Notebookcheck

Review Sony Vaio VPC-Z13B7E subnotebook

Sebastian Jentsch (translated by B Schulisch), 02/17/2011

Vaio-Z@Low-Budget. At 1400 Euros, speaking of low cost sounds like heresy. But for a Vaio in the Z series this is an affordable price. How big the difference is to the 3300 Euro deluxe version, is shown by our test.

Sony Vaio VPCZ13B7E/S silver: The affordable variant from the Z-series doesn't have an SSD, i7 processor, full-HD display, or an optical drive.
Sony Vaio VPCZ13B7E/S silver: The affordable variant from the Z-series doesn't have an SSD, i7 processor, full-HD display, or an optical drive.

The Vaio Z-series appears to want to be a never ending story. After the current full-HD + Quad-SSD configuration (VPCZ13Z9E/X) at a price of 3299 Euros only just visited us in January 2011, another Z13 is already back on our desk. This time it is silver and comes at a retail price of 1399 Euros.

The 'low-budget' version with the name VPC-Z13B7E/S is technically trimmed down, since neither a Core i7 nor a SSD are under the hood. Even the optical drive is no longer present. The resolution has shrunk down to 1600 x 900 pixels (WSXGA+), but is still not reflective.

Is the VPC-Z13B7E/S suitable for everyone for working, who cannot afford anything in the Z-series above 2000 Euros? What level of quality does the WSXGA+ display have? Can it keep up with the best aspects of the full-HD display (VPCZ13Z9E/X) with respect to colors, luminance, and viewing angles? How much of an impact have the performance results incurred, if 'only' a Core i5-460M and a normal hard drive are included? All of the answers to these questions can be found in this review.

Case

Cheaper = due to lower quality? To an extent. The tested Z13B7E/S has inherited the good characteristics of its predecessors and sister models Vaio Z12 and Z13Z9E/X. Not considering the color, the chassis is the same. The carbon fiber plastic and aluminum construction is still just as light and qualitative. Although it can take away from the rigidity of the base units from its sister models.

The reason for the better rigidity is the missing optical drive. In its place there is now simply a plastic panel. From a construction perspective this only leaves the right palm resting area and the base plate for criticism, since these allow noticeable bending in some places.

Expensive sister model Z13Z9E SSD+FHD
Teures Schwestermodell Z13Z9E SSD+FHD
The affordable Z13B7E has a more stable chassis.
Das günstige Z13B7E hat ein stabileres Chassis.
Reason: missing optical drive.
Grund: Fehlendes optisches Laufwerk.

Connectivity

FireWire (iLink)
FireWire (iLink)

The interfaces are located on the right, left, or at the front. The absence of the DVD or Blu-Ray drive unfortunately doesn't provide for a more generous spacing of the ports. Where four USB sockets and an eSATA interface would have enough room, there is only a panel cover to be found where the optical drive used to reside.

The VGA interface sits on the right at the back next to the power switch. A good position, which prevents a lack of space due to bulky VGA cables to a large extent. Contrary to the expensive sister models there is once again a FireWire (i.LINK) port included. In turn one USB 2.0 port has had to be sacrificed. Via the ExpressCard34 slot extensions such as a USB 3.0 controller can once again be added.

Front: CardReader SD & HG Duo, wireless module switch, headphones, microphone
Front: CardReader SD & HG Duo, wireless module switch, headphones, microphone
Left: AC, Kensington, RJ45, HDMI, USB 2.0, ExpressCard34, FireWire S400
Left: AC, Kensington, RJ45, HDMI, USB 2.0, ExpressCard34, FireWire S400
Back: no interfaces
Back: no interfaces
Right: USB, VGA
Right: USB, VGA

Communication

The Ethernet connection via a cable can transfer data according to the Gigabit standard (Intel 82577LC). Also when it comes to the WLAN, the fastest standard AGN in on board Intel Advanced-N 6200). Contrary to the sister model VPC-Z13Z9E/X there is NO 3G-module for mobile internet access included.

Security

The fingerprint reader on the VPC-Z13Z9E/X is not included.

Accessories

There are no media included; merely a quick-start, recovery, and service manuals. A recovery DVD for securing Windows Professional 64-bit has to be burned by the user themselves (Vaio Assist). Sony offers a docking solution for the Z13/Z12/Z11 models. The Vaio VGP-PRZ10 docks to the bottom surface of the 13.1 inch subnotebook, and duplicates the following interfaces: 3x USB, 1x GB LAN (RJ-45), 1x 15-pin D-Sub VGA, 1x DVI-D. The price: from 175 Euros.

