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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  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    Yes, pretty much what you said. There's some VAIO utilities, but they're not too obtrusive and I like some of the features the VAIO Care Center offers (it gives reasonably detailed control over the various settings like the keyboard backlighting among other things). I also uninstalled the McAfee software (we always test without any Firewall enabled and no anti-virus software running, just for consistency). I personally have been using Microsoft Security Essentials on my PCs since it came out and haven't had any problems, but then I avoid the sort of sites that tend to infect PCs so YMMV.
  • jyotib - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    I did buy this machine three months ago, but with a Sony deal that gave a 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM for about the price listed for your review machine. I must say it has been a truly excellent machine for me, as I favour a top flight display, light weight, long battery life and fast operation.

    The Wi-Fi problem you reference was a real pain, but the Intel driver update has (mostly) sorted it out. It does surface in an unusual way, though. If the machine goes to sleep in one location, and then wakes in a location with a different Wi-Fi router, it does not seem to find it without restarting the Wi-Fi adaptor.

    Another update for the display driver now seems to cause the display to get stuck on a low brightness level every now and then - not sure what is going on, as this behaviour was not apparent before the update.

    I recognise that the use of carbon fibre has made the Vaio feel flexible, but the design's build quality does not strike me as inadequate in any way. One caveat after 3 months of use is that the keys seem to imprint themselves on the screen so that (at certain angles) I can see key marks on the display. I feel that this is a design problem, caused by the search for a thin device. I did discuss this with Sony and the answer from them was that I needed to use the cloth that came with the device - this black cloth seemed to be part of the packaging but it is quite important, and should not be thrown away. It needs to cover on the keyboard every time you shut the lid. I thought this would be remarkably frustrating and that I would lose the cloth immediately. Somehow, I have got used to it and the cloth is still present three months in. Would I prefer that Sony had sorted out the problem in the design work? Yes, yes.

    Overall, I am struck how well my personal experience with the machine reflects the findings of the reviewer. This might be the first time I have read an Anandtech review of a product I already know well - rather than reading about a product I might be considering - and its accuracy in laying out my own use case does encourage me to consider your reviews seriously next time I am seeking a new device. Well done.
  • monstercameron - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    Jarred why not compare it to a6-5200? the a4-5000 only makes the AMD competition look terrible in comparison.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    Because we never had one for testing.
  • hughlle - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    I'm just a little comfused by the lack of information in the battery graphs. You might as well just remove the numbers entirely. 959 what's? What am i actually looking at? I can make out the graphs lower down as being rated in hours, but what about the former graphs?
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    They're in minutes... not sure why the subtext no longer says that as I swear it used to be there. I'll fix that....
  • Chrispy_ - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    Mind-boggling expensive for a Dual-core with only 4GB of RAM, a small SSD and the entry-level IGP, portable or not.

    Is it worth it?
    NO. Not even close.
  • hfm - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    Stop messing around with these other devices and post the p34g review. :)
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    I have to get one other finished first (Clevo W740SU), but the preview should tell you much of what you need to know. I just need to test actually gaming performance and battery life, as well as check for any heat issues. It's a shame their keyboard isn't that great though.
  • hfm - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    How's the cooling system noise under gaming load?

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