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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So close to being great
So over a month's use here my honest opinion of the laptop, some of it will be relevant only to me but some will be relevant to everyone and a bit of advice to anyone who is thinking about getting one.

What Sony have built here is an ultrabook that is so close to being great but for a number of irritating things.

I have been a fan of Sony for a long...
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer

versus
93 of 98 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Impressive ultrabook, but buyer beware....
A bit of a long review for reasons that will become apparent, so apologies in advance. The main hardware review is about halfway down.

This arrives in a nicely presented black box, and upon opening it, you have the laptop at the top and the accessories underneath. It looks and feels good unpacking it.
There was no power at all in the laptop which I found...
Published 10 months ago by Mrenshaw


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93 of 98 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Impressive ultrabook, but buyer beware...., 30 Aug 2013
By 
Mrenshaw (Manchester) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sony VAIO SVP1321M2E 13.3-inch Ultrabook (Black) - (Intel Core i5 1.6GHz Processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB Solid State Drive, Intel HD Graphics 4400, HD Touchscreen, Windows 8) (Personal Computers)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A bit of a long review for reasons that will become apparent, so apologies in advance. The main hardware review is about halfway down.

This arrives in a nicely presented black box, and upon opening it, you have the laptop at the top and the accessories underneath. It looks and feels good unpacking it.
There was no power at all in the laptop which I found unusual, but sticking in the power plug it soon fired up. Once clicking through all the windows install information I was presented with the new Windows 8 metro interface which is where things started to go wrong......

The Ultrabook is billed as touch screen, and indeed Windows 8 reports a full touch screen enabled in Tablet PC settings. Just one problem. It didn't work. I initially thought it was that the wrong model had been sent (despite the "touch the screen" sticker on the bezel).

After checking the settings in Windows (which thinks there is a touch screen there and enabled) to downloading drivers and posting support comments I didn't manage to get the touch screen working.
The tools that Sony supply are reasonable, but limited - my problem with the touch screen wasn't listed in any of the diagnostics available. Running the Vaio Update, you get a web page saying that the Vaio is not recognised, but manually typing the model number (as shown on the Vaio care screen) in does indeed take you to the support page. Shoddy work.

I decided to go back to factory defaults to try to resolve the issue with the touch screen and the create recovery media process seems to be fine, and you stick in a USB stick and it formats and copies files to it. It's only after it doesn't boot that I found a small line hidden away that USB3 sticks are not supported. After putting in a USB2 stick, it then booted, and I got to choose regional settings then it booted into Windows 8 again.
After spending a few minutes registering with Sony, and filling out the form for support I get the message "e-mail support is not available at this time due to maintenance." Not very helpful, at all and maybe put this in before typing the mail?!?!

Eventually I contacted Sony who were very helpful and talked me through some basic steps such as resetting the BIOS and doing a full restore. After none of this worked they collected the laptop the next day, with lots of SMS txts informing me of the progress - very impressive. The guy on the phone was keen to stress about the excellent service that would be received from Sony each and every time.

However I heard nothing then until I chased it via mail and got a call from a nice chap at the Sony returns centre saying that they were awaiting delivery of parts (touch screen I understand, but also 2 other items including a foot for the base!) to fix it and it should be done by the Friday (called on a Tuesday). Another two weeks went by and I called them again to be told that the part had not arrived yet and there was no date in when it was due. They obviously couldn't tell me when the unit would be returned to me. I have mailed Sony again directly after this conversation but had no reply. This is a product that was new out of the box. I was told that this is standard Sony policy and they would only replace with a new unit if there were multiple faults (!)

To put this into context, the Sony Vaio arrived on the 20th July, after spending a few days trying to get it to work, it was returned to Sony on the 25th. On the 30th August I got a what appeared to be a new unit (although the box seal was broken and the PSU wasn't new). But I suspect this is because I had contacted Sony PR from an address that I found on the web and let them know what had occurred so far and that it was for review on Amazon. From my initial contact with Sony PR, I had a replacement unit in ten days. I'd like to think this was standard, but it was only replaced after I started sending mails.

If this wasn't a review item and I had purchased it then I would have cancelled this immediately. The service was totally terrible, and it's unacceptable that it took six weeks to replace a new from the box product (which took lots of chasing to resolve). By comparison, I had an issue with an Apple product and one call was all it took for it to be sorted - polar opposite of Sony!)

