Sony Vaio VPC-F215FX/BI review: Sony Vaio VPC-F215FX/BI

Our review unit has a slightly different processor (Intel Core i7-2730QM vs. Intel Core i7-2630QM) than the model currently for sale on Sony's Web site, but both are powerful quad-core CPUs that should be able to handle any task you throw at the system, including intense multitasking. It was a strong performer in our benchmark tests, closely matching high-end systems such as the Dell XPS 17 and Toshiba Qosmio F755 , both of which also have the Intel Core i7-2630QM.

For a 3D laptop, this system seems better-suited to Blu-ray and video playback than games. The Nvidia GeForce GT540M GPU is midrange, and while it should play most current games, you may need to dial back the resolution and settings to get good frame rates. Also note that playing games in 3D will use some system resources. We played Street Fighter IV at the native resolution at 46.1 frames per second in 2D mode, but only 22 frames per second in 3D mode. Metro 2033 ran at only 12.3 frames per second in 2D mode at 1,366x768 pixels, but that's a deliberately very challenging test.

Juice box
Sony Vaio F215FX Average watts per hour
Off (60%) 0.85
Sleep (10%) 1.1
Idle (25%) 16.6
Load (05%) 79.22
Raw kWh number 76.48
Annual power consumption cost $8.86

Annual power consumption cost
Sony Vaio VPCF215FX/BI
$15.28 
Dell XPS 17 3D
$15.69 

The 16-inch laptop is put into a tough spot when it comes to battery life. In many cases, including this one, it has high-end parts, such as a quad-core CPU, discrete GPU, and a full HD display; but it's still smaller than a desktop replacement, and you may expect a certain amount of portability. The Vaio F215 frankly doesn't deliver much battery life, running only 1 hour and 43minutes on our video playback battery drain test, which doesn't even include any time playing back stereoscopic 3D content. Perhaps switchable graphics, via Nvidia's Optimus setup, would have helped.

The Sony Vaio F215 is backed by an industry-standard, one-year warranty. Support is accessible 24-7 via a toll-free phone line, an online knowledge base, and a Web site with driver downloads. Sony's support sites are clean and easy to navigate, but information about your exact laptop configuration may be hard to find, especially in the case of our particular SKU, which seems to have already been replaced by a slightly newer model.

Conclusion
We've seen more 3D laptops in 2011 so far than we ever expected to. The Vaio F215 is on the more expensive side, and is easily the nicest-looking of the bunch, but also falls a bit behind in battery life and game performance, but if we're not shopping for price, the full 1080p display is a big plus.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Metro 2033 (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,366x768, High, DX11, AAA, 4X AF  
Sony Vaio VPCF215FX/BI
12.3 

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops. System configurations:

Sony Vaio VPCF215FX/BI
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.0GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540M; 640GB Toshiba 7,200rpm

Lenovo Ideapad Y570
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1 GB Nvidia GeForce GT 555M; 500GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1 GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540M; 750GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

Toshiba Qosmio F755-3D290
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.0GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540M; 750GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Dell XPS 17 3D
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.0GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 3GB Nvidia GeForce GT 555M; 500GB Seagate 7,200rpm

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

Sony Vaio VPC-F215FX/BI

Part Number: VPCF215FX/BI

MSRP: $1,799.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Resolution 1920 x 1080 ( Full HD )
  • Installed Size 6 GB
  • Color black
  • Weight 7.1 lbs
  • Optical Drive BD-ROM - fixed
  • Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M - 1 GB
  • CPU Intel Core i7 (2nd Gen) 2630QM / 2 GHz
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