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As a professional photographer I need a powerful PC and laptop to run the extensive editing software that I use on a regular basis. I have for a long time been a fan of Sony laptops and still believe that for looks and power they simply cannot be beaten.
My latest Sony laptop is the fantastic Vaio VPCF12Z1E/BI, a machine that boasts a full HD Vaio display and a Blu-ray player so you can enjoy the highest quality videos and games, the ability to conserve power with its built in light sensor so it can detect the light available and set the screen brightness automatically to suit, built in cinema-style surround sound with Dolby® Home Theater v3 and most importantly an Intel Core i7 processor with turbo boost technology and a huge 8GB or ram.
The new i7 processor is a quad core processor with built in turbo boost technology for those of you who do not understand the meaning of quad core here is my non techie explanation.
QUAD CORE EXPLAINED:
Quad-core processing is exactly what it sounds like, four processors running instead of one. The reason this is good is quite simple, imagine the processor in the computer to be similar to the brain of a human. The processor as the human brain would do feeds info to the various hardware and software for them to in turn react, much as the human brain makes your limbs move. The faster it can do this the faster your hardware and software will react, if the processor is inundated with requests it takes more time to pass it on to the correct hardware or software so having four makes lots of sense. When one processor is taking care of your cd burning and music downloading for instance one of the other processors will be only too happy to pass on any other info you need delivered to your hardware or software appliances in order for them to carry out their tasks simultaneously.
This requires plenty ram to be available also though as the ram is the memory used to open up programmes and if there isn't enough ram then the processors speed and power becomes useless. Although you would think that desktops and laptops with quad-core processors would automatically be built with enough ram this is not always the case so make sure when you buy that there is at least 2GB of ram but preferably four or more, this Sony laptop has 8GB this will allow you to get the very best out of the quad-core technology built in.
As well as being a quad-core processor this i7 also has built in turbo boost technology which means that should the processor doing the hardest task start to struggle it will get a much needed short term boost of power to allow it to always run completely smoothly and the user will never know any of this is going on they will just know that what they are doing is easy and fast.
In the main I use this laptop for photo editing and most of the time I am using Photoshop CS5, this is a very process hungry
programme that will slow down even most dual core processors, indeed my last laptop was a very expensive Sony Vaio with dual core processor and 4GB or ram yet it still got sluggish with CS5 running and if I tried to have some music on at the same time the media player would often get a bit jumpy.
Using this Sony VPCF12Z1E/BI machine I can easily breeze through my work in CS5 whilst most of the time having my airbrushing suite open and music playing too. The other huge advantage for my photo editing is the colour balanced HD screen, this allows me to see the photo exactly as it looks on the camera and exactly how it will look when printed instead of having a colour difference as most monitors show. My old laptop and indeed the PC I still use both showed a pinky tinge to the images that wasn't really there and this made editing more challenging.
Now just because I use it for photo editing doesn't mean that is all this machine is good for, far from it. The HD screen also of course makes watching TV streams or DVD`s or Blu-ray discs as enjoyable as watching them on today's HD T.V`s and if you happen to be into video editing then you get the same advantages as I get with my photo editing.
If you are a gamer then this machine will let you run today`s most demanding games with ease and the HD screen again comes into its own allowing you to get the best graphics available and as the machine comes with an NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 330M graphics card and 1GB of dedicated video ram memory the games highest specs can be fed to the screen no worries.
I am not a gamer but have played a few games on this laptop and the experience is certainly a very good one with the excellent graphics and sound you really get the best from the games as you do with pretty much everything else you will do with this unit.
The other thing I like about this laptop is the connections available to it, round the back of the machine you have 2 X USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader slot, a memory stick Duo slot, microphone jack, earphone jack, an i.link 4-pin connection, an Ethernet connection and an optical audio output slot.
Around the sides of the machine you have an express card slot, an HDMI connection, a SATA/USB slot and a connection to allow the use of a separate monitor.
Built in to the unit you have a motion eye built in webcam capable of taking 3 megapixel still images and 640x480 video, built in Bluetooth to allow you to upload and download straight to your mobile phone wirelessly and of course built in wireless to allow you to go online wirelessly.
Let's talk a bit more about the outstanding screen this laptop has, it is 16.4 inches in size and is capable of displaying real widescreen 16.9, has built in anti reflection, super high contrast and colour saturation, it is full HD 1080 rated and on top of all that the screen is scratch resistant.
Storage is another thing that laptops and PC`s must have plenty of these days and although many PC`s now come with a TB or more it is still very acceptable for a laptop to have around 250 or 300GB, with this laptop you get 500GB so it is right up there with most PC`s and better than most laptops in the storage department.
The other thing downloader's (legal of course) and fans of archiving will enjoy about this laptop is that as well as being able to play Blu-ray discs it can burn them too, allowing you to back up your own Blu-ray discs as well as burning your downloads to disc to keep and share.
Although this is one of the bigger Sony laptops at 263 X 387 mm it is still pretty light weight and easy and comfortable to carry around.
Overall this is a very impressive laptop that stands out head and shoulders above most others, the only thing it has typical about it is the battery life. As with most laptops this one runs on a Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and although this battery is more powerful than many it still only allows this laptop to run for approximately two and half hours with a full charge, that is of course because the laptop is so powerful it need lots of battery power to run it.
