Sony VAIO Fit 13

This sexy convertible Ultrabook uses a unique hinge to do the job, but is this its Achilles' heel?


7.0
CNET Rating

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Sony's latest hybrid is taking aim at one of the most competitive segments in the laptop world — ultraportable Ultrabooks that can convert into tablets. Looking like a million dollars, it's surprisingly affordable for a Sony laptop, especially considering some of the features found within.

Design and features

One of our favourite things about the Fit 13 is the wonderful display, which delivers beautiful, vibrant colours, no surprise given Sony's TV heritage. The display is a 13.3 inch touchscreen, and Sony hasn't compromised on the resolution, sticking with the bare minimum to make it truly HD at 1920 x 1080. If only it hadn't been saddled with a glossy finish that is highly reflective in daylight, it'd be one of our favourite laptop displays.

Thanks to a rather complex hinge mechanism, the display can be unlocked and then slid down over the keyboard, turning it into a tablet without leaving the keyboard exposed. While it feels reassuringly rugged in tablet mode, the hinge's intricacy could become a weak point over time. It also doesn't sit flat in tablet mode, with the hinge lying between the screen and the base, making it much taller than competing hybrids like the ThinkPad Yoga.

Sony has used beautiful brushed aluminium for the rear of the display and keyboard, leaving the single plastic surface under the base, away from prying eyes. It's a very attractive design, showing that Sony is still one of the companies to beat when it comes to pretty gadgets. Both the keyboard and touchpad are very well designed, with the backlit keyboard in particular surprisingly easy to use given its smaller size.

Connections, performance and battery

Given the very low weight of just 1.31kg, it's not surprising to see relatively limited hardware inside the Fit 13. Intel's Core i5-4200U, the darling of the laptop world, handles all CPU duties, while 4GB of DDR3-1600MHz provides short term memory. A 128GB SSD handles the long term memory, and that's about it. Intel's integrated HD Graphics 4400 are used instead of a discrete GPU, and there's no sign of a secondary hard drive at this price.

As a result, the Fit 13 delivered middle-of-the-road results in our overall system benchmark, PCMark 8 Home. Gaming performance was rather disappointing, scoring a rather low result of just 3847 in 3DMark's Cloud Gate benchmark, indicating that this laptop will struggle even with older PC games. Most tablets have excellent battery life as a result of their lower-end CPUs, but the Fit 13 turned in one of the shorter battery benchmark results we've seen, lasting just 229 minutes in PowerMark.

The range of connection options are as slim as the base, with twin USB 3.0 ports handling the lion's share of peripheral duties. A single HDMI out takes care of video out, while an SD card reader will happily house Sony's camera cards. Once again the lack of 802.11ac is very disappointing, instead including the basic 802.11a/b/g/n wireless NIC. Of special note are the dual webcams, with the rear-facing camera capturing at 3264 x 2248 pixels.

PCMark 8 Home Accelerated Test

  • 1727
  • Sony VAIO Multi-flip Fit 13
  • 2394
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
  • 1889
  • ASUS Vivobook S551LB
  • 1602
  • Dell XPS 11
  • 2231
  • Gigabyte U24Ti5
  • 2215
  • HP Spectre 13
  • 2625
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T440s
  • CRASHED
  • Lenovo ThinkPad E540
  • 1690
  • Sony VAIO Pro 11
  • 1844
  • Toshiba Satellite U50D

(Longer bar equals better performance)


3DMARK 2013 Edition - Cloud Gate

  • 3847
  • Sony VAIO Multi-flip Fit 13
  • 4667
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
  • 5101
  • ASUS Vivobook S551LB
  • 2165
  • Dell XPS 11
  • 4590
  • Gigabyte U24Ti5
  • 4030
  • HP Spectre 13
  • 4643
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T440s
  • 5597
  • Lenovo ThinkPad E540
  • 2080
  • Sony VAIO Pro 11
  • 2432
  • Toshiba Satellite U50D

(Longer bar equals better performance)


PowerMark - Battery Life (minutes)

  • 229
  • Sony VAIO Multi-flip Fit 13
  • 243
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
  • 270
  • ASUS Vivobook S551LB
  • 289
  • Dell XPS 11
  • 198
  • Gigabyte U24Ti5
  • 276
  • HP Spectre 13
  • 253
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T440s
  • 257
  • Lenovo ThinkPad E540
  • 231
  • Sony VAIO Pro 11
  • 261
  • Toshiba Satellite U50D

(Longer bar equals better performance)


Conclusion

There's no denying that the Fit 13 is one of the more attractive hybrids available, but we're a little concerned about the lifespan of the hinge design. Without a crystal ball it's impossible to see how well it will last, but wherever there is added complexity there's the added risk of failure. Regardless, the Fit 13 is a very lightweight, premium hybrid that specialises in productivity applications, although gaming isn't on the cards.

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