Review Sony Vaio Fit 13A SV-F13N1L2E/S Convertible

Sebastian Jentsch, 12/30/2013

A chameleon. The multi-flip presents itself as a transformation artist. At one moment, it sports a clamshell look; in the next, it is suddenly a tablet PC. What does Sony do better or worse than the numerous convertibles on the market?

Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S: The ideal melding of notebook and tablet?
Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S: The ideal melding of notebook and tablet?

For the original German review, see here.

With its IFA 2013 presentation, Sony unveiled a new concept: a multi-flip subnotebook that transforms into presentation or tablet mode. The hinge for this transformation sits in the middle of the lid. The Vaio Fit 13A multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S is the first model that is currently available (from  1,150 Euros market price, or $~1575). Sony itself is abuzz about a "new standard" and will soon offer a 15-inch (Fit 15A) and a 14-inch (Fit 14A) model. Our test report will reveal whether the bill is worth it.

In order to place this model within its competition, we also examined its counterparts in this price segment: HP's Spectre 13-h205eg x2 (1,100 Euros, $~1500) and Asus' Taichi 31 CX003H (1,200 Euros, $~1650). HP's EliteBook Revolve 810 and Lenovo's ThinkPad Helix, which target a more professional audience, each cost somewhat more.

Case

Wie wir testen - Gehäuse

As subnotebook...
As subnotebook...
...on the way to tablet mode...
...on the way to tablet mode...
...now in presentation mode...
...now in presentation mode...
...and on arrival in tablet mode.
...and on arrival in tablet mode.

As a tablet, the Vaio Fit multi-flip cannot weigh very much, which is why the manufacturer has scrimped and saved at every opportunity. This does not mean that there is not any aluminum: it makes up the entire wrist wrest and keyboard border in a textured, optically pleasing form. This 2.5-mm-thick panel makes up the deciding factor in terms of stability, though it unfortunately falls short of giving a solid, stiff impression. We could fairly easily bend the base, which measures only 7 mm (front part; ~0.3 inches) to 20 mm (reverse side, without base; ~0.8 inches), causing the chassis to creak. The silver grid containing the keys consists of plastic. If it were metal, the base stability would improve markedly.

The hinge fits tight in the case and gives a higher resistance over the last 20 degrees of opening. This makes it a bit harder to open the lid. This is all to the good; this way, the display hardly teeters at all while using the touchscreen function. The lid slides under the chassis when open, raising it by a few millimeters. Small stands on the flap help it avoid damage and scratches.

A locking mechanism on the hinge prevents the display from slipping backward inadvertently, which would otherwise be inevitable while folding back and forth. In tablet mode, apart from two magnets, there is no mechanical fix for this issue - but this is not necessary, since both magnets hold the lid tight against the case. In this mode, a noticeable gap remains between the chassis and display (tablet mode).

In order to fold the convertible from tablet to laptop mode, the user must slide the display upward slightly over the webcam. For an intermediate step, the user can choose to cover up the keyboard (only the touchpad is visible). Since the display cannot be fixed in place in this configuration, this only makes sense for stationary use.

The lid in itself is thin, but also easily movable. Its case consists of brushed aluminum, though the need to fold it robs it of some of its resistance to twisting. A rubber pad acts as a hinge, which almost entirely avoids potential damage through overuse. We can only hope that the data cable, which lies inside this pad, remains functional without any faults through constant use.

Connectivity

Wie wir testen - Ausstattung

Ports are fairly spartan: just 2x USB 3.0 and HDMI have found their way into the case. In comparison to tablet competitors like the HP Spectre 13 or the Asus Taichi 31, our Vaio makes a somewhat weaker impression. The Taichi 31 also offers another Mini-VGA, which can be attached to an included VGA adapter.

Reverse side: volume control
Reverse side: volume control
Front: no ports
Front: no ports
right: 2x USB 3.0, SD card, HDMI, power button
right: 2x USB 3.0, SD card, HDMI, power button
left: AC, speaker/microphone combo
left: AC, speaker/microphone combo

Communication

On account of the thin chassis, Sony decided not to include an Ethernet port. As with the Vaio Pro 13 or the Tab 11, this can be remedied with an optional adapter that can be attached to the power cord, which has a USB port. Over the wireless router VGP-WAR100 (10/100 Mbits/s RJ45), the Fit 13A connects via Intel Wireless-N 7260. The router is best suited for scenarios involving a single Ethernet infrastructure, but it does not suffer by accepting a signal instead. The Wireless-N 7260 sends this signal up to 10 meters (~33 feet) without any appearance of degradation and full reception. After that, at our 15-meter (~49 feet) measurement point outside the building, our Vaio loses contact with the router. This apparently has little to do with poor antennae or the aluminum screening of the case, since all Wireless-N 7260 models have this limitation in their range (for example, the Vaio Pro 13, Lenovo IdeaPad U430p, or Dell Inspiron 7737). In our unstandardized tests, the router ran with 50% transmission power.

Bluetooth 4.0 is likewise available, as is an NFC module for no-contact connections. After a brief adjustment period, an NFC Bluetooth headset can be used immediately via NFC without changing any administrative settings.