Warranty

Sony provides a 24 month return warranty for the Z13. This consists of 1 year basic warranty, with 1 additional year of warranty. Depending on the location of purchase, customers should inquire regarding the details, and possibly claim the 24 months by registering the product. The purchase of an 1 year warranty extension (PCGE-VPW1, 99 Euros), or 2 year warranty extension (PCGE-VPW2, 179 Euros).

Input Devices

Keyboard

The separated arrow keys have a large gap between each other, and offer a very clear pressure point, as well as a medium key travel. The key end stop is hard, since the surface only gives way a little in one area. The entry can be recommended for regular typers, although they will have to get used to the Vaio typical short stroked typing feeling. The keys are less grippy than the more expensive Z13, since these are no longer adorned with rubber.

Furthermore positive: The separated arrow keys and the large enter and shift keys. We were able to reach these without looking, and rarely missed our target. To the benefit of the key size Sony has omitted an alpha-numeric keypad. Alpha-numeric keypad users can use the marked block of letter keys by activating the Num key (next to F12).

Touchpad

The mouse replacement works precisely when we glide across the matte surface. This is sensitive right up to its edges. The touchpad cannot be disabled with the Fn button. The multi-touchpad (Synaptics V7.4) recognizes the use of two fingers. Thanks to this two finger gestures are possible (zoom, scroll, turning pages). The mouse buttons are a little difficult to operate since they only have a short travel. In return they click relatively quietly.

Work area
Work area
Separate arrow keys
Separate arrow keys
Multi-touchpad
Multi-touchpad

Display

The display on the subnotebook is still a bright light of the features, even if it is no longer has full-HD resolution. The description WSXGA+ non-glare stands for a resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels, which is a high resolution for a 13.1 inch device. The display panel is non-reflective, although it does give some reflections.

The 'SonyLCD' marked panel offers a high contrast level of 823:1. This provides for sharp and crisp bright colors. In this respect it is along the same lines as the FHD panel on the expensive Z13Z9E/X. The color space, for which we created an ICC profile, is very good, but doesn't quite cover the same amount of spectrum as the FHD-TFTs. The ICC graphics show the tested device (color) compared to the image editing usual sRGB and AdobeRGB (transparent). The FHD panel (picture three) has the larger color space, since this even covers the AdobeRGB.

The comparison with further professional panels shows the SonyLCD as a contender, but not as perfect; for example the Dreamcolor panel in the HP workstation EliteBook 8740w.

ICC Vaio Z13Z9E vs sRGB (t)
ICC Vaio Z13Z9E vs sRGB (t)
ICC Vaio Z13Z9E vs AdobeRGB (t)
ICC Vaio Z13Z9E vs AdobeRGB (t)
ICC Vaio Z13Z9E vs Vaio Z13Z93 FHD (t)
ICC Vaio Z13Z9E vs Vaio Z13Z93 FHD (t)
ICC Vaio Z13Z9E vs MBPro13 2010-04 (t)
ICC Vaio Z13Z9E vs MBPro13 2010-04 (t)
ICC Vaio Z13Z9E vs MBPro17 FHD 2010-04 (t)
ICC Vaio Z13Z9E vs MBPro17 FHD 2010-04 (t)
ICC Vaio Z13Z9E vs HP EliteB. 8740w Dreamcolor (t)
ICC Vaio Z13Z9E vs HP EliteB. 8740w Dreamcolor (t)
329
cd/m²
314
cd/m²
309
cd/m²
335
cd/m²
329
cd/m²
332
cd/m²
340
cd/m²
318
cd/m²
330
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 340 cd/m²
Average: 326.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 329 cd/m²
Black: 0.4 cd/m²
Contrast: 823:1

The Z13 combines two characteristics that a mobile device needs perfectly: This includes a perfectly bright illumination of the display panel with 326 cd/m², along with a non-reflective display. In some places the panel even reaches 340 cd/m². With this the VaioLCD is about 100 cd/m² brighter than the full-HD panel on its sister model.

The illumination can be described as very homogeneous at 91%. The brightness of the panel is automatically adjusted with the aid of an ambient light sensor. Depending on the brightness of the surroundings, the brightness of the display re-adjusts to compensate. Under direct sunlight the luminance increases to its maximum thanks to the sensor. For our measurements and outdoor photographs we disabled the ambient light sensor (Vaio Control Center).