Anyhow.....

Using the replacement unit, I found the ultrabook nice to use, and blisteringly fast - from cold, you can be on the Windows 8 desktop in less than 3 seconds. This is very, very impressive and beats anything else I've ever seen.
The carbon fibre shell is very light and the black case makes it look like a "classic" Sony product. It is also very light (about the same weight as a iPad). However the screen is very flimsy, as is the keyboard - the case can actually flex in use, which isn't reassuring.

On the none working model, I thought the touch screen was just a gimmick and not much use, but to be fair to both Microsoft and Sony, the integration on the Vaio is very well done. The screen is very responsive in use (it only requires a light touch so the flexing isn't really an issue) and there is a faint trail when you move your finger on the screen - no sign of the mouse pointer, but a very nice and unobtrusive way of showing you where you are touching. Flicking on the left side of the screen switches apps (almost like a full screen task switcher) and is useful. Swiping on the right side of the screen gives you the charm menu to do tasks such as search and shut down.

Lots has been written about Windows 8 as an OS, and yes it's quite different from other operating systems, and there are some odd things (I had to google how to close apps - ended up using top left charm menu to do in the end) that don't make sense, but it works okay and the touchscreen on the Vaio was superbly integrated to the point that I ended up using it far more than I expected. Oddly it also resisted fingerprints which was handy as saved on constant cleaning!

Hardware wise, I generally use a MacBook Air but the Vaio is lighter and faster than this (although the case on the Vaio is a touch bigger by a few mm). There are a couple of USB3 ports on the side, as well as headphones and SD card reader but no Kensington lock port which is odd for such a high value item.

Although the spec isn't amazing by today's standards (i5 1.6Ghz CPU & 4Gb RAM), the SSD more than makes up for this and provides very fast memory swaps and file transfers.

Be aware that the SSD is only 128Gb however, and even after removing all the "wonderful" free software (Mcafee, Intel app store, ebay and so on) there was only 71Gb available so some form of external storage will be required if you need more space. I also managed to create a recovery disk on the same USB3 stick that didn't work on the faulty Vaio.

One big issue I had is that the fan also came on far too often and was very noisy - quite obvious it was there. Even changing the settings to silent in one of the Sony tools didn't do much to reduce the noise. It basically just turns the fan off when idle, as soon as you start doing something then it kicks in again and it's not a good feature. It also tended to get hotter than you would expect, even with the fan running.

There seemed to be some built in power management as the screen would dim after a few seconds then brighten up again - quickly fixed but changing the power settings to 90% brightness. The screen is very sharp and vibrant, it renders colours well and is easy to look at for long periods. It's a full HD panel and running a 1080p movie on it looks gorgeous. The Vaio also has a handy HDMI connector on it.

The wifi performance was pretty poor and it took quite a while to copy files from a wireless N router which was a shame.

Keyboard and touchpad were comfy to use for long periods, although I got in the habit of using the screen for quick prompt boxes. Not much to say about battery life, but off a full charge I easily got about 5 hours from it with more remaining.

The Sony Vaio Ultrabook is one of the fastest laptops I've ever seen but the lack of support and touch screen issue just ruined the entire experience. Based on the intermittent after sales communication and service, I'd not recommend one to anyone and would pay the higher premium for a cheaper netbook or even a MacBook Air (where they do good after sales service!)

But even with that in mind, this review was originally one star, based on the support, but the overall (working!) laptop is actually pretty good and although it's too expensive for what it is, if you're a fan of Sony kit then you'll probably like this (especially with the free Windows 8.1 upgrade about to be released). It's very fast and light, but let down by the frequent fan noise and poor wifi and terrible support.

Sorry for the long review, but I wanted to capture the entire experience to make people aware of the issues I experienced before spending a lot of money on this Ultrabook.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So close to being great, 16 Oct 2013
This review is from: Sony VAIO SVP1321M2E 13.3-inch Ultrabook (Black) - (Intel Core i5 1.6GHz Processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB Solid State Drive, Intel HD Graphics 4400, HD Touchscreen, Windows 8) (Personal Computers)
So over a month's use here my honest opinion of the laptop, some of it will be relevant only to me but some will be relevant to everyone and a bit of advice to anyone who is thinking about getting one.

What Sony have built here is an ultrabook that is so close to being great but for a number of irritating things.