Accessories

Sony equips the Vaio Fit multi-flip with a digitizer pen. This only makes sense; after all, the display has a grid, which makes it possible to use a digital pen like this one. As an optional accessory, there is an HDMI-to-VGA dongle alongside the already-mentioned Ethernet Wi-Fi. Together, both cost 60 Euros (~$85) from Sony.

Software

Useful software or bloatware? Sony packs the 128-GB drive full of software, including both full and test versions. After MS Office, McAfee LiveSafe, Socialife and additional applications have taken up their space, only 50 GB are available for use. Here it is important to do some mucking-out first. The platform WildTangentGames is completely crammed with popular favorites like Virtual Villagers 5 or Cut the Rope. By deleting them, the user can free up a fair bit of ballast (18 games). 

On the other hand, Imagination Studio - VAIO Edition deserves praise. It includes commercial consumer products: Movie Studio Platinum 12, ACID Music Studio 9, Sound Forge Audio Studio 10 and DVD Architect Studio 5. This package is available in other locations for 99 Euros (without ACID, ~$135).

Maintenance

The 13-inch model does not offer any maintenance options; at least not any that are easily available. There is no maintenance flap on the underside, and the battery is firmly integrated.

Warranty

Sony offers a two-year warranty on its Vaio Fit multi-flip. In the Sony Online Store, a 4-year warranty is thrown in for free. Sony offers uniform warranty updates for all its Vaio notebooks, and the corresponding website supplies the necessary information. The above 4-year warranty has a value of 170 Euros (~$230).

44-W power cord
44-W power cord
Digitizer Stylus VGP-STD2
Digitizer Stylus VGP-STD2
instructions, warranty information
instructions, warranty information
Settings: Vaio Control Center
Settings: Vaio Control Center

Webcam

Sony goes flat-out in terms of webcams; a main camera with 8 megapixels (3264x4228) is available alongside the standard front camera (1 MP, 1280x720 pixels). The former can also be used in laptop mode. This is somewhat impractical, since it is located on the underside of the base. The quality is nothing to sneeze at, but a precise focus does not always work in daylight. This became most obvious at an FHD resolution (see image 2, below). All in all, we could not complain: photos show crystal clear resolution, there is no blurring, and the colors show true. The photos were taken under strong cloud cover. We have to exclude the HD front camera from this praise - with its pixelated images, nothing more than snapshots or chat conferences is really possible. 

We used the tool CamScanner to take images of text with the main camera (8 MP). Selection of particular text blocks with the finger worked well, though optical character recognition was unusable.

Main camera for tablet mode
Main camera for tablet mode
Rear: 1920 x 1080 (middle)
Rear: 1920 x 1080 (middle)
Rear: false focus, details in background
Rear: false focus, details in background
Rear: up to 3264 x 4228 pixels
Rear: up to 3264 x 4228 pixels
Rear: well focused, many details
Rear: well focused, many details
EOS 1100D: Reference
EOS 1100D: Reference
Front: 1280 x 720
Front: 1280 x 720
Blurring, somewhat focused
Blurring, somewhat focused

Input Devices

Wie wir testen - Eingabegeräte

Keyboard

A shortcoming of the illuminated keyboard is its weak feedback. The chiclet keys have a negligible stroke, which leads to a somewhat bouncy impression. This makes it impossible for the pressure point to give its feedback. The illumination shines through the letters (transparent plastic), which means that the characters are hard to read when the keyboard light is deactivated. This will not bother typers who do not look at the keys anyway, though they will miss the feel of tapered, concave keys. Still, this solution makes a bit of sense, because of the generous keyboard layout and its offset arrow keys. Unfortunately, keyboard illumination cannot be turned on or off by a hotkey, but only through Vaio Control Tool.

Touchpad

The ClickPad with its 12-centimeter (~4.7 inch) diagonal recognizes inputs well up through its periphery, and it is furnished with a matte, but still relatively smooth coating. Both mouse buttons are activated by pressing on the lower edge of the pad. The stroke could still be a bit larger, but it works well with the comfortably light pressure point. 

Touchpanel

The touchpanel reacts to finger inputs without delay, and even one-finger clicks on small symbols are usually interpreted precisely. The digitizer stylus VGP-STD2 is a very important tool for all users who want to effectively use the touchscreen in their Windows work lives. The Vaio Tap 11 includes one of these as well. The digital pen with its aluminum case sits well in the hand thanks to its metallic weight, and handwritten notes can be written with accuracy. Here is one advantage of the stylus: as soon as its point starts hovering over the screen, finger inputs are disabled, and we were able to lay our wrists or fingers on the touchscreen while writing.

As Sony well knows, the efficiency of a touchscreen stands and falls with the user's tools. For that reason, the manufacturer equips the SSD with CamScanner (for scanning contents, synchronizing, forwarding information, and managing data), VAIO Clip (for collecting web contents / images for presentations) and VAIO Paper (for adding notes to documents).

Touchpad
Touchpad
Keyboard
Keyboard

Display

Wie wir testen - Display

Sony offers its 13-inch model only with full HD display (1920x1080). The highest resolution is offered by the 15.6-inch sister model Fit 15A, which has a resolution of 2880x1620 pixels. The competitors Taichi 31 and HP Spectre 13-h205eg likewise display in FHD in their 13.3-inch versions. Only the Taichi 31 offers a matte display on the inner side (non-touch; outer side: touch).

