Sony Vaio Pro 13 review – great Haswell business ultrabook


  1. Cristian

    June 13, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Hmm, it flexes way too much for my liking, makes it difficult for someone looking for a haswell ultrabook to prefer it to the MB air.
    The air doesn’t have a touchscreen, though, so this compensates for the Pro.

    Thank you for this review, very interesting!

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 14, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      there will be plenty of other options. The Aver S7 could be one, and many others. Just wait for a few weeks

    • Touko

      July 10, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      The excessive flex is a much bigger problem than given credit for in most places. Sony used a large main circuit board inside, stretching from left edge to right edge, so they could mount the connectors on it.

      This means, that when the notebook flexes, the mainboard is forced to flex with it.

      Ive you’ve ever read anything about modern multilayer circuit boards (commonly using 6 layers for computer mainboards), you know that the one thing that ruins them fast is bending them.

      Why? Because between each layer of plastic are tiny leads with numerous vertical connections crossing one or more of the plastic layers. Bending such a board repeatedly will eventually shear off the vertical connects and buckle the horizontal leads.

      I expect a massive spike of failure rates for the Vaio Pro series in 6 to 12 months, individually depending on how much people actually travel with these.

  2. Kman

    June 13, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Hi thanks for the detailed review. One question though, is the battery user replaceable or would it need to be sent away to be replaced?

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 14, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      it’s not. Most ultrabooks come with encased batteries, especially those as small as this one

  3. Gregor

    June 14, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Very good review – very detailed! Will you be making one for the 11 inch model as well?

    Have you had the chance to attach the sheet battery – I would like to know if the battery can be easily attached or is a bit tricky like with the Acer S7.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 14, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      I think I’ll have the Pro 11 in a week or so. I’m currently playing with the Duo 13.

      Also, O haven’t seen the battery in real life yet, but if I will, I’ll update the post with some photos.

  4. TermorChrist

    June 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Very good video review, and the website is well done! I’m thrilled by the good focus on flex aspect of Vaio Pro 13 shown. Also the reflection issue due to the glass cover required by the touchscreen has been highlighted appropriately. Your review was very helpful as Sony store in Silicon Valley didn’t carry this machine, not even a demo piece, even on day of launch here (June 9). I was told they won’t have it until end of the month. And you’d figure Sony wants to compete with Apple in premium laptop category… let me have the machine in my hands guys!

    It’s a shame that Sony isn’t offering a non-touch version in US. It’s there in UK, and Japan. Also, in UK you can right now, for a limited time, get free 4yr warranty. Any love for US customers, Sony?

    I think for all the ultrabooks you should also comment on the warranty offered, both standard base and the possible upgrades. If you could include the warranty services reputation, at least in the US, that’d be great. There’s a lot of difference in the quality of service you get from Apple, Dell and ASUS for the similar price, and warranty plan.

    Also, if you could highlight what parts are upgradeable up to what max config (e.g. RAM upgradeable to max 12 GB) that’d be of an immense value. With ultrabooks getting smaller and more packaged such flexibility could be a big decision factor for some.

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 16, 2013 at 4:12 pm

      You’re right about warranty, I’ll try to add that on my future updates.

      I’ll also get a bit more specific about hardware and upgrades IF i can. Since most of my reviews units come directly from manufacturers, i’m not allowed to open them. And the software can only tell you that much…

      Anyway, thanks a lot for the suggestions, much appreciated

  5. Tony Petro

    June 16, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    According to Sony’s own site and several other reviews, the Pro 13 does NOT have a magnesium shell as repeatedly stated here, but is in fact carbon fiber–which would account for the flex, given the nature of the material. Although tolerance for flex is a matter of personal taste, it’s a bit unfair to question the *durability* of the build based on a comparison with inherently rigid magnesium/aluminum.

    (Not a Sony fanboi by any stretch, just looking for accurate info.)

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 16, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      Ups, I though i corrected that magnesium error. I did know, thanks for the heads-up.

