Sony VAIO Pro 13: Performance

In most areas, the performance of the VAIO Pro 13 is more than sufficient. Loading up Windows and common applications, surfing the web, and even video encoding (especially with an application that supports Quick Sync) are all plenty fast. There are faster laptops out there, certainly, but they don't have anywhere near this level of portability. Here's our standard selection of performance metrics, and you can see that the VAIO Pro 13 is basically in line with other Ultrabooks. Note that most of the other Ultrabooks have used Core i7 ULV processors, so here the VAIO Pro 13 is at a disadvantage. The cores specs for the tested laptops are listed in the table below, and additional benchmark results are available in Mobile Bench.

Overview of Laptops in Charts
Laptop CPU GPU Storage RAM LCD Battery
Acer R7-571-6858 Intel Core i5-3317U HD 4000 500GB HDD + 24GB SSD 1x4GB + 1x2GB 15.6” 1080p Glossy AHVA Touchscreen 4-cell 54Wh
Acer S7-391-9886 Intel Core i7-3517U HD 4000 2x128GB RAID 0 SSDs 2x2GB 13.3” 1080p Glossy AHVA Touchscreen 4-cell 35Wh
Acer V7-482PG-9884 Intel Core i7-4500U GT750M DDR3 / HD 4400 1TB HDD + 24GB SSD 1x4GB + 1x8GB 14” 1080p Glossy AHVA Touchscreen 4-cell 54Wh
AMD Kabini Prototype AMD A4-5000 HD 8330 256GB SSD 1x4GB 14” 1080p Matte IPS 6-cell 45Wh
Apple MacBook Air 13 (2013) Intel Core i5-4250U HD 5000 128GB PCIe SSD 2x2GB 13.3” 1440x900 Glossy TN 4-cell 54Wh
Dell XPS 12 Intel Core i7-3517U HD 4000 256GB SSD 2x4GB 13.3” 1080p Glossy IPS Touchscreen 4-cell 47Wh
Dell XPS 13 Intel Core i5-3337U HD 4000 256GB SSD 2x4GB 13.3” 1080p Glossy IPS 6-cell 47Wh
Sony VAIO Pro 13 Intel Core i5-4200U HD 4400 128GB PCIe SSD 2x2GB 13.3” 1080p Glossy IPS Touchscreen 3-cell 37Wh

PCMark 7 (2013)

Cinebench R11.5 - Single-Threaded Benchmark

Cinebench R11.5 - Multi-Threaded Benchmark

x264 HD 5.x

x264 HD 5.x

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

Futuremark 3DMark (2013)

In our general performance graphs, here we get another results showing that Haswell isn't really any faster than Ivy Bridge in most tests (unless it has a GT3/GT3e iGPU, or in specific tests that leverage the new instructions). Move to the 3DMark results and the VAIO Pro 13 doesn't really look so hot. It's now clearly slower than the Core i7 Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks, which isn't something I'd expect from 20 EUs. Either Intel actually has slower EUs in Haswell than in Ivy Bridge, or Sony is curbing performance of the iGPU to keep within their desired thermal range. Our gaming results continue this trend:

Bioshock Infinite - Value

Company of Heroes 2 - Value

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - Value

GRID 2 - Value

Metro: Last Light - Value

Sleeping Dogs - Value

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm - Value

Tomb Raider - Value

Other than in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and Tomb Raider, the VAIO Pro 13 ends up being slower than every other Intel Ultrabook that we've tested. The Acer V7 isn't technically an Ultrabook, though it's close enough in many respects, but we can see just how much even a moderate dGPU adds in terms of performance. We also have some results for Crystalwell (i7-4750HQ) in Mobile Bench that we're not including here, and GT3e is much faster as well (though the Clevo W740SU doesn't do all that well in the battery life department). Perhaps GT3 would help the VAIO Pro 13, but several games seemed to have issues maintaining higher iGPU clocks – Metro for instance showed cyclic higher/lower performance during the benchmark runs. It's mostly a moot point, though, as outside of light gaming the HD 4400 simply isn't fast enough to handle a lot of games.