With a charge time of around four hours this laptop is very average on this front but way above average on most others, it is certainly a laptop I would recommend to others and one I am very happy with myself. I purchased this laptop around about 4 months ago and it cost me just over £1300 I have seen it as low as £1200 now but also as high as £1599 so shop around before buying it if this review has tempted you to do so.
There are a few other things that should be mentioned about this laptop before I wrap this review up, such as the soft touch keyboard which is a delight to use, the stunning good looks of the unit which is premium black in colour (black is the new silver you know), it also comes with some pretty decent software installed such as an audio software called MusicStation, a media gallery, Windows live essentials suite and a remote keyboard.
I have owned three Sony Vaio laptops now and although the other three were similar this one is leaps and bounds better than any of the previous ones, a friend of mine has a non Sony produced laptop that he paid nearly £2000 and he reluctantly agrees with me that this Sony blows it out the water.
THE SONY VPCF12Z1E/BI STATS:
Operating System - Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Platform - Intel® CoreTM i7 processor Chipset - Intel® PM55 Express Chipset Colour- Premium Black CPU- Intel® CoreTM i7-740QM Processor with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology Processor Speed (GHz) - 1.73 Max Turbo Boost Speed (GHz) - 2.93 L2/L3 Cache (MB) - 6 Number of Cores - 4 Memory Size (GB) - 8 Memory Specification
Pictures of Sony VAIO F Series VPC-F12Z1E/BI
Sony VAIO F Series VPC-F12Z1E/BI
- PC3-10600 Memory Speed (MHz) - 1333 Memory Type - DDR3 SDRAM Max. Supported Memory (GB) - 8 Hard Drive Type - Serial ATA Hard Drive Capacity (GB) - 500 Hard Drive Speed (rpm) - 7200 Optical Drive Type - Blu-ray DiscTM Drive with DVD SuperMulti Read -CD x24, CD-R x24, CD-RW x24, DVD x8, DVD-R DL x6, DVD-R x8, DVD-RW x8, DVD+R DL x6, DVD+R x8, DVD+RW x8, DVD-RAM x5, BD-ROM x6, BD-R x6, BD-R DL x4, BD-RE x4, BD-RE DL x4 Write - CD-R x24, CD-RW x10, DVD-R DL x4, DVD-R x8, DVD-RW x6, DVD+R DL x4, DVD+R x8, DVD+RW x8, DVD-RAM x5, BD-R x6, BD-R DL x4, BD-RE x2, BD-RE DL x2 Screen Type - VAIO Display Premium Diagonal Size (in) - 16.4 Diagonal Size (cm) - 41.6 Aspect Ratio - 16:9 Resolution - 1920 x 1080 Max Resolution External Display - 1920 x 1200 Graphic Card Name - NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 330M GPU Video RAM memory (MB) - 1GB Total Graphics Memory - Approx. 4600MB* USB Port (quantity) - 2 (3 including e-SATA/USB port) USB Version 3.0 i.Link 4-pin (IEEE1394) - 1; S400 Memory StickTM Slot - 1: M.S. PRO-HG (Duo Only) Memory StickTM Function - PRO-HG (Duo Only) / MagicGate(MGR) Microphone Jack - 1: Stereo Mini Jack Headphone Jack - 1: Stereo Mini Jack Optical Audio Out (SPDIF) - YES SD Card Slot - YES HDMI Output - YES VGA Output - 1: mini D-sub 15p e-SATA/USB port - Yes: x1 Express Card Slot - 34mm x1 Network Connectivity- Ethernet (RJ-45 Direct Port) - YES Ethernet Type - 10BASE-T/100BASE-TX/1000BASE-T Wireless LAN - YES Wireless LAN Type - 802.11a/b/g/n Wireless LAN Max. Date Rate (Mbps) - 300 (RX)/ 300 (TX) Bluetooth - YES Built-in Speakers - Stereo Built-in Microphone - YES: Monaural Dolby Codec - Dolby Home Theater v3 Built-in Camera - MOTION EYE® Effective Pixels - 640x480 (VGA) Keyboard -Stroke (mm) - 2 Touch Pad - 1: Multi Touch
Special Buttons Display OFF, VAIO, Assist, S1, AV buttons Auto Luminance Control - YES Kensigton Lock - YES Supplied Accesories AC Adaptor - VGP-AC19V46 Power Cord - YES
Depth Main Unit (mm) - 263 Height Main Unit (mm) - 31 - 41 Width Main Unit (mm) - 387.2 Primary Battery- VGP-BPS21A Battery Type - Li-Ion Power - 54Wh(10.8V/5000mAh) Battery Life time (hours) - 2.5 Battery Charge time (hours) - 4
TO SUM UP:
I am pretty much super impressed with this excellent Sony laptop, apart from battery life it is everything anyone could want whatever their computing needs might be, it is very good looking, very sleek and stylish, it is very well made and will not fall apart at the slightest knock.
It is super fast and super reliable, has a picture quality that is second to none both in video editing, photo editing HD viewing and gaming, it has a built in webcam if video chatting through Skype or MSN is your thing, it has enough processor power and ram to run anything you throw at it and although computers are upgraded every few months by manufacturers, this one will be one of the highest spec out there for a good while yet.
If I were asked which laptop I would recommend then this is the one for sure even though I do have another very good Sony Vaio in my studio and have used various other top end laptops in other studios, this one stands out on too many fronts to be beaten in my opinion.