November 22, 2011
- High-quality 1080p display
- Backlit keyboard & USB 3.0
- Very good performance
- Keyboard & touchpad design issues
- Slightly bulky design
The Sony VAIO F Series is a 16.4-inch laptop that's loaded with features and offers good performance. It has a 1080p HD screen, a Blu-ray player, a speedy Intel Core i7 CPU and 6GB of RAM. You'll get good, playable graphics performance, but the keyboard and touchpad hold this laptop back from being the best-of-the-best.
The Sony VAIO F Series measured 15.7 x 10.7 x 1.7-inches (wdh) and weights about 6.5-pounds, so it isn't the smallest or lightest laptop on the market. The design and size of this laptop makes it chunky too, so portability is slightly hampered. The lid of the laptop has only chrome VAIO lettering that disturbs the matte finish that hides fingerprints and smudges. The keyboard deck is made of the same matte black material that surrounds a backlit keyboard and an off-centered touchpad.
Sony's keyboard leaves us disappointed, however the backlighting and full number pad are nice to have. The disappointment came from the undersized keys (Left Shift, Tab and Caps Lock are most prominent) and the noticeable flex while typing. The 3.9 x 1.9-inch Synaptics touchpad has a surface of small raised dots and provided a good texture without hindering our ability to glide over the surface. However, the touchpad's buttons were very stiff and difficult to press at times.
A glossy black bezel surrounds the Sony VAIO F's 16.4-inch LED-backlit 1080p HD display. The display has a matte finish to reduce ambient light glare without hindering color vibrancy, which can sometimes be an issue with matte displays. We found the display to have a nice level of backlighting and contrast levels, including dark blacks.
In terms of ports, you'll find two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, one FireWire 400 port, HDMI-out, VGA-out, the usual audio ports, Ethernet and a 4-in-1 memory card reader. There is also a tray-loading Blu-ray optical drive, which is a pleasant addition to this laptop's strong feature set, which is also rounded off by those two USB 3.0 ports that are rapidly becoming the standard on new computers. Wireless connectivity is limited to the standard 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.
The internal specifications of the Sony VAIO F Series include a quad-core Intel Core i7-2670QM CPU (2.2GHz), 6GB of RAM, a 640GB 7200RPM hard drive and Nvidia GeForce GT 540M graphics with 1GB of dedicated video memory. The new quad-core Intel i7 CPU offers excellent performance, especially when paired with 6GB of RAM and a speedy hard drive. This laptop's performance ratings put it at or near the top-of-the-category when compared to similar laptops.
Graphics performance was also very respectable, mostly due to the discrete Nvidia graphics. We found 3D gaming performance to be above average for this laptop and you'll have no trouble playing today's latest games on moderate to high graphics settings. The good graphics performance extended to watching Blu-ray DVDs and streaming HD video, which played very smoothly and with very good quality, also lending itself to the screen and CPU.
Battery life with the Sony VAIO F Series was about 3.5-4 hours, which is on average with other similar laptops of similar specifications, so there's no disappointment to be found here.