Sony VAIO Fit 14A multi-flip review

4 Nov 2013

Despite a clever hinge design and excellent screen, the Fit 14A multi-flip is hamstrung by questionable design choices

Price when reviewed 
924
4

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.

Sony VAIO Fit 14A multi-flip

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £770
Price inc VAT £924
Overall rating 4
Features & Design 3
Value for Money 4
Performance 4

Warranty

Warranty 2 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 336 x 234 x 20mm (WDH)
Weight 1.920kg
Travelling weight 2.3kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i5-4200U
RAM capacity 8.00GB
Memory type DDR3L
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 0

Screen and video

Screen size 14.0in
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
HDMI outputs 1

Drives

Capacity 1.00TB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes

Other Features

3.5mm audio jacks 1
SD card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad, touchscreen, stylus
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 0.9mp

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 5hr 48min
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.67
Responsiveness score 0.84
Media score 0.67
Multitasking score 0.50

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 8 64-bit
OS family Windows 8
Recovery method Recovery partition