Under daylight the Z13 offers a perfect view of the desktop. The use under direct sunlight could unfortunately only be tested on a cloudy winters day. The semi-non-reflective surface is sufficient under these lighting conditions, to suppress reflections to a great extent. The SonyLCD works like a glare-panel, which has been covered in a fine matte foil. The reflections of the surrounding light are not completely suppressed from some angles, but are then only diffused and hardly have any negative impact. The advantage compared to 'normal' matte displays is the preservation of the glossy color effect.

The maximum brightness of 340 cd/m²
The maximum brightness of 340 cd/m²
makes the display recognizable under direct sunlight.
makes the display recognizable under direct sunlight.
For indoors a luminance of 100 to 150 cd/m² is sufficient.
For indoors a luminance of 100 to 150 cd/m² is sufficient.

The horizontal viewing angles have been a great success. There is no color distortion (false images), regardless of how far the eyes fray to the left or right (90 degrees). The TFT does darken though. Vertically our eyes can only deviate by 15 degrees upwards or downwards. After this the colors invert clearly. The viewing angles are identical to the FHD display panel.

Viewing angles Sony VPC-Z13B7E
Viewing angles Sony VPC-Z13B7E

Performance

Sony has fitted the VPC-Z13B7E/S with an Intel Core i5-460M. A Intel HD graphics card, as well as a memory controller for DDR3-800/1066 are already on board this Arrandale CPU. The processor has two physical cores with 2.53 GHz each, and is manufactured with the 32nm lithography process. The speed of the 460M deviates with the Turbo-Boost between 2.53 and 2.8 GHz. The technology allows the dynamic overclocking of one or both of the processor cores.

In addition to this comes the Hyper-Threading, which provides two additional virtual cores to assist. Applications can thus calculate with up to four threads. 4.096 GB of DDR3 RAM is furthermore a typical accessory to Windows PCs. The RAM sits on two modules (2x 2 GB), and can easily be changed via a maintenance panel.

Systeminfo CPUZ CPU
Systeminfo CPUZ Cache
Systeminfo CPUZ Mainboard
Systeminfo CPUZ RAM
Systeminfo CPUZ RAM SPD
Systeminfo GPUZ Intel HD
Systeminfo GPUZ GT 330M
DPC Latency Checker: Idle OK
DPC Latency Checker: WLAN On/Off Latenzen
 
System information Sony VPC-Z13B7E
Core i5-460M 2x 2.53GHz
Core i5-460M 2x 2.53GHz

Our Vaio Z13B with its i5-460M can keep up with its counterparts as could be expected: The processor test Cinebench R11.5 (64-bit) gives our tested system a score of 2.23 points. 520M CPUs also lie at around 2.2 points (same standard clock speed). A 430M comes to 2.0 points, a i3-330M only scores 1.75 points. The i5-460M is only 13 percent slower than the Core i7-640M (2.4 points) in the Z13Z9E/X.

When it comes to single core calculations (Cinebench R10 single 32-bit) the 460M lags behind the i7-640M by about 17 percent less processing performance. This leads to scores 3.075 points versus 3.675 points. The cause of this is the higher standard standard clock speed (2.8 GHz) and the Turbo overclocked clock speed (3.45 GHz) of the i7-640M.

5.9
Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
6.9
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
5.9
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
6.4
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.4
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
3075
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
6963
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
3482
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
3830 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
8488 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
3512 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
13.28 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.23 Points
Help
PC Mark
PCMark 056880 points
PCMark Vantage5855 points
Help

The PCMark Vantage benchmark calculated a score of 5.855 points (SPEED mode: GeForce GT 330M active). This score visualizes the application speed. With this score the Z13B7E/S misses the best value in the SSD class (VPC-Z13Z9E/X, 10.087 points) by a far stretch. Nevertheless we are still not dealing with a lame duck. The PCMark Vantage score still lies in the neighborhood with powerful notebooks, such as the Apple MacBook Pro 17 inch 2010-04 (540M, GT 330M), or the Acer Aspire 8943G (720QM, HD 5850).