374
cd/m²
378
cd/m²
372
cd/m²
369
cd/m²
368
cd/m²
379
cd/m²
358
cd/m²
350
cd/m²
399
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 399 cd/m²
Average: 371.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 368 cd/m²
Black: 0.63 cd/m²
Contrast: 584:1
SV-F13N1L2E/S vs. sRGB
SV-F13N1L2E/S vs. sRGB
SV-F13N1L2E/S vs. AdobeRGB
SV-F13N1L2E/S vs. AdobeRGB

The Vaio's strong brightness - 368 cd/m² on average - markedly outstrips the Taichi 31 (-31%), with the Spectre 13 sitting nearly dead even (-6%). On the other hand, the Vaio has a substantially weaker contrast (584:1) as well as black level (0.63 cd/m²). 

Both the Taichi 31 and the Spectre 13 boast colors that are twice as crisp, with contrasts of approximately 1,200:1. Still, users need not worry about weak, washed-out colors. A black image does not appear completely black under high brightness, as it does in HP and Asus models. We need not criticize the panel for clouding of the background illumination; at most, we noted only a small amount of brightness at the edges.

At 88%, the illumination is very good, considering the high luminance.

We calibrated the Triluminos display to sRGB and tested the masks of the two most important color spaces. The Fit 13A can reproduce sRGB with a fit of about 90% and AdobeRGB at up to 60%. This probably will not be enough for most professional users.

Using CalMAN Software and a photo spectrometer (delivery condition), we assessed whether the panel meets the expectations of professional image editors. The grayscale (factory condition) looks acceptable, and CalMAN reports a DeltaE(2000) of 5. A DeltaE of 2.5 would mean that the human eye could hardly detect any difference between natural color and color displayed onscreen (color chart). Likewise, the color saturation shows only moderate deviations (DeltaE usually below 5), which the ColorChecker attributes to an overall DeltaE of 4.56.

CalMAN grayscale
CalMAN grayscale
CalMAN saturation
CalMAN saturation
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker

In daylight, the high brightness helps fight against reflections from the touchpanel. In order to achieve maximum brightness, the ambient light sensor must be turned off. Under blazing sunlight, of course, this is not necessary. For inside or evening use, the sensor makes sure that the brightness remains comfortable to the eyes.

SV-F13N1L2E/S: direct light, cloudy
SV-F13N1L2E/S: direct light, cloudy
SV-F13N1L2E/S: indirect light, cloudy
SV-F13N1L2E/S: indirect light, cloudy
SV-F13N1L2E/S: in shade, cloudy
SV-F13N1L2E/S: in shade, cloudy

The F13A offers first-class viewing angles: We observed an evenly bright image with stable colors from every position. There were no color inversions. The competitors also have IPS panels and hold their own in this area.

SV-F13N1L2E/S: viewing angles of the VVX13F009G10 (13.3", FHD, IPS)
SV-F13N1L2E/S: viewing angles of the VVX13F009G10 (13.3", FHD, IPS)

System Performance

Wie wir testen - Leistung

Sony currently sells its Fit 13A in the following configurations: Core i3-4005U (1.7 GHz, no Turbo Boost), i5-4200U (1.6 GHz), and i7-4500U (1.8 GHz).

The online shop currently offers only the unattractive Core i3 variant. The 128-GB SSD (SATA Flash) comes with Windows 8 Pro and the manufacturer also offers upgrades to drives of 256 GB (+200 Euros, ~$275) or the wickedly expensive 512 GB model (+380 Euros, ~$520).

The provided RAM amounts to 8,192 MB, in the form of 2 x 4,096 MB modules. One of these is soldered in, the other merely inserted. The GPU should especially benefit from supported dual-channel use.

System info: CPU-Z CPU
System info: CPU-Z CPU
System info: CPU-Z Cache
System info: CPU-Z Cache
System info: CPU-Z Mainboard
System info: CPU-Z Mainboard
System info: CPU-Z Memory
System info: CPU-Z Memory
System info: GPU-Z
System info: GPU-Z
CrystalDiskMark 509 MB/s Seq. Read
CrystalDiskMark 509 MB/s Seq. Read
Systeminformationen Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S

Processor

The Core i5-4200U (1.6 GHz) is a dual core sporting the current Haswell architecture. Its Turbo Boost allows it to cycle (in the best case) at up to 2.6 GHz, which benefits applications that require especially high processing power. Does the Turbo run smoothly? No. With Cinebench R11.5, we measure a consistent 1.6 GHz (multi and single) immediately after cold start. This cycle rate holds even under repeated run-throughs. Since the CPU's temperatures do not exceed 53 degrees (127.4 degrees Fahrenheit) during these normal CPU benchmarks, we hold Sony accountable for this massive curtailment of performance.

For this reason, Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 and the Vaio Duo 13 outperform our test product by 9% and 7%, respectively. Both devices have the same processor, but at least they use the Turbo Boost to some extent (1.9 GHz to 2.3 GHz).

