Sony VAIO Fit 14A multi-flip review
Despite a clever hinge design and excellent screen, the Fit 14A multi-flip is hamstrung by questionable design choices
Fusing the best of both laptop and tablet worlds is a tricky ask, but the VAIO Fit 14A multi-flip – the middle child of Sony’s new 13in, 14in and 15in hybrid family – is hoping to manage the feat. And despite the Full HD display and novel design, the price comes as a pleasant surprise – the cheapest model starts at £699 inc VAT.
Whichever specification you opt for, the Fit 14A’s striking physique remains the same. Brushed metal spreads across the lid and keyboard surround, a fissure running through the centre of the lid accommodates the “multi-flip” hinge, and soft-touch black plastics curl around the lid’s edges and cover the base. If the silver finish is too showy, the Fit 14A is available in a more sombre black; and if it isn’t showy enough, it also comes in pink.
Initially, there’s little evidence you’re looking at a hybrid device at all: the Fit 14A is indistinguishable from a standard laptop. Until, that is, you glimpse the switch along the keyboard’s top edge. Flick this to the side and the catches securing the display release, allowing it to spin backwards through 180 degrees. It’s necessary to use two hands to unhook and spin the display around – strong, hidden magnets hold the display in place even once the catch is released – but, that done, those same magnets snap the display solidly into place in its secondary position.
In laptop mode, the Fit 14A is refreshingly free from compromises. There’s a full-sized, backlit keyboard and a wide, buttonless touchpad, and while we’re not keen on the keyboard surround’s sharp edges, the wristrest is deep and wide enough not to dig into your wrists in normal usage.
The 14in touchscreen is a cut above. Both multitouch and pressure-sensitive stylus input are on the cards, and the Full HD resolution makes for pin-sharp clarity. Put to the test with our X-Rite colorimeter, the Sony’s IPS panel provided a maximum brightness of 322cd/m[sup]2[/sup] and a contrast ratio of 685:1, and its palette of delicious, bold colours covered almost every corner of the sRGB gamut. If there’s a criticism to be made it’s a minor one: the crisscross pattern of the digitising layer is faintly visible.
Thanks to the presence of Intel’s Haswell processors, there’s also ample power for most applications. While the cheapest £699 model makes do with a Haswell-based Pentium chip, the 1.7GHz Pentium 3556U, our review unit came equipped with a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U, 8GB of DDR3L RAM and a 1TB hard disk – a combination that scored a respectable 0.67 in our Real World Benchmarks. Should you so wish, though, it’s possible to improve the performance – and send the price soaring to £1,354 – by equipping the Fit 14A with a 512GB SSD and Core i7 CPU.
|Price ex VAT||£770|
|Price inc VAT||£924|
|Features & Design||3|
|Value for Money||4|
|Warranty||2 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||336 x 234 x 20mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i5-4200U|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||0|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,920|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,080|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Graphics chipset||Intel HD Graphics 4400|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|3.5mm audio jacks||1|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad, touchscreen, stylus|
|Camera megapixel rating||0.9mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||5hr 48min|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.67|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 8 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 8|
|Recovery method||Recovery partition|