Tuesday, July 3, 2012

13-inch Ultrabook Showdown - Samsung NP530U3C A02 versus Sony Vaio T13 (SVT13115FGS)

A few days ago we compared the 13-inch Apple MacBook Air (128 GB) versus the Samsung NP530U3C A02. There really is no real winner or looser in this comparison. The MacBook Air runs Mac OSX and the Samsung Ultrabook runs Windows. 

Samsung NP530U3C

The Samsung Ultrabook is a lot cheaper, priced Php15,000 less, but comes with a hybrid drive which combines a 500 GB conventional rotating disk hard drive with a 24 GB solid state drive used for cache. The MacBook Air cost more but comes with a more expensive 128 GB solid state drive. So basically it comes down to less but faster storage versus more but slower storage. 

The MacBook Air can be upgraded to 256 or 512 GB of flash storage but this would add up to the price a lot. A 13-inch Macbook Air with 256 GB of storage would cost Php72,990, and bringing it up  to 512 GB bring the price all the way up to Php97,990. 

So in the end, those looking for a slim and like 13-inch laptop have the Samsung NP530U3C at Php42,990 and the 13-inch MacBook Air (128 GB) at Php57,990... and out best advice comes down to is pick your own poison. 

Sony Vaio T13

Sony has thrown in its own 13-inch Ultrabook into the field, the Sony Vaio T13 (SVT13115FGS) and this one is a direct competitor to the Samsung NP530U3C.

The Samsung is cheaper. Samsung wings this category. The Samsung NP530U3C is priced at Php42,990 while the Sony Vaio T13 is priced at Php49,999. Both prices allow for 12-months deferred payment, and if you buy it for cash you get get around a 10% discount for either Ultrabook. 

Both laptop have the same innards. Both the Samsung NP530U3C and the Sony Vaio T13 have the same processor, pre-installed RAM, storage and features.

Commons specifications:
  • 13.3 inch HD (1366 x 768) display
  • Intel Core i5-3317U processor (Ivy Bridge)
  • Intel HD 4000 graphics
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 500 GB hard drive (5400 rpm) with a solid state drive cache
  • SD card reader
  • USB 3.0 and USB 2.0
  • HDMI out
  • Bluetooth 
  • Webcam
  • WiFi

Does the Sony Vaio T13 have additional hardware to justify the higher cost? The Sony Vaio T13 costs all of 7K more. The Sony Vaio T13, has a Memory Stick Duo slot in addition to the card reader. It also comes with Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) instead of the Windows 7 Home Basic on the Samsung NP530U3C. 

The SSD drive use for cache on the Sony Vaio T13 is also a larger 32 GB than the 24 GB SSD drive on the Samsung NP530U3C. Whether this makes any real world difference, I cannot answer right now. Suffice it to say that Sony does have some add-ons to justify a higher price tag. 

Thinness and lightness. Buyers looking at this two options are concerned about portability. The Samsung is the lighter of the two at 3.2 pounds, while the Sony weighs in at 3.5 pounds. Both are about the same thickness, with the Sony being less than 1 mm thicker, but visually the Sony looks thicket because its frame is of equal thickness throughout the entire length of the chassis while the Samsung get thinner at the front. After picking up these two laptops, I really do not feel that one is more portable than the other, but if it comes down to numbers, the Samsung NP530U3C.

Where the Sony falls short - battery life. Unfortunately not all the hardware of the higher priced Sony Vaio T13 is better than that on the Samsung NP530U3C. Sony rates its Vaio T13 to have a 4.5 hour battery life. Samsung rates it own unit to have 6.5 hours of battery life. The reason for the difference is that the Samsung has a 4-cell 6100 mAh Li-Po battery, as compared to the 4050 mAh Lithium Ion battery on the Sony. 

Winner: Samsung NP530U3C AO2. Personally, I really do like the Sony more, but mainly that is based on the fact that I like the way it looks. But what is hard to ignore is the larger battery on the Samsung NP530U3C. Both laptop looks equally good for the money, until you factor in the battery life which I think is enough reason to give declare the Samsung NP530U3C the winner.

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