The difference is not enormous, and it is probably irrelevant to the everyday use of this kind of notebook. Still, the question presents itself: why spend the money on a Core i5, if the slower-cycling Y-variants of the competitors (TDP 13 Watts; for example, Core i5-4202Y) are only 9% to 20% slower?

Unfortunately, we have not yet tested the alternative Core i3-4005U, so we cannot offer our perspective on its performance. Since its TDP is identical, at 15 Watts, we can assume that it has a similar speed reduction to that of the Vaio Fit 13A.  

There are no Turbo On/Off options in BIOS or in the Vaio Control software. 

The performance stays identical during battery use, as long as performance mode is used. The user should not engage quiet mode, though; this restricts CPU cycles to 800 MHz (R11.5 Multi: 0.72 instead of 1.71 points).

Cinebench R11.5
CPU Multi 64Bit
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S
2.3 Points ∼13%
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
1.85 Points ∼11% -20%
Toshiba Portege Z10t
2.1 Points ∼12% -9%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
2.38 Points ∼14% +3%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
2.37 Points ∼13% +3%
Sony Vaio Duo 13 SVD1321M2E
2.47 Points ∼14% +7%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
2.51 Points ∼14% +9%
HP EliteBook Revolve 810
2.67 Points ∼15% +16%
CPU Single 64Bit
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S
1.15 Points ∼42%
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
0.88 Points ∼32% -23%
Toshiba Portege Z10t
0.95 Points ∼34% -17%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
1.06 Points ∼38% -8%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
1.06 Points ∼38% -8%
Sony Vaio Duo 13 SVD1321M2E
1.15 Points ∼42% 0%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
1.14 Points ∼41% -1%
HP EliteBook Revolve 810
1.19 Points ∼43% +3%
Legend
      Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Samsung MZNTD128HAGM
      HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2 Intel Core i5-4202Y, Intel HD Graphics 4200, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD128HAFV mSATA
      Toshiba Portege Z10t Intel Core i5-3339Y, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Toshiba THNSNF256GMCS
      Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Intel SSD 525 Series SSDMCEAC180A3L
      Asus Taichi 31-CX003H Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, SanDisk SD5SE2256G1002E
      Sony Vaio Duo 13 SVD1321M2E Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD128HAGN mSATA
      Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
      HP EliteBook Revolve 810 Intel Core i5-3437U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Samsung MZ7PC128HBFU
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
6771 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
9269 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
4862 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.15 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
18.53 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.3 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
16.31 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
201 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
101 Points
Help

System Performance

The artificial restriction to normal cycling does not seem to lead to a noticeable restriction in performance. When we look at the PCMark 7 and PCMark 8 scores, we notice that there are minimal differences between the so-called convertibles. The storage scores of the PCMark 8 seem particularly similar, though the PCMark 7 overall score also shows only marginal differences. Since each test product is equipped with an SSD, the benchmarks strongly resemble each other, since the data read and write speeds are definitive for most scores. In general, the machines with the 13-Watt Y-variant of the Intel Core trail the rest of the pack.

PCMark 7 Scores
PCMark 7 Scores
PCMark 8 Home: Scores
PCMark 8 Home: Scores
PCMark 8 Creative: Scores
PCMark 8 Creative: Scores
PCMark 8 Work: Scores
PCMark 8 Work: Scores
PCMark 7 - Score
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S
4277 Points ∼65%
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
4139 Points ∼62% -3%
Toshiba Portege Z10t
4064 Points ∼61% -5%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
4669 Points ∼70% +9%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
4665 Points ∼70% +9%
Sony Vaio Duo 13 SVD1321M2E
4594 Points ∼69% +7%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
4808 Points ∼73% +12%
HP EliteBook Revolve 810
4417 Points ∼67% +3%
PCMark 8
Home Score Accelerated
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S
2592 Points ∼53%
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
2582 Points ∼52% 0%
Toshiba Portege Z10t
2235 Points ∼45% -14%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
3012 Points ∼61% +16%
HP EliteBook Revolve 810
2700 Points ∼55% +4%
Creative Score Accelerated
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S
2624 Points ∼44%
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
2452 Points ∼41% -7%
Toshiba Portege Z10t
1933 Points ∼32% -26%
HP EliteBook Revolve 810
2333 Points ∼39% -11%
Work Score Accelerated
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S
3538 Points ∼68%
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
3831 Points ∼73% +8%
Toshiba Portege Z10t
3778 Points ∼72% +7%
HP EliteBook Revolve 810
4513 Points ∼86% +28%
Storage Score
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
4887 Points ∼98%
Toshiba Portege Z10t
4915 Points ∼99%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
4914 Points ∼98%
HP EliteBook Revolve 810
4907 Points ∼98%
Legend
      Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Samsung MZNTD128HAGM
      HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2 Intel Core i5-4202Y, Intel HD Graphics 4200, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD128HAFV mSATA
      Toshiba Portege Z10t Intel Core i5-3339Y, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Toshiba THNSNF256GMCS
      Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Intel SSD 525 Series SSDMCEAC180A3L
      Asus Taichi 31-CX003H Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, SanDisk SD5SE2256G1002E
      Sony Vaio Duo 13 SVD1321M2E Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD128HAGN mSATA
      Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
      HP EliteBook Revolve 810 Intel Core i5-3437U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Samsung MZ7PC128HBFU
PC Mark
PCMark 74277 points
PCMark 8 Home2592 points
PCMark 8 Creative2624 points
PCMark 8 Work3538 points
Help

