Can the Sony Vaio P13 dethrone the MacBook Air?

Aug 26 2013, 20:41 IST
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SummaryThree key moments in the short history of computers happened in the last six years.

Three key moments in the short history of computers happened in the last six years. In chronological order, these were: iPhone, MacBook Air and iPad. Apple Inc. launched these game-changing devices in three years (2007-10). Today, similar machines are everywhere.

No write-up on ultrabooks is complete without mentioning MacBook Air. After its launch in 2008, Intel released specifications for ultrabooks (thin, light Windows laptops) and most major manufacturers began designing them. The latest MacBook Air promises 12 hours of battery life, thanks to Intel’s fourth-generation Core series processors. Since Windows ultrabooks also use the same processor, what do they offer that the MacBook does not? Sony answers that question with Vaio P13, which is lighter than the MacBook Air, and has a touchscreen too.

Build & Design

The first impression of the Vaio P13 is good. The edges of the laptop are slightly curved, making it easy to hold and carry. At 1.06 kg, it is very, very light, and most users are unlikely to feel its weight in their backpacks, even if they pack the charger. One neat feature is the addition of a USB port to the charger itself. This ensures that you can charge your portable gadgets (smartphones, battery packs, tablets, wireless headsets, etc.) without occupying the two USB ports on the laptop, which you can keep for pen drives, hard disks or a mouse.

The build quality is excellent, apart from the sharp corners which can result in uncomfortable jabs. The keyboard is good, with well-spaced keys and backlight (for typing in the dark). But there is no shortcut to turn off the backlight. For this, users will have to open the hard-to-locate Vaio Control Center (swipe the screen from the right edge, hit the search key, type “Vaio control center”). The palm rest on the keyboard is longer than usual, which is good for those with big hands.

Software

Microsoft Windows 8 is a polarising OS. On the one hand, it has the beautiful start screen and refreshing user interface with smooth transitions, but on the other hand, it has the desktop mode that has become difficult to use. For the uninitiated, the start screen is a beautiful grid comprising tiles for each app. Some of these tiles are live, which show you information as and when it is updated (weather, Facebook and Twitter notifications) without opening the app. The desktop mode is the classic look that has been around since

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