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
5414 points
3DMark Vantage2159 points
Help
Toshiba MK5056GSY
Transfer Rate Minimum: 17.1 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 80.6 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 66.4 MB/s
Access Time: 17.2 ms
Burst Rate: 55.9 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1 %

The 500 GByte HDD (Toshiba MK5056GSY) is hardly a bottleneck with a rotational speed of 7200 rpm. According to HD-Tune it may only read at a rate of 66 MByte/s in sequential read. But Crystal DiskMark measures a very good 102 MByte/s for simple reading (test always measures higher than HD-Tune). For a 2.5 inch hard drive the HDD score of 3.802 points is above average.

The rotating drive cannot keep up with SSDs though, especially not with the Quad-SSD (RAID 0) in the luxury liner VPC-Z13Z9E/X. We have put the Crystal DiskMark results for this next to those from the HDD for the sake of comparison. The SSD scores an HDD-score of 17.406 points.

HD Tune: 66 MB/s sequential read
HD Tune: 66 MB/s sequential read
Crystal DiskMark 3.0: 102 MB/s sequential read
Crystal DiskMark 3.0: 102 MB/s sequential read
Comparison: Vaio Z13Z9E Quad SSD 484 MB/s sequential read
Comparison: Vaio Z13Z9E Quad SSD 484 MB/s sequential read

Gaming Performance

Wie wir testen - Leistung

As a dedicated graphics card the familiar outdated Nvidia GeForce GT 330M with 1024 MB of DDR3 memory is included. The processor operates with a clock speed of only 450 MHz, the memory with 700 MHz. Sony does not utilize the possible clock speed, typically this would be 575 / 790 MHz. Thus the mid-range Nvidia GT 330M (3xx-series) works slower than the ATI mid-range, such as the HD 6550M or the HD 5650.

The 3DMark2006 benchmark finishes with a score of 5.414 points. Usually a GT 330M can achieve more than 6.000 without difficulties in this test. The Vaio Z12 with a similarly powerful 520M processor reaches 5.569 points (core 475 MHz). With this the Z13B7E/S lies on a par with its SSD sister Z13Z9E/X (5.500 points), but clearly a notch lower than the Mobility Radeon HD 5650, which can score between 6.500 and 7.000 points depending on the CPU performance.

StarCraft 2

The strategy game requires a fast multi-core processor for medium and high resolutions (control and KI of many small units). This is provided for with the i5-460M. But when the GPU performance stays below that of an HD 5650 high details remain a matter of wishful thinking. StarCraft 2 is only playable with reduced details (medium) and medium resolution (1360 x 768) with 32 fps. Using high details the Z13 only gives an unplayable 22 fps.

StarCraft 2: Low 153fps
StarCraft 2: Low 153fps
StarCraft 2: Med 32fps
StarCraft 2: Med 32fps
StarCraft 2: High 22fps
StarCraft 2: High 22fps
StarCraft 2
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1360x768high22 fps
 1360x768medium31.7 fps
 1024x768low153 fps

Gaming Verdict

The GT 330M is already a bit on the slow side with a a normal clock speed of 575 / 790 MHz. In its tested version with 450 / 700 MHz it was robbed of its edge however. Of course the performance is still potent for the subnotebook class, and most games can be played with medium detail settings. But Acer has shown how good mid-range 3D performance can work in a subnotebook with the Aspire TimelineX 3820TG (AMD Radeon HD 6550M).

low med.high ultra
StarCraft 2 (2010) 15331.722fps

Emissions

Air vent
Air vent

System Noise

Surfing the web, typing emails, or updating Excel spreadsheets; these easy tasks hardly strain the Z13 and thus take place with the cooling fan on its lowest speed. This does however lie at a minimum of 33.1 dB(A). This goes for the Speed-Mode with active GT 330M, and for the Stamina-Mode with Intel HD as well.

While the cooling fan speed varies a little during office use, some noise stays constantly audible, from the 7200 rpm hard drive from Toshiba. The constant humming is a negative aspect of fast hard drives, as we have already often had to experience with notebooks. The HDD only transfers its vibrations to the immediately above itself palm resting area. It soon becomes clear why an SSD is the best choice for a small and light subnotebook.

During high CPU load the cooling fan turns up to 48.8 dB(A). This can no longer be overheard. This volume was reached with Prime95, which uses all the threads available with the i5-460M. When a constant load (Furmark) simultaneously also strains the GT 330M graphics, then the cooling fan becomes hysterically loud with 53.8 dB(A). A sound scape such as this, which already almost sounds like a small rocket taking off, is however only reached in practically unlikely stress test. The fact is: Even short bursts of CPU load make the cooling fan quickly turn up to 38 to 45 dB(A).