Storage Devices

When we look at it in detail, we find in the Samsung MZNTD128HAGM (128 GB) an extremely powerful SSD, but also one that has trouble with writing medium-to-large blocks of data. Read 4k (28 MB/s) and also Read Sequential (509 MB/s) make a very good impression. But the numbers go into the toilet when writing, as long as it is not Write 4K. Here the test product runs at a deficit. Subjectively, programs seem to start extremely quickly, and the system boots up from cold start within 10 seconds.

CrystalDiskMark 3.0
Read Seq
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S
509.2 MB/s ∼35%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
447 MB/s ∼30% -12%
HP EliteBook Revolve 810
459.2 MB/s ∼31% -10%
Sony Vaio Duo 13 SVD1321M2E
474.4 MB/s ∼32% -7%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
476.9 MB/s ∼32% -6%
Toshiba Portege Z10t
486.7 MB/s ∼33% -4%
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
511.5 MB/s ∼35% 0%
Write Seq
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S
131.8 MB/s ∼14%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
260.2 MB/s ∼28% +97%
HP EliteBook Revolve 810
261.5 MB/s ∼28% +98%
Sony Vaio Duo 13 SVD1321M2E
131.2 MB/s ∼14% 0%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
338 MB/s ∼36% +156%
Toshiba Portege Z10t
450.3 MB/s ∼48% +242%
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
136.8 MB/s ∼15% +4%
Read 4k
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S
28.04 MB/s ∼65%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
18.54 MB/s ∼43% -34%
HP EliteBook Revolve 810
18.67 MB/s ∼43% -33%
Sony Vaio Duo 13 SVD1321M2E
21.21 MB/s ∼49% -24%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
25.96 MB/s ∼60% -7%
Toshiba Portege Z10t
16.23 MB/s ∼37% -42%
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
26.65 MB/s ∼61% -5%
Write 4k
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S
67.31 MB/s ∼41%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
42.34 MB/s ∼26% -37%
HP EliteBook Revolve 810
47.63 MB/s ∼29% -29%
Sony Vaio Duo 13 SVD1321M2E
48.59 MB/s ∼30% -28%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
60.29 MB/s ∼37% -10%
Toshiba Portege Z10t
21.1 MB/s ∼13% -69%
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
61.02 MB/s ∼38% -9%
Samsung MZNTD128HAGM
Sequential Read: 509.2 MB/s
Sequential Write: 131.8 MB/s
512K Read: 422.5 MB/s
512K Write: 67.48 MB/s
4K Read: 28.04 MB/s
4K Write: 67.31 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 272.6 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 96.54 MB/s

Graphics card

Among the ULV chips of the Haswell generation, the Intel HD Graphics 4400 is universally used. It can cycle between 200 and 1,000 MHz, and like the processor, it also has a Turbo Boost (at least in theory).

The performance of the HD 4400 showed sharp differences in our various tests, depending on whether Performance mode was turned on.

The Vaio Control Center allows the user to choose between Performance, Standard and Quiet (operating mode of the processor and the fan). Under the latter mode, the GPU slows down to 150 MHz, which leads to substantial losses in games and benchmarks. In performance mode, the HD 4400 plays around a bit with its Turbo, but we still did not get more than 650 MHz out of it in our tests. As a consequence, the machine steadily increased its score to 18.5 points only over repeated runs of the OpenGL-Test from Cinebench R11.5. When we began from a cold start, the score first sat at 10, then 14, and finally hit the indicated 18 points.  

Nonetheless, our Fit 13A seems to lead the pack with these scores, at least if we leave out the Duo 13 and Surface Pro 2 (which have the same CPU). Both of these competitors have dual-channel RAM and allow their GPU cycles to fluctuate between 900 and 950 MHz. That is enough for 20-40% more performance.

Cinebench R11.5 - OpenGL 64Bit
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S
18.53 fps ∼17%
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
16.2 fps ∼15% -13%
Toshiba Portege Z10t
11.14 fps ∼10% -40%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
15.15 fps ∼14% -18%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
15.18 fps ∼14% -18%
Sony Vaio Duo 13 SVD1321M2E
17.01 fps ∼16% -8%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
22.38 fps ∼20% +21%
HP EliteBook Revolve 810
12.29 fps ∼11% -34%
3DMark (2013) - 1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S
4398 Points ∼6%
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
4256 Points ∼6% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix
2871 Points ∼4% -35%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
4118 Points ∼5% -6%
Sony Vaio Duo 13 SVD1321M2E
5872 Points ∼8% +34%
Microsoft Surface Pro 2
6067 Points ∼8% +38%
HP EliteBook Revolve 810
3497 Points ∼5% -20%
Legend
      Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Samsung MZNTD128HAGM
      HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2 Intel Core i5-4202Y, Intel HD Graphics 4200, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD128HAFV mSATA
      Toshiba Portege Z10t Intel Core i5-3339Y, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Toshiba THNSNF256GMCS
      Lenovo ThinkPad Helix Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Intel SSD 525 Series SSDMCEAC180A3L
      Asus Taichi 31-CX003H Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, SanDisk SD5SE2256G1002E
      Sony Vaio Duo 13 SVD1321M2E Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD128HAGN mSATA
      Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
      HP EliteBook Revolve 810 Intel Core i5-3437U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Samsung MZ7PC128HBFU
3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
4607 points
3DMark Ice Storm28829 points
3DMark Cloud Gate3236 points
3DMark Fire Strike498 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The gaming performance of the HD 4400 is already meager, and this deficiency is exacerbated by the GPU's low cycle rate. 

