With its large (16.4-inch), high-definition display, powerful graphics and Blu-ray drive, the Sony Vaio VPC-F12M0E/B is designed to appeal to gamers and media junkies. Our review model was supplied by Laptops Direct, where you can buy it for £950.
Sony's laptop designs rarely fall flat, and this model certainly doesn't let the side down. Although not overly showy, the design does feature some neat touches, such as circular screen hinges, which are home to the power socket and backlit power button. We also like the grid pattern used on the wrist rest and trackpad, as well as the subtle speaker grille nestled beneath the screen. With its 16.4-inch display, this model isn't big on portability, especially with a hefty weight of 3.1kg. Since it's more likely to be used around the house rather than on the move, however, its weight and dimensions aren't such a big issue.
Flip it open and the first thing that strikes you is the quality of the display. Measuring a full 16.4 inches diagonally and with a resolution of 1080p, it looks drop-dead gorgeous. Not only is it pin-sharp, but it's also extremely bright and produces impressively natural colours. Games and movies played from the Blu-ray drive look absolutely fantastic. Being the nit-pickers that we are, however, we should point out the slight inconsistency in the backlighting -- the bottom of the screen is noticeably brighter than the rest of the display during darker scenes in movies.
Following the lead of Apple's MacBook and most of today's high-end laptops, the Vaio uses a keyboard with an isolated design, where the individual keys are flat and seem to be stamped out of the chassis. Given the rather wide nature of the chassis, Sony has had no problem squeezing in a numerical keypad on the right-hand side. In fact, the keyboard feels very roomy thanks to its full-sized main keys, including 'shift' and 'return'. The keyboard also feels really solid -- there's almost no flex and the keys are springy so it's easy to get up to a fast typing speed. We like the large, matte-finish trackpad -- it feels fast and smooth under your finger. The two wide trackpad buttons are also very responsive and give a firm click when pressed.