Noise Level

Idle 33.1 / 33.4 / 34.3 dB(A)
HDD 33.6 dB(A)
Load 41.2 / 53.8 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)
Stress test: CPU max. 97 degrees
Stress test: CPU max. 97 degrees

Temperature

At least the noisy cooling fan provides for a cool chassis. During maximum load only a single point on the air vent becomes just about 40 degrees warm. During idle use the temperature is low on the surfaces. The average heat dissipated on the top surface lies at only 21 degrees. The base plate makes a similarly perfect impression with 22 degrees (average).

Under a high load over several hours the average temperatures only rise modestly. 24 and 25 degrees are the average values for the top and bottom sides. These are considerably low high load temperatures for a subnotebook with a Core i5 standard CPU and a dedicated graphics card. How far the Prime95 stress test can drive these temperatures up is shown by the temperature sensors. The processor temperature was supposedly 96 degrees on the CPU (stress test). The GPU heated up to a maximum of 82 degrees.

Max. Load
 28.7 °C25.9 °C21.4 °C 
 28.8 °C27.3 °C22.1 °C 
 20.1 °C21.0 °C19.8 °C 
Maximum: 28.8 °C
Average: 23.9 °C
20.3 °C23.8 °C40.4 °C
24.1 °C25 °C27.1 °C
21.7 °C20.6 °C20.8 °C
Maximum: 40.4 °C
Average: 24.9 °C
Power Supply (max.)  50.4 °C | Room Temperature 17.8 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The stereo speakers located above the keyboard deliver a high pitched audio spectrum. The volume also doesn't manage to get very loud. At least the speakers don't distort at maximum volume though. The audio outputs and inputs at the front worked perfectly and didn't show any noise in our test with two Yamaha speakers (YST-M20SDP).

Battery Life

This 13.1 inch subnotebook is equipped with a 57 watt-hours battery (5200 mAh). This keeps the Z13 on its feet for exactly five hours (302 minutes) while surfing the web (over WLAN). The battery life was measured by us in the Stamina-mode (Intel HD) with about 100 cd/m² of brightness. With the brightness tweaked down and purely office use the Vaio Z13 can stay operational for significantly longer. This is shown by the Reader-Test with a result of 509 minutes (reading text with minimum brightness; 8.29 hours).

A movie from a DVD could not be watched due to the lack of an optical drive. An AVI movie on the hard drive with a low resolution runs for four and a half hours (268 minutes). The next movie session can't be started until after a long 3.31 hours (100% battery charge).

Compared to its expensive SSD sister model VPC-Z13Z9E/X with the same battery capacity, the battery life has improved. The WLAN test and the DVD/movie test lasted between 45 and 50 minutes longer. A reputed SSD battery run time advantage is not apparent.

Charging 210 min.
Charging 210 min.
WLAN surfing 302 min.
WLAN surfing 302 min.
DVD playback 268 min.
DVD playback 268 min.
Idle 509 min.
Idle 509 min.
Load 80 min.
Load 80 min.
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
8h 29min
WiFi Surfing
5h 02min
DVD
4h 28min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 20min

The Z13 without an SSD turns out to be more frugal than our SSD luxury model. This is also confirmed by the better battery run times of the more affordable VPC-Z13B7E/S. The (lowest) idle power consumption lies at 8.9 Watts (Stamina-mode i.e. auto; Intel HD). The Z13Z9E/X with a Core i7 already drew 11 Watts from the plug at this stage.

The maximum idle power consumption lies at 17.8 Watts. For this everything that consumes power is activated (wireless, maximum brightness of the TFT, High-performance mode). The SSD version with a Core i7 was more demanding in this respect: 24 Watts. The high load operation with an activated Geforce GT 330M comes in at 52.8 Watts (3DMark2006). During the stress test this even reached 79.2 Watts. The compact 90 Watt power adapter (285 grams) is sufficient for this, and only heats up to a maximum of 50 degrees at the highest power consumption.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.2 / 0.7 Watt
Idle 8.9 / 15.6 / 17.8 Watt
Load 52.8 / 79.2 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 960

Verdict

Vaio VPC-Z13B7E/S: First class display
Vaio VPC-Z13B7E/S: First class display

Looked for and found. Those that want a first class subnotebook with a high resolution display don't have to spend 3300 Euros for a Vaio Z13Z9E/X (Quad-SSD, full-HD, i7). We tested the 'most affordable' Z13 on the market, and can also praise an exceptionally good display on the VPC-Z13B7E for 1399 Euros. The WSXGA+ panel (1600 x 900 pixels) may lack a smidgen of color space representation, but in return has 100 cd/m² more of luminance. The non-reflective display surface and the wide horizontal viewing angles have stayed.