I have been a fan of Sony for a long time and I always wanted to own the top of the range Sony laptop. I finally splashed out on the Vaio Pro 13 because I heard good things and after a month's use this is what I found and I hope this will help anyone who is thinking about getting one.

The Good:

- This thing just oozes style. Far from the generic MacBook Air clone this thing looks amazing. Of course this is a matter of personal taste.
- The carbon fibre body is nice but it bothers a lot of people because it feels less sturdy and that is definitely true but to be honest it just didn't bother me one bit. However, I do think it causes other problems. Read on.
- Touch screen. You might think this is a bit gimmicky but I actually find myself using it a lot more than I thought I would especially using Google Maps.
- Hardware is as good as any.

The Bad:
- Touch pad. This is BAD. A big problem that the touchpad has is that it makes a clicking noise (not when you are clicking) but when you simply lift your finger away from it and this is VERY annoying. When you are using the touchpad rapidly it is just a stream of hollow clicks and I think this is down to the carbon fibre.
- Noise. This has always been a problem for Sony laptops but the fan noise is ridiculous especially having used the Samsung series 9 which is completely silent. If you leave it in the "Standard" or "Performance" mode you will be embarrassed by the noise because it is so loud. And here is my advice for anyone thinking about buying one. There is no point getting the i7 model because you will be using the ultrabook only in silent mode and that caps your CPU. You will just be paying for something you never use.
- Price. This thing is expensive and for me possibly a bit too expensive for its faults but I am a sucker for Sony and a good looking laptop.

I hope this is helpful but let me know if you have any questions.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good computer!, 25 Sep 2013
This review is from: Sony VAIO SVP1321M2E 13.3-inch Ultrabook (Black) - (Intel Core i5 1.6GHz Processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB Solid State Drive, Intel HD Graphics 4400, HD Touchscreen, Windows 8) (Personal Computers)
I bought this computer because right now is the only one in the market with this combination of weight, battery life, thickness and monitor quality. Here is the bad and the good.

Bad things:

* Ugly trackpad driver, the engineers at Synaptics are a bunch of amateurs is my impression. A pity, because their hardware is good enough.
* It has Windows 8, which can and should be greatly improved. Oh how I wish there were some competing OS that could be installed in this specific hardware configuration...

Good things:

* Very light
* Excellent battery life.
* Keyboard is wonderful, even for touch-typing geeks like me.
* Beautiful monitor.
* The i7 version that I have is oh so fast... none of my desktop computers can match it.
* Overall the computer is beautiful, well met Sony.

The Wifi: It works well enough at least in the one that I have, but be sure to update Intel's wifi driver. Since there has been some turmoil about this model's wifi, my advice is do not buy it if you think that the matter can drive you mad. And if you buy it, get also one of these Asus USB-N66 450MBps USB 2.0 Wireless Dual-Band USB Ethernet Adapter to quell any connectivity-related anxieties...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic in theory but let down by lack of testing, 2 Mar 2014
By 
A. Jones "arkid" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I loved this laptop to start with. I read on-line about the horrid wifi connectivity even before mine had arrived. Luckily I don't use it out of the house much and it was always close to a router. Still this is a serious problem. Ive since also realised that the bluetooth support seems to be incredibly weak. I have a quality Microsoft BT mouse that I have now been able to test on other systems and it works fine, yet on the this laptop it cuts out constantly every 5/10 minutes.

Unfortunately the fan in mine has now started to stick with the chassis. This has occurred after some 6/7 months of ownership. This is clearly not by design. My fan is now 10 times louder than it ever used to get and when your fingers are in contact with the keyboard the vibrations are extreme.

I can tell that the fan is rubbing the interior walls of the fan casing. At first the problem started by lifting the laptop which would often flex its rather malleable frame just enough to make the problem occur. This shows just how tiny the interior space for the fan obviously is. It makes after all considering how thin the case of the laptop is... I would have just hoped that they had made some of the internals of stronger material to stop this kind of thing happening.

Within a week the fan started to catch the casing the entire time its running. If you lift the laptop now its even possible to disable the fan altogether as the fan must have hit the interior fan wall and just stopped stuck there. In this situation the laptop then shuts itself down in a panic some 5-10 minutes later having got too hot.

It's such a shame... I want my laptop fixed but it seems that a second is just going to do the same.

