In principle, you can move an all-in-one around the house and the Vaio L13 has the convenience of 802.11n wireless and is fairly compact. Yet it weighs in at 12.5kg, which makes it awkward to lug around the house other than once in a while. As I see it the Vaio L13 fills a gaping hole in the middle of the Apple iMac range, bookended by the £969 21.5in model at one end and the 27in giant that costs £1378 at the other.
PCMark Vantage Results
Longer bars are better
Longer bars are better
From a technical stance, the Vaio L13 and the small iMac have a certain amount in common as they both use a Core 2 Duo CPU with Nvidia graphics and they both look as pretty as a picture. When you get up close to the Sony you’ll see that some of the ‘aluminium’ is actually painted plastic but it still looks lovely. The wireless keyboard also complements the looks of the Vaio L13 but I feel that Sony took the styling a touch too far with the wireless mouse. It uses an ambidextrous design that looks ungainly and also feels uncomfortable in the hand.
Above the screen there are three tiny LEDS – green for wireless, amber for HDD and green for power. The two green lights are constant while the amber light blinks when the hard drive is working, which is most of the time you are in front of the screen, and gets damned annoying. In the centre of the top bezel there is a 0.3Mp webcam. On the left side of the screen there are five USB 2.0 ports and an S400 i.link (aka Firewire) port for connecting your digital camcorder or external drive, with the DVD drive on the right.
The cooling fan speeds up and slows down noticeably when the graphics and CPU are working hard and it is too noisy at the best of times. Running even the simplest application such as Microsoft Surface Globe increases the power draw from 70W at idle to 80W with a maximum of 100W when the Vaio L13 is under severe duress.
Desktop Touchscreen - Why?
I don't see the point of a touchscreen on a desktop pc. For text entry, a real physical keyboard beats a touchscreen handsdown; for gui manipulation, and I say this as a dedicated iPhone user, a mouse is far superior, because of its greater flexibility provided by separating pointer location and button press, and by the provision of multiple types of presses (right button vs left). Multi touch goes some way towards compensating for this but the mouse is still significantly better.
The reason touch screens have been so successful recently is that they have been implemented in situations where keyboards and mice are impractical or result in poor tradeoffs. A phone with a physical keyboard must be much bulkier, or must have a very small and hard to use key selection, or must force the reduction in other compenents (screen, battery), or all of the above. A mouse simply isn't practical without a surface to use it on, and mobile hardware needs to be in one piece, rather than multiple pieces that can get separated and lost (hence styluses being not so great either). None of these situations apply to a desktop pc, and sure enough, the pc comes with mouse and keyboard that work far better than the pointless touchscreen, which remains simply a pointless gimmick.
For around the same price you can grab the VPCL13S1E/S with 8GB of memory and 1TB hdd, tv tuner etc. I've used these things before and they're brilliant. I'll hopefully get one soon. The only complaint that I'd have would be that the multi touch screen isn't quite as good as it should be.
Vaio L series Pricing
Re: L12-M pricing
It seems that the L-12M1 is now being discounted, as John Lewis & P.C World are now offering the M1 for £999 including VAT (John Lewis are offering a free 2 year warranty) , which the L11 Model somewhat obsolete, cost wise...
So given that the L13 is a slightly upgraded L12, is there a L13-S1 variant on the horizon...?
As for David Lucke's comment, the L12-M1 does come with a wireless keyboard & mouse, but I'm not sure about the S1...
Multitouch and high-gloss screen? Unfortunate combination.
At least if it gets nicked there will be plenty of fingerprints.