As is often the case, there are even worse contenders: The chilly HP Spectre 13 trails our Vaio Fit 13A in both test games by 24 to 44%. In any case, users inclined to gaming have few options here, which is why they should opt for dedicated entry-level GPUs like the GT 720M.

An appropriate machine for gaming hardly even exists in the world of convertibles. Not yet, at least - the Vaio Fit 15A with the GT 735M is coming closer.

Battlefield 4
1024x768 Low Preset
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S
21 fps ∼11%
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
15.9 fps ∼8% -24%
1366x768 Medium Preset
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S
15 fps ∼8%
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
10.1 fps ∼6% -33%
Fifa 14 - 1366x768 High Preset AA:2x MS
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S
59 fps ∼11%
HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2
33.3 fps ∼6% -44%
low med.high ultra
Dota 2 (2013) 5132fps
Fifa 14 (2013) 145845933fps
Battlefield 4 (2013) 2115fps

Emissions

Wie wir testen - Emissionen

System Noise

Fan vent
Fan vent

In performance mode (Vaio Control), the fan is an unquiet companion, droning at 36 dB(A) almost constantly - even when we only run BIOS. In quiet mode, the change is dazzling: While the fan still supposedly has plenty of cooling to do, it now does so extremely quietly (29.6 dB(A): fan on but very quiet).

We got the impression that certain thermal limits had been vigorously implemented. In any case, quiet mode restricts the CPU to 800 MHz.

Under load, we get down to business. With the 3DMark 2006, we measured 43 dB(A) during our stress test and also under normal load. Under quiet mode, it topped out at about 34 dB(A).

Not so the Spectre 13, which appears completely noiseless in comparison. The Taichi 31 is also markedly quiet, at 36 dB(A).

Noise Level

Idle 29.6 / 35.8 / 35.8 dB(A)
Load 42.7 / 42.7 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test: Prime95 & Furmark - CPU@800 MHz
Stress test: Prime95 & Furmark - CPU@800 MHz
Prime95 Multi: CPU@1.6 to 1.7 GHz
Prime95 Multi: CPU@1.6 to 1.7 GHz

The heat discharge in idle use is singularly low and lies just a touch above room temperature. In this case, we activated quiet mode, which restricts the GPU and CPU to 150 and 800 MHz, respectively. Under load, the chassis warms up markedly, mostly in two hotspots in the upper region of the base. The hinge covers the fan vent but maintains two openings for the release of hot air. Here we measured temperatures of 45-47 °C (113-116.6 °F) after a multi-hour stress test. 

With the stress test, we created an extreme scenario for the cooling system, which would rarely come up in practice. The processor throttles back after a while from its 1.6-GHz standard cycle down to 800 MHz. Why this happens is not quite clear. At the end of these two hours, the temperature hit a peak of 74 °C (165.2 °F). Meanwhile, the GPU sat at 350-400 MHz. When we only ran a Prime95 CPU stress test on all four cores, the CPU revved back up, reaching 1.5 to 1.6 GHz as usual.

 26.4 °C28 °C27.2 °C 
 25.1 °C25.8 °C25 °C 
 24.2 °C23.7 °C23.7 °C 
Maximum: 28 °C
Average: 25.5 °C
28.1 °C29.7 °C29.1 °C
25.2 °C26.1 °C25.1 °C
25 °C24.7 °C24.8 °C
Maximum: 29.7 °C
Average: 26.4 °C
Power Supply (max.)  29.1 °C | Room Temperature 22.4 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The speakers play horizontally out of the flat chassis, sitting on the right and left sides under the wrist rest. Their strengths: high volumes without screeching, as well as relatively well-balanced mids and lows. They do not manage to pump out much bass or even vibrations under the user's hands. It will not be enough to properly enjoy Beethoven's Third, but it is more than enough for a Skype chat or a film. Sony advertises its ClearAudio+, which is a tonal processor in the codec.

The manufacturer should rightly brag about the Fit 13A's features for audiophiles; it also includes a full version of the audio editing tools Sound Forge Audio Studio 10.0. The tablet is easy to turn into an audio recording/editing/mastering studio, which could be quite interesting for many users. The software price: 50 Euros (~$70).

Energy Management

Wie wir testen - Akkulaufzeit

Power Consumption

The 36-Wh battery requires 2:33 hours in order to fully recharge. The power consumption seems minimal, especially under load. Its 22 Watts stand in contrast to the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (43 Watts) and the Sony Vaio Duo 13 SVD1321M2E (31 Watts), which have the same processor.