      As for the other part, I’m entitled to my opinion as long as you are entitled to yours. I know why the laptop is flexible, that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with it being so bendy… Or that i like it. Look at the Vaio Duo 13. That’s still made from carbon fiber and it’s a lot more durable.

      • Tony Petro

        June 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm

        I’m not saying you’re not entitled to wish it were less bendy–that was my point about personal preference.

        But “durability” is a question of whether something will fail with use over time, and it’s not the case that because something bends that it will ultimately break (same with airframes). Folks who are used to rigid builds may assume that flex means poor quality or materials that will fail over time, and that’s not a sound conclusion in the case of carbon fiber.

      • Tony Petro

        June 16, 2013 at 4:30 pm

        (And just to be clear, I think the way you put it in the review is totally fair. Really appreciate the review, BTW.)

      • Andrei Girbea

        June 16, 2013 at 9:15 pm

        I agree that carbon fiber devices are usually more flexible than those made from magnesium or aluminum. Still, with the laptop bending that much, I can’t help myself wondering what’s the long term impact on the inner components. Yes, the carbon fiber frame flexes and that’s OK, but won’t that stress the motherboard, battery, etc, all the other things inside?

        Not sure if you’re familiar with the Toshiba Portege Z830. A year or so ago, it was advertised as the lightest 13.3 inch ultrabook. it came with a very flexible lid cover. Toshiba said everything was tested to support pressure, etc etc. But have a look on the forums, there are plenty complaining that the screen has cracked and that is not covered by warranty.

        That’s why I question the long term reliability of the pro. Hopefully, I’m wrong to do it, we’ll see. It’s not really the same story as with the Toshiba here, as the screen frame is in fact sturdy. But still…

  6. Ruoqian

    June 16, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Hi,Andrei Girbea
    This is a great review!It really helps me a lot.However,I’m still considering between pro and mba.Sony has got much better screen (even with touch), NFC, sexy appearance,super light and so on. Whereas Air comes with even longer battery life, and a faster SSD,a slightly graphics performance(even i have no idea how much that HD5000 is better than HD 4400),and most importantly, $200 cheaper in AUS! Well, for that $200, air would have 256GB instead of 128GB, however SONY Store here is offering a NFC bluetooth headphone which they calm worth $199.

    Well,would you please give me some idea about which one to pick. currently I don’t have an ultrabook and i don’t really want to wait any more.Thank you so much!

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 16, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      There are some things i really like about the MBA: the keyboard, the trackpad, the overall build quality. And now the battery life, on this Haswell versions.

      Sony’s Pro is however lighter than the MBA and has all the other things that you mentioned. If you’re not happy with the battery life, you can get the slice battery as well and together, the Pro is pushed to an advertised battery life of 16 hours (more like 12 in practice).

      However, the Sony seems quite expensive. Hopefully there will be discounts in the future, maybe you can wait on those. Otherwise, if you’re ok with OSX and don’t care much about a touchscreen, the MBA is a great pick. Especially since you get a better config for the same price, as a 128 GB SSD (out of which only about 75 ish are usable for stuff) is too small for a daily driver. Can’t comment on the headphones, but i don’t know if that should matter much in this decision :P

      • Ruoqian

        June 17, 2013 at 6:13 am

        Thank you so much for your reply. So,let’s talk about pro or air itself.What you think of those two laptops when 13′ compare to 11′? I also confused with size too.sign…

      • Andrei Girbea

        June 17, 2013 at 10:58 am

        could you be more specific? I don’t understand what you’re asking here :)

      • Ruoqian

        June 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm

        LOL,sorry and never mind about that. Would you please tell me what you think about when we compare the screen between pro 13 and mba 13? How much that sony is better than apple? But would apple’s resolution still acceptable?

        Moreover, I didn’t really try the touchpad on pro, seems not that good. Can you please tell me something more about that?

        Thank you so much!