With the Core i5-460M (2x 2.53 GHz) there is still a potent processor included, which is only about 15% (depending on the application) slower than the i7-640M in the high-end Z13. Due to the rotating Toshiba hard drive instead of a RAID 0 SSD, the working speed falls by almost 50 percent according to the PCMark Vantage total score. The HDD is also constantly audible with a humming due to its 7200 rpm.

The affordable Z13 configuration doesn't turn out to be a battery eater (same battery). On the contrary, thanks to a reduced idle and high load power consumption the WLAN run time has increased by about 45 minutes to a full five hours.

The disadvantages lie in the volume under a medium and high load. Without Nvidia Optimus the graphics switch constantly causes disturbing interruptions while working. The more affordable Z13 version doesn't provide buyers with an included optical drive, which does give the case more stability. The previously included 3G-module also falls under the description not included.

VPC-Z13B7E für 1.399 Euro: Erstklassiges Display und starke Laufzeit.
VPC-Z13B7E für 1.399 Euro: Erstklassiges Display und starke Laufzeit.
By courtesy of ...
In review: Sony Vaio VPC-Z13B7E, provided by:
In review: Sony Vaio VPC-Z13B7E, provided by:

Specifications

Sony Vaio VPC-Z13B7E
Processor
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M - 1024 MB, Core: 450 MHz, Memory: 700 MHz, DDR3, ForceWare 190.24
Memory
4096 MB 
, PC3-10600 667MHz
Display
13.1 inch 16:09, 1600x900 pixel, 13.1, Sony LCD, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM57
Harddisk
Toshiba MK5056GSY, 500 GB 
7200 rpm 7200 RPM SATA-II
Soundcard
Realtek ALC889
Connections
1 Express Card 34mm, 2 USB 2.0, 1 Firewire, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Line out, microphone, Card Reader: MMC/SD/Memory Stick,
Networking
Intel 82577LC Gigabit (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200 AGN (a b g n ), 2.1+EDR Bluetooth
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 32.7 x 314 x 210 ( = 1.29 x 12.36 x 8.27 in)
Weight
1.379 kg ( = 48.64 oz) Power Supply: 285 g ( = 10.05 oz)
Battery
57 Wh Lithium-Ion, 5200mAh 10.8V VGP-BPS20/S
Price
1499 Euro
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
Additional features
Webcam: 0.3MP 640×480, VAIO Transfer Support, VAIO Update, VAIO Smart Network, 24 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
The winter doesn't only bring cold weather and snow,
The winter doesn't only bring cold weather and snow,
a switch for quick deactivation of all the wireless modules
a switch for quick deactivation of all the wireless modules
and two CardReader's for SD and HG Duo.
and two CardReader's for SD and HG Duo.
With good oversight of the keys
With good oversight of the keys
and a raised palm resting area,
and a raised palm resting area,
this provides frequent typers with good comfort.
this provides frequent typers with good comfort.
The keyboard no illuminates, this is now limited to the power button.
The keyboard no illuminates, this is now limited to the power button.
The ambient light sensor for automatic adjustment of the display brightness is once again included.
The ambient light sensor for automatic adjustment of the display brightness is once again included.
The special function buttons initiate Vaio Care (assist) or personally defined actions (mute, brightness, programs, etc.).
The special function buttons initiate Vaio Care (assist) or personally defined actions (mute, brightness, programs, etc.).
With the included warranty extension the 1 year basic warranty can be turned into a 24 month bring-in warranty.
With the included warranty extension the 1 year basic warranty can be turned into a 24 month bring-in warranty.
The cumbersome 285 gram power adapter (92 Watt) seems a bit on the generous side.
The cumbersome 285 gram power adapter (92 Watt) seems a bit on the generous side.
This is required though
This is required though
for the power consumption under a high load though.
for the power consumption under a high load though.
The maximum power consumption of the Z13B7E is 79.2 Watts (without charging the battery).
The maximum power consumption of the Z13B7E is 79.2 Watts (without charging the battery).
Included with the delivery are plugs for the UK and the US.
Included with the delivery are plugs for the UK and the US.
On the front are two analog audio ports,
On the front are two analog audio ports,
Likewise the use of a Docking-Port for practical connectivity to peripheral devices, networking, and power supply.
Likewise the use of a Docking-Port for practical connectivity to peripheral devices, networking, and power supply.
but also an affordable version of the Sony Vaio Z subnotebooks
but also an affordable version of the Sony Vaio Z subnotebooks
to entice potential buyers.
to entice potential buyers.
As a Vaio VPCZ13B7E/S silver it is currently retailing at a price of 1399 Euros.
As a Vaio VPCZ13B7E/S silver it is currently retailing at a price of 1399 Euros.
An attractive price for the 13 inch device,
An attractive price for the 13 inch device,
when considering the price of 3300 Euros for the Vaio Z SSD luxury version.
when considering the price of 3300 Euros for the Vaio Z SSD luxury version.
The 1.4 kilogram light carbon fiber and aluminum construction
The 1.4 kilogram light carbon fiber and aluminum construction
is pleasingly rigid.
is pleasingly rigid.
Compared to the Z13 with an optical drive (Blu-ray/DVD) the base unit has clearly become more stable as a result of its absence.
Compared to the Z13 with an optical drive (Blu-ray/DVD) the base unit has clearly become more stable as a result of its absence.
Sony has included a relatively powerful 5200 mAh (57Wh) battery.
Sony has included a relatively powerful 5200 mAh (57Wh) battery.
With this it is possible to surf the web via WLAN for five hours.
With this it is possible to surf the web via WLAN for five hours.
The dedicated Geforce GT 330M should be manually deactivated via the Hybrid-Switch for this though.
The dedicated Geforce GT 330M should be manually deactivated via the Hybrid-Switch for this though.
The warm summer will surely come.
The warm summer will surely come.
With the slightly non-reflective display with very good brightness outdoor use shouldn't be a problem.
With the slightly non-reflective display with very good brightness outdoor use shouldn't be a problem.
The interfaces even took into consideration possible expansions via the ExpressCard34 slot.
The interfaces even took into consideration possible expansions via the ExpressCard34 slot.
The recovery media have to be burned by the users themselves with Vaio Care.
The recovery media have to be burned by the users themselves with Vaio Care.

