wired networking, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi for wireless networking and Bluetooth 4.0 +HS for connecting mice, headsets and other wireless devices.

A headphone socket is provided for when you need more privacy than the integrated stereo speakers can offer, and a memory card reader makes it easy to transfer images from your camera to the laptop. There is also an HD webcam built in to the machine’s display bezel, making it video-chat ready right out of the box.

The machine sports a 13.3″, LED backlit, 1366 x 768, capacitive touchscreen display that is ideal for the touch-driven aspects of Windows 8. It is driven by Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics, which should be more than adequate for day to day tasks, including HD video and casual games. However, despite being compatible with Direct X 11.1, this graphics solution will struggle with today’s more sophisticated games – if you’re looking for a gaming laptop, this may not be the machine for you.

Beautiful as the laptop’s own display is, however, there may be times when you want, or need, a bigger screen. For those occasions, the SVT13137CXS offers both a VGA port for connecting to older-style monitors and projectors, and an HDMI port for connecting to HDTVs and modern monitors – perfect for watching movies streamed from the internet after a hard day’s work.

Like most Ultrabooks, the SVT13137CXS doesn’t have an optical drive, so if you think you might need one, you’ll need to purchase an external USB model. Inconvenient though this may be for some people, it is not an unreasonable compromise for a system that is designed to be both small and lightweight as well as powerful – there is only so much room in the case, and some things just have to go!

Overall, the Sony VAIO T Series SVT13137CXS 13.3-Inch Touchscreen Ultrabook is an excellent choice of easily portable workhorse. It is easily capable of coping with routine computing tasks, and shouldn’t struggle unduly with some more demanding chores, either. Its lack of optical drive may be a slight nuisance to some, and it certainly isn’t a games machine (although it will cope perfectly well with casual gaming) but as touchscreen-capable machine for getting real work done on the go, it is definitely well worth considering.

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