The absence of the Turbo Boost is quite obvious here. Additionally, the nonexistent difference between Load Maximum and Load Average hints at a reason for the throttling. While idling, quiet mode draws just 4 Watts. The Asus Taichi 31-CX003H (7 Watts) misses this mark by a mile. The HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2 (5 Watts) exceeds it by just a touch.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.01 / 0.5 Watt
Idle 4.1 / 7.6 / 8.8 Watt
Load 22 / 22.6 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 960

Battery Life

Can the Fit 13A win a few advantages in battery life thanks to its stinginess in speed? At just 36 Wh, the effort is needed, since the competition has a bit more to offer: HP Spectre 13-h205eg (50 Wh, Tab + Dock), Asus Taichi 31 (53 Wh).

In our WLAN-Test, the Spectre 13 (TDP 13 Watts) lasted a hefty 42% longer than our Vaio, while the Taichi (TDP 17 Watts) gave up 19% earlier. Duo 13 and Surface Pro 2, which have the same processor, hold on for 20 to 30% longer. Both of these offer more Watt-hours.

The load test (Performance Mode) shows very well how deactivating the Turbo draws out the machine's battery life. Despite a higher battery capacity, the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (4200U) trails by 11%, while the Taichi 31 (3317U) keeps pace. In idle mode, the strategy works just as well. In the Reader Test (quiet mode, lowest power consumption), our test machine performs 36% better than the Taichi 31 and just 25% worse than the HP Spectre 13.

In our battery life tests, we usually check the run time while watching a DVD. For lack of an optical drive, we ran Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p with full brightness (sensor off) and achieved a run time similar to that of the WLAN test (5:04 hours).

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
8h 54min
WiFi Surfing
5h 14min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
5h 04min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 54min

Wie wir testen - Fazit

Verdict

With the Vaio Fit 13A (multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S), Sony presents a convertible that offers a well-rounded performance in many disciplines. The display's foldaway principle completely convinced us. Still, the chassis' lightweight and the folding mechanism have their disadvantages in terms of stability. This would be bearable, but we were displeased by the keyboard's significant give.

The IPS panel is of good quality (low DeltaE deviation), although the contrast is only average. Thanks to the fast Samsung SSD, the application performance is at the level of much more expensive competitors. The heat discharge is relatively low, but under load or in performance mode, the fan still makes more noise than seems necessary. The battery life of about five hours in our practical tests is definitely satisfying.

The test shows once again how the manufacturers still juggle the numbers in terms of performance and temperature, in order to achieve particular run times or to remain within certain temperature thresholds. However, in the case of the Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S, Sony seems to have been somewhat overzealous. The Turbo is deactivated, although the sensors consistently register harmless temperatures (even in self-test). If the users are paying for a Core i5, naturally they expect its full processing power. This belies the flowery promise of a "computer experience without compromises" - at least for users sensitive to performance. All other users probably will not notice anything and will only have the pros and cons of outward appearance to consider.

Comment this article:

In Review: Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S - provided by Sony Deutschland
In Review: Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S - provided by Sony Deutschland

Specifications

Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S

:: Processor
:: Memory
8192 MB, Dual Channel, 2x 4096 MB
:: Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 4400, Core: 150-650 MHz, Memory: 800 MHz
:: Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, 10-finger, VVX13F009G10, IPS, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
Samsung MZNTD128HAGM, 128 GB , 50 GB free
:: Soundcard
HD Audio
:: Connections
2 USB 3.0, 1 HDMI, Audio Connections: Line-Out/Microphone combo, Card Reader: SD, Sensors: Ambient Light,
:: Networking
Intel Wireless-N 7260 (b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 20 x 377 x 254
:: Weight
1.307 kg Power Supply: 0.26 kg
:: Battery
36 Wh Lithium-Ion, VGP-BPS41
:: Price
1200 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: Rear: 8 MP, Front: 1 MP, Speakers: 2x, Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Digitizer Stylus, Test versions: Office 365, McAfee LiveSafe, Intel Anti-Theft Service; Multimedia: Album from Sony, Music from Sony, Socialife, Photo/Video/Audio: PlayMemories Home, VAIO Movie Creator; Special Apps: CamScanner, Xperia Link, 24 Months Warranty

 