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Links

Compare Prices

Pro

+Good performance
+Stable base unit without DVD drive
+3D performance at will
+Very bright display
+sRGB color space & good contrast
+Wide horizontal viewing angles
+(Almost) matte display
+Light case
+Keys with good feedback
+ExpressCard slot & FireWire
+Efficient power consumption (idle)
+Good battery life
+Low heat emission
 

Cons

-Loud under a high load
-7200 rpm HDD consistently audible
-No automatic GPU disabling
-High pitched speakers
-Only two USB 2.0 ports

Shortcut

What we like

First class colors and brightness, that shows where the yardstick should be set. The light case is pretty and also stable.

What we'd like to see

Somehow we liked the quiet SSD better than the humming HDD.

What surprises us

The extreme price difference for the i7 CPU, SSD, UMTS module, full-HD display, and Blu-ray drive. The obtrusively loud cooling fan already starts to get annoying with a medium load.

The competition

Sony Vaio VPC-Z11X9E/B: from 1850 Euros, 2x64GB Samsung SSD; Vaio VPC-Z12M9E/B:, 1800 Euros, 2x64GB SSD Toshiba; Vaio VPC-Z13Z9E: Quad SSD as RAID 0; Toshiba Portégé R700-172Lenovo ThinkPad T410sApple Macbook Air 13 inch 2010-10: Processor outdated; MacBook Air 11 inch 2010-10: Processor outdated; Dell Vostro V130: significantly cheaper, SSD-Option; Lenovo Thinkpad X201s: without dedicated GPU; Acer Aspire TimelineX 4820TG-644G16Mnks: Intel SSD 160GB and HD 6550M graphics.

Rating

Sony Vaio VPC-Z13B7E
02/10/2011 v2
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
88%
Keyboard
90%
Pointing Device
84%
Connectivity
74%
Weight
92%
Battery
85%
Display
93%
Games Performance
72%
Application Performance
89%
Temperature
94%
Noise
68%
Add Points
90%
Average
85%
87%
Subnotebook *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Sony Vaio VPC-Z13B7E subnotebook
Author: Sebastian Jentsch, 2011-02-17 (Update: 2013-06- 6)