I've also had horrible experiences dealing with what Sony call after care. Not looking forward to the RMA process but will update with results down the road..
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great laptop with one enormous flaw, 11 Nov 2013
By 
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This review is from: Sony VAIO SVP1321M2E 13.3-inch Ultrabook (Black) - (Intel Core i5 1.6GHz Processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB Solid State Drive, Intel HD Graphics 4400, HD Touchscreen, Windows 8) (Personal Computers)
This is a great laptop, filled with cutting edge technology. A lot of though has gone into it. As always with VAIO, it oozes style. They've made some great compromises in order to achieve almost impossible weightlessness and looks. They've sacrificed the NIC card and the graphic card; invented a great micro-router that acts as a wireless bypass for the network cable. It's all there - great though, innovation, looks, technology. Let's not even mention the screen, VAIO's famous ace in the hole or greatly imnproved speakers...

All the worse that maybe the most critical component on a laptop - the trackpad - is the worst I've ever worked with. It's completely useless. I am a programmer and have to navigate small areas of screen, frequently coding in the cramped airplane seats. This trackpad is so bad that if I could easily reconsider, I'd most probably exchange this laptop.

It's all about what you want. If you don't need to move around the screen with speed and agility and are looking for a head-turner and a techno-conversation piece, go for it. Price is not too bad. Final verdict, for me, will be how long it will last. I'm not predicting great longevity, it's simply too thin and feels fragile.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love it!, 21 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Sony VAIO SVP1321M2E 13.3-inch Ultrabook (Black) - (Intel Core i5 1.6GHz Processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB Solid State Drive, Intel HD Graphics 4400, HD Touchscreen, Windows 8) (Personal Computers)
As others has covered the basics I'd just add that windows 8 takes a bit of getting used too and things like skype no longer have the DND or AWAY options but as a laptop and appearance then you can't beat it. Great screen and love the back light keyboard feature.

-ve fan is noisy sometimes .

+ve battery life is circa 6hrs of heavy working.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Marvellous, 5 Jun 2014
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I've been using Sony Vaio for > 10 years and this is the best.

Super quick start up. Lovely touch screen. No pointless annoying software pre-installed

Mouse pad is not perfect but I don't use it much anyhow.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Super Laptop, 2 May 2014
By 
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This is an amazing laptop with a fantastic hi-res screen and a lot of power and speed. Booting Windows 8.1 in 3-4sec sounds amazing but it's true! I have a MacBookAir too and I'd say this laptop wins in most areas, including weight! The MBA has a more solid frame of course being aluminium and a better trackpad - but if you use a mouse like me, then not to worry. The trackpad of the Sony is a bit lame, especially when you're not at a desk, it's pretty bad. Usable but sometimes frustrating. I use a mouse anyway.

Shame that VAIO is no more, for me this machine is my third VAIO laptop over a period of more than 10 years. The previous two lasted me 4.5 and 5.5 years (and they're still working!), only reason to change them was new more demanding software. If this one lasts me another 5 years I'd be more than happy, and hopefully the VAIO brand might sort it out by then and get back in business!
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars High failure rate, not worth the risk! Avoid!, 26 Oct 2013
This review is from: Sony VAIO SVP1321M2E 13.3-inch Ultrabook (Black) - (Intel Core i5 1.6GHz Processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB Solid State Drive, Intel HD Graphics 4400, HD Touchscreen, Windows 8) (Personal Computers)
Mine failed after a month (though it was nice enough during that month. The trackpad, noise and wifi are the weakest points).
Then it's been in customer service for over 2 months! Are you willing to risk that time without a laptop? Even now, it's been over a week since I agreed on a refund and no updates. The customer service is so horrible I would never buy one of these machines just in the event that of it failing (which seems reasonably likely seeing the other reviews)
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great little thing destroyed by noise, 23 Aug 2013
This review is from: Sony VAIO SVP1321M2E 13.3-inch Ultrabook (Black) - (Intel Core i5 1.6GHz Processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB Solid State Drive, Intel HD Graphics 4400, HD Touchscreen, Windows 8) (Personal Computers)
Very good style and while the sharp corners haven't been a problem so far, am sure on at least one occasion they will be. Performance is great for the size, but it runs very hot and noisy. Light weight but oh those fans. Am right on the edge of whether to take it back. Finally, did I mention the stupid noisy fans!!
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