      • Andrei Girbea

        June 19, 2013 at 8:46 am

        there’s a higher resolution touchscreen on the pro, and a non glare lower resolution one on the air. still, it’s OK.

        the touchpad on the AIR IS for sure better than the one on the pro

      • skyfly007

        August 26, 2013 at 2:05 pm

        So great review of the sony Vaio Pro 13. I just feel it in real on the market, all you mentioned aspect I feel same. I am a Chinese guy, forget my chinglish, i still wandering between apple air and this one. I like sony’s screen and the weight, but i don’t like the flexible. it’s feel so unsafe, is this could bend the motherboard , i don’t know. otherwise, apple air is 300 gram heavy than sony, but it feel stronger than pro, so here’s my question for you, these two laptop , which one your prefer to buy?

      • Andrei Girbea

        August 26, 2013 at 6:06 pm

        depends. the MBA is great if you want something cheaper with a great keyboard and long battery life, the sony offers a touchscreen, lighter body and windows 8 for $150 extra. your call

      • fly007

        August 27, 2013 at 8:16 am

        Thanks a lot! I decide to buy a mac air, just as your advice that i don’t need touch screen, i don’t like win8.

  7. J

    June 19, 2013 at 3:48 am


    So good reading your review, I’m in the market for buying a windows based ultraportable that is based on the new haswell architecture. I had a few questions (after reading your review)

    1. Does the machine get excessively hot? If so, at what point in time? Normal use or heavy gaming use?
    2. How bad is the trackpad (if you rate MBA at 10/10) how would you rank this one? Is two finger scrolling really very bad in the trackpad? Could a future driver/software update fix that?


    • Andrei Girbea

      June 19, 2013 at 8:54 am

      1. No, it doesn’t. Even when playing games, it doesn’t. But can get a bit louder when pushed
      2. I’d say it’s a… 6. It’s not that bad, but there’s definitely room for improvements

      • J

        June 19, 2013 at 2:27 pm

        Thanks for the quick comment! I’m wondering whether it makes sense to buy a laptop knowing that the keyboard is lackluster. I like how light it is, but the fan noise with the poor keyboard makes me wonder if I should bite the bullet and just get a MBA and run windows (bootcamp) all the time.

        What would your thoughts be on that!

        Thanks :)

      • Andrei Girbea

        June 19, 2013 at 3:19 pm

        It really depends on how much value you put on the keyboard. for me, that’s extremely important, that’s why I probably focus a lot on that in my reviews

        As for the noise, the Duo 13 is not noisier than most other ultrabooks and like I said in the article, most of time the fans are actually off. so that shouldn’t be an issue.

        Now, before going for the MBA (which is definitely a very good machine, don’t get me wrong) you might want to wait for Lenovo’s and maybe Asus’s take on Haswell ultrabooks. Maybe those will suit your needs better…

  8. Amitai

    June 20, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Can I edit 1080p video and photos with this ultrabook without lags and such?

  9. Magnus

    June 24, 2013 at 12:43 pm


    Many thx for snappy review(s). However, I’m a bit puzzled as to how many different graphics performance results on the Vaio Pro there are out there :S

    You say, for instance, 3DMark 11 entry score is E996. But on the entry score is as high as E1431.

    Moreover (sorry for less irrelevance regarding your review..) Notebookcheck has posted a 3DMark 11 P600 (based on Laptopmag’s review), which correlates with your P600. BUT that will then place the Vaio Pro beneath “older” ultrabooks (with discrete HD 4000 graphics) such as Acer Aspire S7 and Kirabook, which in fact is contradicted by others:,…

    I have ordered the Pro Vaio 13, so I am in line for a delivery, but all these contradictions make me a bit uneasy as regards my anticipations on the Pro’s grahpics performance !


    • Andrei Girbea

      June 25, 2013 at 7:44 am

      I posted the results I got on this particular unit, which was an engineering sample. There’s a slight chance final retail units will get better results, but not THAT much better. Even so, benchmarks don’t tell the whole story and I did get way better in-game results on the Vaio Duo 13 I tested with the exact same configuration.