Sony VAIO Pro 13 Subjective Evaluation Sony VAIO Pro 13: Excellent Battery Life
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  • Drumsticks - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    Two months ago or so Sony had an awesome sale (presumably back to school) on this. I helped my friend pick out the Vaio Pro 13 with the 4200U, 8GB Ram, and a 256GB SSD for $1200 or so. I thought it was a pretty decent deal at the time, especially given the relative rarity of haswell ultrabooks at the time. The SSD upgrade was only $120 and I think RAM upgrade was about $50. I think we might have added the battery sheet at some point.

    Then of course her (rich and trying in every way to spoil her great daughter), against any advice I could muster, found the need to throw in a 512GB SSD (SEVEN HUNDRED dollar upgrade), the i7, and some other obnoxiously useless upgrades for a friend of mine who browses facebook and simply needed a nice laptop for class. End price ended up being about $2500.

    But regardless, if this can be had on sale I think it's definitely a great choice. Personally, I think I want the Asus you mentioned as soon as it's out!
  • Drumsticks - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    Oh yeah, great review, thanks!
  • kevin_newell - Thursday, October 9, 2014 - link

    It's nice I agree! But it doesn't change the fact that Sony VAIO Pro 13 stands no chance to some of the top laptops on the market. /Kevin from
  • teiglin - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    Yeah I bought just a bit ahead of that sale; I was super annoyed when I saw it. With that sale, the Vaio Pros were actually a bit cheaper than a lot of the higher-end Ivy ultrabooks available at the time. It was something like $50 off the RAM/CPU upgrades, $100 off the 256GB SSD upgrade, $50 off the sheet battery, and a $100 rebate to boot.

    I don't really know who they're trolling with that $720 512GB SSD upgrade. I'm really glad I can live okay in 256GB. And $2500 sounds about right for the fully-kitted out version--if I had more money than sense, I'd love to tote around the red version they sell ( - $2600!).
  • Brutalizer - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    Gamin sucks, but it seems to be a great laptop, because it is small. If only you could connect an external graphics card everything would be good. I saw someone modded an Mac book Air to use an external graphics card. Can this be modded too?
  • purerice - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    "Modding" in that case essentially means they used a Thunderbolt/Lightpeak cable to connect to an externally housed GPU. Technically you could also do that with Firewire or USB but even USB3.0 bandwidth is so limited that you would be better off with the Intel graphics.

    In the case of the Macbook, Somebody was guessing the cost of the housing at $200-$250 without a GPU. That would put the cost of a good GPU+case at $350-$500. For some people it would be worth it, for others not so much.
  • hodakaracer96 - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    "The keyboard gets a pass, but I’d rate it a B rather than an A" I think you mean touchpad.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    Thanks, corrected. :-)
  • Samus - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    Considering Sony's reputation for making short-life laptops it's hard to justify dishing out a months rent on something that will probably fail right after the warranty expires. Practically every VAIO I've ever come across beginning with the Transmetta Crusoe ultraportable's a decade ago have had chronic overheating problems, failed hard disks (from overheating) and terrible, terrible, terrible driver and warranty support.

    Some people think HP and Dell are bad, but man you haven't seen anything until you've owned a Sony. 4 week turnaround time on warranty repairs for something that was likely purchased at a price premium over the competition. They are pretty machines, but if you want something pretty with decent reliability at this price, why would you pass up a MacBook Air 13?
  • br1an - Thursday, October 17, 2013 - link

    I've owned several Vaios but only needed one warranty experience (in the UK) and it was excellent. The collection and turnaround time was very quick (4 business days from pickup to return) and they checked and replaced a whole lot of stuff that wasn't within the specified scope of the warranty claim. Okay it wasn't major technical stuff - the palmrest cover had unglued on my F series, which they replaced - but they also replaced the fan, the whole keyboard and trackpad because they felt it needed it. Also nice were all the updates so I knew exactly what was going on - even DHL were announcing delivery with automated option to reschedule or re-address.

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