Skip to navigation

Sony VAIO Fit 13A multi-flip review

Verdict

A clever, attractive hybrid design ruined by ergonomic issues and an ever-whirring cooling fan

Review Date: 14 Nov 2013

Reviewed By: Bobby Macpherson

Price when reviewed: £833 (£1,000 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
3 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

It's been some time in the making, but Sony has finally found its answer to Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga range of hybrid Windows 8 devices. The VAIO Fit 13A multi-flip marries a handsome Ultrabook-class figure with an ingenious, concealed hinge that allows it to transform into a 13.3in tablet.

The only clue to the VAIO Fit 13A's twin identities is the fissure running along the centre of its lid – it's here that the hinge for the laptop's dual-position display hides.

Sony VAIO Fit 13A multi-flip

Release the latch above the keyboard and the screen spins through 180 degrees, strong magnets snapping it into place. That done, you can fold the screen flat against the laptop's body and use it as a tablet, or tilt it up and use the keyboard base as a stand.

It's a party trick we've seen before in the Sony 14in VAIO Fit 14A multi-flip, but the VAIO Fit 13A multi-flip is far lighter and more portable, measuring 18mm thick and weighing a mere 1.29kg.

Sony VAIO Fit 13A multi-flip

The 13.3in touchscreen is justifiably the centre of attention. It's an IPS panel providing a pin-sharp Full HD resolution, and its 313cd/m2 maximum brightness and 826:1 contrast ratio are matched by a vivid palette of colour. This is one of the few laptop displays to cover the entire sRGB gamut.

It's very accurate: we measured an impressive average Delta E of 3.1, ensuring photos and video will look as they're meant to. There's a stylus supplied in the box, which provides pressure-sensitive inking and handwriting support. The only negative point is that the faint grid pattern of the digitising layer is visible, but given the quality elsewhere, this is forgivable.

No Ultrabook possesses an abundance of ports, but the Sony is comparatively well appointed. There are two USB 3 ports, an HDMI output, an SD card reader and a 3.5mm headset jack scattered around its slender edges, and the provision of dual-band 802.11abgn wireless, Bluetooth 4 and NFC nails most of the essentials.

Sony VAIO Fit 13A multi-flip

Spend a little longer with the Sony, however, and its flaws bubble to the surface. Performance is the first to suffer. In our tests, the Sony's cooling fans struggled to keep the Haswell CPU in check: the fans ran almost constantly in everyday use, and spun up noisily during benchmarking sessions. It was only once we engaged the Sony's silent mode that the fans went quiet, but this had a deleterious effect on performance, throttling the CPU to a maximum of 800MHz.

Even with the Sony's Performance mode enabled, we noted slightly lower performance than with similarly specified rivals: the VAIO Fit 13A multi-flip scored 0.57 in our Real World Benchmarks. We suspect this result is down to the CPU running too hot to use Turbo Boost effectively. By comparison, the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 and Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus all possess the same i5 Haswell processor and hit benchmark scores of 0.59, 0.61 and 0.64 respectively.

Intel's Haswell does its best to swell the Sony's reserves of stamina, however. With screen brightness dimmed to 75cd/m2, and Wi-Fi toggled off, the VAIO Fit 13A multi-flip lasted 7hrs 25mins in our light-use battery test. That's acceptable, but not the best we've seen.

Sony VAIO Fit 13A multi-flip

Sadly – and just as we found with its big brother – the overall design leaves much to be desired. The sharp edges of the metal keyboard surround occasionally catch the wrists, and since the metal layer slightly overhangs the Sony's sides, it can obstruct chunkier USB devices or 3.5mm headphone jacks.

Build quality could be improved upon. The base flexes readily to and fro, and the noticeable give in the keyboard panel leaves each keystroke feeling deadened and lacking in feel. The buttonless touchpad is unimpressive, too, and we often found ourselves dabbing it multiple times to register left- and right-clicks – a driver may rectify matters in time, but for now it's frustrating.

The VAIO Fit 13A multi-flip is attractive, both visually and physically, but it puts in an inconsistent showing. The elegant hinge design and glorious display are soured by negatives such as the noisy cooling fans and patchy build quality. There's promise here, but if you're in the market for a hybrid device, the Dell XPS 12 is a far better buy.

Author: Bobby Macpherson

Subscribe to PC Pro magazine. We'll give you 3 issues for £1 plus a free gift - click here
Be the first to comment this article

You need to Login or Register to comment.

(optional)

Latest Category Reviews
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 (11 inch) review

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 (11 inch)

Category: Laptops
Rating: 5 out of 6
Price: £500
Asus Memo Pad 8 review

Asus Memo Pad 8

Category: Tablets
Rating: 4 out of 6
Price: £180
MSI GE70 2PE Apache Pro review

MSI GE70 2PE Apache Pro

Category: Laptops
Rating: 6 out of 6
Price: £1,300
Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 review

Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 12.2

Category: Tablets
Rating: 4 out of 6
Price: £649
Dell Precision M3800 review

Dell Precision M3800

Category: Laptops
Rating: 4 out of 6
Price: £1,799
Compare reviews: Laptops

advertisement

Most Commented Reviews
Latest News Stories Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Blog Posts Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Features
Latest Real World Computing

advertisement

Sponsored Links
 

 
SEARCH
Loading
WEB ID
SIGN UP

Your email:

Your password:

remember me

advertisement


Hitwise Top 10 Website 2010
 
 

PCPro-Computing in the Real World Printed from www.pcpro.co.uk

Register to receive our regular email newsletter at http://www.pcpro.co.uk/registration.

The newsletter contains links to our latest PC news, product reviews, features and how-to guides, plus special offers and competitions.