  10. Steven

    July 18, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Hi Andrei:

    Thank you for the review.

    Just wanted your opinion.

    I am tempted to buy this ultrabook especially there is a australian website flingshot is offering vaio pro 13 for Au$1198 valid until friday. However I would like to know how long will this SSD last. Is this ssd Single layered or multilayered? Also do you know if any SSD in any ultrabook lasted more than 5 years? Is the SSD on pro upgradable manually?

    Secondly my main consideration is price, an ultrabook with touch screen and haswell, this ultrabook seems to be cheapest compare to Toshiba Kira, lenovo carbon x1 touch. If I wait until December, do you think Sony will produce a better pro with similar price or will other competitor like asus, lenovo and Toshiba comes up with a ultrabook haswell touch laptop with a price close to Vaio pro?

  11. Vish Periyasamy

    July 29, 2013 at 8:29 am

    You have the best reviews on all ultrabooks I have searched through for the last month so I thought I might ask you this: Several (and by several I mean a very large quantity) of customer reviews I have read have complained about a severe wifi problem that has become known. I realize you don’t spend too much time with each computer you review but I was wondering if you ever noticed a wifi problem that disconnects you repeatedly. I was thoroughly convinced on buying this machine until I discovered this problem as it would be a major deal breaker for me to deal with such an inconvenience.

  12. Thomas Waldmann

    August 13, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    You mentioned that the i7 based version has Iris/HD5xxx graphics.

    I just wanted to add that for the currently offered configurations (in the US and in Germany), that is NOT the case. They have a i7-4500U which has a HD4400 graphics unit.

  13. Jerry

    August 19, 2013 at 3:54 am

    Hey Andrei, which laptop would you choose between the sony vaio pro, Acer aspire s7 and the zenbook prime ux31a? Thanks for any feedback and awesome review!!!

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 19, 2013 at 7:38 am

      I care a lot about battery life, so I’d probably get either the Sony or the Acer. The Sony is cheaper, but the Acer is a lot more solid and less bendy.

      As for the prime, not sure which version you’re talking about, but it’s still a good pick if you want to save some money or just want a laptop with a non-glare screen

  14. Chan

    September 21, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Can you pls advise which is better; vaio pro13 i7 256ssd or duo 13 i5 128ssd? I want to get one of them but cannot decide which one to get.

  15. Hector Lopez

    November 3, 2013 at 2:04 am

    Congratulations you have one of the best ultrabook review websites of the internet. I have Vish Periyasamy same question: Several (and by several I mean a very large quantity) of customer reviews I have read have complained about a severe wifi problem that has become known. I realize you don’t spend too much time with each computer you review but I was wondering if you ever noticed a wifi problem that disconnects you repeatedly. I was thoroughly convinced on buying this machine until I discovered this problem as it would be a major deal breaker for me to deal with such an inconvenience. Please we would like to know your experience about this issue. Thanks in advance, Regards.

    • Andrei Girbea

      November 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      Yes, the Wi-Fi problems are real. During my time with the Pro 13, I have encountered some Wi-Fi issues as well, as mentioned in the article.

      • George

        November 11, 2013 at 9:35 pm

        Hi! first of all, just found this website and im loving it! congrats for the great reviews.

        Im looking for a business oriented ultrabook for a new job (company will pay for it) and I’ve been offered both the Sony Vaio Pro and the Asus Zenbook Infinity. I was going for the Sony for its 1,06kg, the display and the price (around 350€ cheaper), but started reading about the WiFi problems.

        I work as an IT consultant and I was already finding hard the absence of straight ethernet port. The WiFi dongle doesn’t convince me at all and I’m not sure about the typical USB-to-RJ45 dongles working with wireshark or tcpdump utilities. On top of that, WiFi seems to be a real problem with this laptop so im really worried about picking the Sony, and telling my company the laptop I chose was a total fail and I need them to pay for another one…

        My first choice was the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus, but I havent been able to find it yet in Spain, and I believe it to be the most expensive of the 3.