Creative concepts are in demand.
Creative concepts are in demand.
Whoever said that all convertible techniques have been tried... was wrong.
Whoever said that all convertible techniques have been tried... was wrong.
A 13-inch tablet mutates suddenly out of the Vaio Fit multi-flip.
A 13-inch tablet mutates suddenly out of the Vaio Fit multi-flip.
Or, if desired, a notebook with TFT on the reverse side.
Or, if desired, a notebook with TFT on the reverse side.
In contrast to the Vaio Duo, the mechanics are simple.
In contrast to the Vaio Duo, the mechanics are simple.
A piece of elastic links the panel and articulated arm.
A piece of elastic links the panel and articulated arm.
So the display is free to move.
So the display is free to move.
The solution makes sense to us; it limits wear and tear.
The solution makes sense to us; it limits wear and tear.
Magnets ensure a solid connection...
Magnets ensure a solid connection...
...on the front and reverse sides.
...on the front and reverse sides.
Placement over the touchpad is possible, but there's no place to hold onto.
Placement over the touchpad is possible, but there's no place to hold onto.
A sliding bar on the chassis secures the panel against folding down.
A sliding bar on the chassis secures the panel against folding down.
Judging by the form factor, this isn't a 100% fit as a tablet.
Judging by the form factor, this isn't a 100% fit as a tablet.
But in practice, this isn't a huge problem.
But in practice, this isn't a huge problem.
Users who prefer extroverted machines...
Users who prefer extroverted machines...
...can set up the panel like this for photo viewing.
...can set up the panel like this for photo viewing.
The workmanship of the light convertible seems very careful...
The workmanship of the light convertible seems very careful...
...but only somewhat solid. The base can be bent, and the keyboard has some give.
...but only somewhat solid. The base can be bent, and the keyboard has some give.
Unusual! The volume control is on the reverse side.
Unusual! The volume control is on the reverse side.
The Windows home button...
The Windows home button...
...is a mechanical key.
...is a mechanical key.
The speakers play through this tiny opening.
The speakers play through this tiny opening.
Sony integrates a NFC sensor for touchless contact, - with a headset, for example.
Sony integrates a NFC sensor for touchless contact, - with a headset, for example.
The Vaio Fit multi-flip has a built-in base on the thin front side.
The Vaio Fit multi-flip has a built-in base on the thin front side.
In the packaging: the same digitizer pen as the Vaio Tab 11 has. The stylus rests well in the hand, has a nice heft, and has batteries.
In the packaging: the same digitizer pen as the Vaio Tab 11 has. The stylus rests well in the hand, has a nice heft, and has batteries.
The power cord has a USB socket. It could be used to charge a smartphone or connect the Vaio Ethernet dongle
The power cord has a USB socket. It could be used to charge a smartphone or connect the Vaio Ethernet dongle
Something new with this plug: The flexible port should prevent faults on the mainboard.
Something new with this plug: The flexible port should prevent faults on the mainboard.
The plug can be folded up without causing any problems.
The plug can be folded up without causing any problems.
The power cord delivers 44 Watt.
The power cord delivers 44 Watt.
The instructions explain the image position; there is no rotation lock on the case.
The instructions explain the image position; there is no rotation lock on the case.
Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S: We like the concept. Full sub-notebook power, but a very flexible touchpad implementation for all that.
Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S: We like the concept. Full sub-notebook power, but a very flexible touchpad implementation for all that.
Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S: Perfect! the bright and contrast-rich display.
Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S: Perfect! the bright and contrast-rich display.
Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S: Digitizer pen included.
Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S: Digitizer pen included.
Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S: movable Display for multifunctional use.
Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S: movable Display for multifunctional use.
Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S: New plug - if someone trips up on it, it just snaps off and doesn't pull the machine off the table.
Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S: New plug - if someone trips up on it, it just snaps off and doesn't pull the machine off the table.

Similar Devices

Devices with the same GPU and/or Screen Size

» Lenovo M30-70 Notebook Review
Core i3 4010U, 1.53 kg
» Lenovo Yoga 2 13 Convertible Review
Core i3 4010U, 1.56 kg
» Review Dell Latitude 3340 Notebook
Core i5 4200U, 1.773 kg

Links

Price Comparison

Amazon.com

Show results on Amazon.com

Pricerunner n.a.

Pro

+Light chassis
+Innovative flip-screen
+Good battery life
+Fast SSD
+Bright TFT with a stable viewing angle
+Full versions of media editing software
 

Cons

-Loud in "performance" mode
-Turbo deactivated
-Few ports
-Keyboard with weak feedback
-Bendable chassis
-Contrast could be better
-Loads of bloatware, relatively little free storage

Shortcut

What we like

The aluminum panel as a finish for the case. The convertible's long-lasting hinge. The rich assortment of productive tools that allow productive use of the digitizer pen and tablet mode.

What we'd like to see

The courage to build a thicker, heavier chassis. There would be space for a better cooling system, and the bed for the keys would benefit.

What surprises us

Onward and upward. While the base gets thinner and thinner and the weight less and less, thermal limits are maintained through throttling. We aren't so far removed from the Lamborghini, which saunters over the Autobahn at 120 km/h.

The competition

Same price class:

Asus Taichi 31-CX003H, HP Spectre 13-h205eg x2

More expensive, top-of-the-line convertibles:

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix, Toshiba Portege Z10t, HP EliteBook Revolve 810, Sony Vaio Duo 13 SVD1321M2E

Rating

Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S
04/24/2014 v4
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
64 / 98 → 65%
Keyboard
50%
Pointing Device
83%
Connectivity
51 / 95 → 54%
Weight
71 / 78 → 84%
Battery
86%
Display
82%
Games Performance
58 / 85 → 68%
Application Performance
77%
Temperature
83%
Noise
77%
Audio
60%
Camera
73%
Average
70%
78%
Convertible *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Sony Vaio Fit 13A SV-F13N1L2E/S Convertible
Author: Sebastian Jentsch, 2013-12-30 (Update: 2014-01-11)