        Any recommendations if I should go for the Sony and ignore the wifi related problems commented, go for the Zenbook (still haven’t found any negative stuff about them) or try to push harder and make them buy me the Samsung in case I can find a retailer?

        Thank you!

      • Andrei Girbea

        November 14, 2013 at 9:53 pm

        I wouldn’t go for the Sony, personally. Over flexible and wi-fi problems.

        The UX301 is a good laptop, as you might have seen from the review. Haven’t heard bad things about it eider. The ATIV is good as well, but lacks the higher power processors of the UX301, has a shallower keyboard and less ports. It’s a matter of personal experience between the two.

        As a business laptop, you should consider the Lenovo Thinkpad X240 or the THinkpad Yoga as well. Powerful and strong, with awesome keyboards and long battery life

      • alex j

        December 18, 2013 at 6:54 pm

        Hy Andrei,

        My budget here in Romania is about 5000 lei (1200-1300 euro). I love the Vaio Pro 13. In this budget is there any other quality ultra portable, non-glare, minimum HD+, non-touch? I am in offices a lot, and I want to carry all over with my agenda. My tablet is not enough. Thank you

      • Andrei Girbea

        December 19, 2013 at 9:40 am

        Non-glare is an issue with most modern ultrabooks, since Intel imposes these laptops to have touchscreen these days.

        Personally, I’d look at the Lenovo Thinkpad Carbon X1, if you’re fine with Ivy Bridge and about 4-5 hours of everyday use. Might be a bit outside the budget though. The Vaio Pro 13 is a decent options, however, there’s one thing to be aware of: potential wireless issues. If you’ll go through user reviews online, you’ll see that many are complaining about wi-fi dropping out of the blue. It happened to me too on the test model. If you’re willing to take a chance, then the Pro 13 should do fine. But it may as well turn out to be a big pain in the… :)

      • Thomas Waldmann

        November 15, 2013 at 9:56 am

        I got a SVP13 as a successor for my 4.5y old Thinkpad X300.
        I waited for such a machine for years (everything else before just didn’t meet my requirements) and I was surprised Sony finally made it.

        I have removed Windows 8 from it, put Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on it + the latest linux kernel and I don’t have wireless issues. 2 rooms / 2 walls away from wifi router and it works (22MBit/s throughput from internet).

        What I like:
        * battery life – 10 hours in practice with linux (5h for each battery, have the int. + ext. battery) (*)
        * lightweight machine (*)
        * full hd, non-glare, non-touch ips panel, good colours (*)
        * 8gb ram (some other ultrabooks are limited to 4) (*)
        * good price (*)
        * with low load, fan noise is low/ok
        * linux compatibility (with latest kernel)
        * it first discharges the ext. battery, putting most cycles on that one
        * power supply has usb charging port (that is also/alternatively used for that little dockable wifi/lan router I also have)
        * 4y warranty for not too much (*)
        * Intel VT (this should be a normal feature with CPUs supporting it, but Sony failed here badly in the past with BIOSes having that locked away)

        (*) features that some other ultrabooks or similar machines just don’t have.

        What I dislike:
        * sharp edges
        * i miss the trackpoint that Thinkpads usually have, don’t like touchpads
        * the flexing is usually not an issue, but if you don’t have the machine standing on a flat surface and you put quite some load onto left and right handrest, it may flex enough so that a touchpad click is triggered.
        * the win 8 usb recovery media it built for me didn’t work starting from an empty SSD. as I don’t like win8 anway, no big loss for me.
        * black case – i would have preferred white or some other rather light colour. Black looks “cool”, but if you dare to go outside in the summer, black just attracts too much heat.
        * Sony offers BIOS updates as *.EXE only.

        Hope that helps.

      • Paul

        December 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm

        Thanks! Your comments about ubuntu on the vaio pro were very helpful. Particularly pleased to see the slice battery is used properly.

  16. Hank

    December 30, 2013 at 1:43 am


    Seeing the video I have a question.
    By default there is no wireless built-in into the laptop?
    So if the charger is not connected to the laptop then there is no WIFI nor Ethernet?


    • Thomas Waldmann

      January 9, 2014 at 12:07 am

      There is WiFi built-in, but there is no wired ethernet (the plug would be rather big and there is not much space).

      Sony sells a small WiFi router that can be powered from the USB outlet at the charger (or any other USB power), so it works like this:

      Laptop Router

      I have that router, it’s quite nice. Also the HDMI/VGA adapter works good.

  17. Hank

    January 28, 2014 at 11:17 pm


    I bought this laptop and I’d like to share some experiences.
    First of all the world wide warranty is just very limited. So Sony will deal with warranty issues, however, repair time can be up to 90 days (if they do not have part for that specific region).

    Secondly. Here or other forum somebody mentioned possible motherbard problem in future due to the flexibility (many layer circuit).
    In case of the i7 version I did not experienced the same flexibility. I think Sony tried to improve some.
    However I discovered a serious and very annoying problem.
    When the machine is not on a hard surface, but on my legs above my knees and I try to type, then usually both of my wrist is on the laptop. (I use linux.) In this case the mouse lose the focus from the current window. Another example. The Midnight commander (like the norton commander or windows commander) two panels file utility) change focus of the panel from left to right (always this direction and this is similar when you press tab button, however tab is supposed to change between panels).
    If I decrease the pressure on the surface of the laptop of any of my wrist then problem disappear.

    Also integrating the mouse button into the touch part of the touchpad is a bad idea. I need to learn again how to use the mouse, otherwise the dual touch can cause surprises.

    It is very annoying you can not move the display back too much. You need to decrease you chair’s height or increase the laptop height or use external devices if you do not want some ergonomic issue in your neck (as the ideal position would be front of you without moving up or down your head too much)

    Fedora is already supporting this laptop from Fedora 20 (currently the most recent) version. Probably earlier can start, but installation disk started to load something (kernel, etc.) then blank screen and sometimes lights were changing of the keyboard. For linux you need to switch off the secure boot (so you will not notify if a new software added itself to the boot order or created a new EFI partition)
    Also you need to add libata.force=noncq to the line starting with linux or linuxefi (depending on your boot)

    For me the sharp edges were not that bad as I expected.

    I hope these will help before you buy this laptop.

    Good luck!

  18. Hank

    January 29, 2014 at 12:06 am

    I mean on “Fedora 20 supports” it is handling at least the high resolution screen, sound, touch screen, touch pad with dual touch, wifi, USB.
    I have not tested the NFC or Bluetooth yet.
    Also the above suggested kernel parameter need for SSDs only (so theoretically to all vaio pro 13).
    One more strange thing: the mouse click button part of the touch pad. It is divided into two parts. Left half is the left button, right half is the right one. For me the left side of the left part does not work. So need to go towards the right button to be able to click with the left (almost at the middle while I should not forget this is a touch pad so if I move my finger to the middle the mouse will move as well… This is very annoying and I think this is warranty problem or a serious design problem.

  19. Steve Lu

    June 18, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks for the great review! I’m thinking about buying it, but I just have one question. That wifi dongle, does it come with the ultrabook or is it being sold separately?

    • Andrei Girbea

      June 18, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      It comes with it in most countries, but not everywhere, from what I’ve seen

      • Steve Lu

        June 18, 2014 at 6:06 pm

        I guess. I’ve watched a couple of unboxing videos on YouTube, and I couldn’t see it in some packages. I guess I need to ask the local Sony shop here to find out if it’s available here :)
        Thank you!

  20. yangzi

    December 22, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Great review, objective and useful. Actually you give me an answer what ultrabook I should buy. I read all you reviews and I choose the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro i7 (best fit for me, I don’t want to start any flames about which is the best). Keep going. Congrats!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *