Review Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B Convertible

Sven Kloevekorn (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 02/24/2014

Quick convertible. Sony has come up with an innovative construction that allows converting a laptop into a tablet quickly. Besides the review sample's unusually high resolution of 2880x1620 pixels, particularly its size of 15.5 inches stands out, as that is actually incompatible with its use as a portable tablet.

Successful hybrid or Hughes H-4 Hercules?
Successful hybrid or Hughes H-4 Hercules?

For the original German review, see here.

The reviewer was a bit astonished that Sony has now complemented its Vaio Fit multi-flip convertible line with a 15.5-inch model. What use is such a big and heavy tablet (2.3 kg; ~5.1 pounds)? The answer is found in Windows 8, the extreme-resolution touchscreen, and the included stylus. This combination - naturally alongside the matching software - could make Sony's device interesting for graphic designers. That is, providing a limited color space does not matter. Its alternative use as a stationary family tablet also makes a lot of sense. Moreover, when used as a laptop, there is no need to discuss the advantages of a large, high-resolution screen anyway. The presentation mode also benefits from a large screen. Users who prefer smaller and more portable devices might find something among the differently configured 13- or 14-inch convertibles in the line, such as the Sony Vaio Fit 13A Multi-Flip SV-F13N1L2E/S.

In any event, Intel's Core i7 CPU, a dedicated Nvidia graphics, and a high-capacity working memory provide enough power. The convertible ultrabook should barely ever find its limits in the intended application fields.

Despite the different sizes, Sony's Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B directly competes with the functionally comparable products of other manufacturers. For example, the 13-inch Asus Taichi 31-CX003H, which is also a convertible ultrabook whose back-to-back screens both(!) feature a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, and which is powered by an Intel Core i5-3317U from the former Ivy Bridge generation. We used the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro as a second device for comparison. Its screen can be tilted by 360° so that the keyboard is on the tablet's underside. The resolution of this 13-inch device is gigantic, and perhaps senseless at 3200x1800 pixels (276 ppi). The resolution behemoth relies on Intel's Core i5-4200U Haswell ULV CPU. In terms of price, the three contenders were within the same price range of 1300 to 1500 Euros (~$1786 to $2060). However, since the Taichi has been in retail since the spring of 2013, it is now already available for approximately 1000 Euros (~$1374).

Our in-depth review will uncover whether the form factor, weight, and convertible claim of our Sony are in line, or if it is just a too big and heavy version of the 13-inch devices from the same product line.

Case

The sticker illustrates the three different modes: Laptop, Tablet, Presentation
The sticker illustrates the three different modes: Laptop, Tablet, Presentation

The casing's main color is difficult to describe as it changes from dark brown to a kind of purple depending on the ambient light. The upper side of the base and the lid's back look like brushed metal, and are very susceptible to fingerprints. The touchpad and keyboard bed are made in a plain, dark gray, and light matte plastic. The plastic on the underside is black and non-slip. The unusually high rubber stoppers are striking. They are likely to ensure sufficient air intake from underneath. According to ultrabook specifications, the stoppers are not part of the total height. Our Sony would have otherwise clearly surpassed the maximum allowed 23 mm (~0.9 inches). The display's bezel is glossy black with a raised edge.

The base does not make a very rigid impression. It warps easily, and produces disturbing noises. In return, the mechanism that transforms the device into a kind of tablet makes a solid impression. However, care is needed when reconverting it into a laptop so that the screen's edge does not scrape over the keyboard. It is not quite a genuine tablet; the uneven build with many gaps, corners and edges, and the dominant wedge shape contradict that. This barely has any drawbacks in use when using it on the lap and the convertible is much too heavy to hold for a long time anyway.

Connectivity

There is the standard variety of interfaces, but not more. At least an Ethernet port is installed that has to be pulled out before use, which fits more with the stationary character of Sony's convertible. Adapters are not needed for the other ports either. The ports on the left are centered, and plugged in cords or sticks could get in the way. The right-handed interfaces are located in the back, where the (main) on/off button also is. As typical, of slim ultrabooks, there are no special ports like a DisplayPort or eSATA. Either Sony lacked the will or the room for a VGA out that is still significant in the business sector.

Now we have to unfortunately deal with a yet unseen ergonomic blunder. We do not know whether Sony expects buyers of the convertible to use it on an illuminated mirror and repeatedly perform acrobatic feats. However, we cannot explain why all the ports are covered by the base's protruding upper part on both sides, and thus cannot be seen or felt adequately and most certainly cannot be used comfortably. The resulting and recurrent groping is simply an imposition that could have been avoided had the base tray been extended so that it closes flush with the base's upper side. This also looks unsightly to the author, and consequently leads to a point deduction in Connectivity.

Right: Headphone, SD card, USB 3.0, Ethernet, on/off
Right: Headphone, SD card, USB 3.0, Ethernet, on/off
Left: Power, main vent, HDMI, 2x USB 3.0
Left: Power, main vent, HDMI, 2x USB 3.0

Communication

In addition to Realtek's RTL8168/8111 Gigabit LAN chip, the review sample sports Intel's Wireless N 7260 module that takes care of wireless communication. Besides the often-busy 2.4 GHz band, especially found in office buildings with many companies and in city centers, it also supports the less loaded 5 GHz band. Bluetooth 4.0 + HS is also available. The, until now, short range NFC mostly found in smartphones and tablets is also installed. The corresponding label is located opposite the Windows button on the underside. A test with the Nexus 4 showed that although the devices were identified, transferring a website from the Nexus to the ultrabook failed with a message that the devices should be placed beside each other again. However, this was not successful; here, some work on the compatibility is likely needed. Perhaps the announced upgrade to Windows 8.1 will improve things.

As to the Wi-Fi reception performance, the Sony device made an above average impression in the author's individual test setup. The transmission performance was not at all impaired when a large file was downloaded at a distance of almost 10 meters (~33 feet) and through two brick walls. Next, the tester went down the stairs of an apartment building, moving away from the router. Although the transmission rate clearly dropped, the decrease was relatively moderate, and the connection was kept right up to the front door (on the other side of the building). Only a few devices have managed that until now. The last one notably sported the same wireless module.

Accessories

We could not find any accessories specially designed for the SV-F15N1Z2E/B by Sony. The included accessories are limited to a few startup and troubleshooting guides, safety guidelines and the stylus along with the (AAAA) battery.

Maintenance

Users who want to maintain the guarantee and warranty claims, and do not open the device, will not be able to access the innards due to the lack of maintenance covers. It is not even possible to replace the battery. This user-unfriendly and environmentally harmful policy is currently becoming more and more popular among ultrabooks, and unfortunately, is also infecting conventional laptops. The manufacturers' putative reasons do not deserve attention. They are simply excuses to hide the fact that the sole concern is to make buyers dependent on the manufacturers' overpriced services.

Warranty

Sony includes a two-year warranty as standard, which can be upgraded for a charge. Details about standardized Extended Service Plans are listed when the product is added to the cart on Sony's website.

Input Devices

Keyboard

In our opinion, the keyboard's quality is unsatisfactory considering the ultrabook's steep price. This is not because the layout does not comply with the standard. Rather, it is the short key drop and unclear pressure point that are unnecessary for a device with this height. Together with the slightly spongy stroke, it provides vague feedback. The keyboard is made of a slightly cheap-looking plastic that yields under pressure. The keys are even and lightly roughened. The keyboard's backlight makes a very good impression, but it can only be turned on or off via a Sony tool because there is no hot key. It is too bad that the available space is not used for a number pad.

Touchpad

The touchpad is a ClickPad from Synaptics without dedicated buttons. The lightly roughened surface, which is not sensitive to its edges, provides a well-palpable feedback, but its area could have been a bit bigger - there would have been enough room. We deem the mouse buttons' drop adequate, the pressure point is crisp, and it provides a clearly audible feedback. Gestures using up to three fingers can be configured in the rather limited setup menu.

Touchscreen

Like most current models, the touchscreen in Sony's Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B detects up to 10 points at the same time. We did not find reason for complaint in terms of responsiveness and accuracy. The included stylus achieved an almost pinpoint feedback on the screen. A slight delay was noticed in the writing test, but in return, even very quickly drawn lines were accomplished without interruptions. Unlike Sony's Vaio Fit 13A multi-flip SV-F13N1L2E/S, the sensor grid is barely visible to the naked eye, and will likely stay invisible in practical use.

Display

The QHD or Quad HD trend is consistently growing. The quadrupling is related to the pixel count in opposition to standard HD-ready (720p). However, the screen does not feature the standard QHD resolution of 2560x1440 pixels, but an even higher, more exotic 2880x1620 pixels. This is not wrong considering the screen's diagonal of 15.5 inches, as it results in an agreeably high pixel density of 213 ppi. That is more than the 188 ppi that the human eye with perfect eyesight can resolve at a typical distance of 45 cm (~17.7 inches). For comparison: A 15.6-inch screen achieves 141 ppi in a Full HD resolution (1920x1080 pixels); a small 13.3-inch QHD manages 221 ppi.

We could not ascertain a big difference with our naked eyes when the native resolution was reduced to Full HD. However, high native resolutions always have a positive impact when interpolating lower resolutions. An even finer image impression results since more pixels are available for interpolation.

To avoid the common drawbacks of such high resolutions, in the form of tiny desktop elements or too small fonts, we would recommend the free upgrade from the pre-loaded Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 that provides more setting options, an automatic scaling of desktop icons and system fonts, as well as better scaling options for software developers. However, image errors are not uncommon even under Windows 8.1, particularly when using older software. A few of our benchmarks and tested games refused to start, or only started in full screen mode when we first set the desktop resolution to Full HD manually.

The installed IPS screen proves responsible for the perfect focus, though not breathtaking contrast of 524:1 of the highly reflective display. The screen in Sony's convertible reaps in a good rating up to here, considering its maximum brightness of over 370 cd/m² in the screen's center, which is maintained in battery mode, alongside the decent illumination of 89%.

Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B
Intel Core i7-4500U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M, WDC WD10S12X-55JTET0 (1 TB HDD + 16 GB SSD Cache)
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD128HAFV mSATA
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, SanDisk SD5SE2256G1002E
Illumination
12%
58%
Brightness Center374371.5
-1%
255
-32%
Black *0.69.749
-9%
0.20
71%
Contrast542496
-8%
1275
135%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *5.113.14
39%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *6.121.24
80%
Gamma *2.572.44
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)59.640.49
-32%

* ... smaller is better

361
cd/m²
333
cd/m²
356
cd/m²
340
cd/m²
374
cd/m²
348
cd/m²
344
cd/m²
362
cd/m²
357
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 374 cd/m²
Average: 352.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Center on Battery: 372 cd/m²
Black: 0.69 cd/m²
Contrast: 542:1

Matching the rather middling contrast for an IPS screen, and the equally not exemplary black value of 0.69 cd/m², black cannot really be called pitch black. However, this is barely noticed adversely in practical use. Lenovo's Yoga 2 Pro does no better in this regard, while the two-sided Asus Taichi 31 stands out in the field with an awesome contrast of 1275:1 alongside a black level of just 0.2 cd/m². However, it reveals a clear weakness in its maximum brightness of only 255 cd/m².

There are currently only a few videos that exploit the review sample's high resolution. When up-scaling in the context of rendering a 1080p video, Sony's device exhibited a razor-sharp picture with subjectively beautiful, natural looking colors after successful calibration.

However, even when not calibrated, the sample's DeltaE rates of 5 (ColorChecker) and 6 (Grayscale) are still acceptable. The calibration only results in a minor improvement to 4 and 5. The frequently noticed bluish cast in many laptops is never an issue in Sony's device. Only a slight tendency of neutral gray toward a clay-colored olive green is significant. The color space coverage of the professional AdobeRGB color gamut is IPS-typical (laptop) 60%.

ColorChecker (un-calibrated)
ColorChecker (un-calibrated)
ColorChecker (calibrated)
ColorChecker (calibrated)
Grayscale (un-calibrated)
Grayscale (un-calibrated)
Grayscale (calibrated)
Grayscale (calibrated)
Saturation Sweeps (un-calibrated)
Saturation Sweeps (un-calibrated)
Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)
Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B vs. AdobeRGB
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B vs. AdobeRGB
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B vs. sRGB
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B vs. sRGB

High brightness or not, the screen is so highly reflective, even on a cloudy day, that it again proves: When something other than a dark area is reflected in the viewer's eye, reasonable use is virtually impossible.

We would classify the viewing angle stability as slightly above average compared with other IPS screens. Color deviations were not noticed even from the smallest possible viewing angles, and the brightness loss was within limits.

This screen is tolerant - just not when it comes to light sources in the background.
This screen is tolerant - just not when it comes to light sources in the background.

Performance

The installed Intel Core i7-4500U CPU as well as the gigantic 12 GB of DDR3 RAM predestine Sony's big convertible for all thinkable tasks. Only heavily parallelized applications, such as a few games, and the 3D rendering software 3ds Max, clearly benefit from four or more physical cores.

System information: Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B

Processor

Other manufacturers manage to retrieve more power from the same CPU. For example, Dell's Inspiron 15 3537 (Polish review) has a 25% lead on the review sample in the multi-core benchmark of Cinebench 11.5. Both cores in Sony's device clock with 2.7 GHz at the start of the benchmark, but the clock drops to 2.4 to 2.5 GHz the higher the temperature climbs. Though this is not ideal, the behavior is observed in most CPU combinations. We did not ascertain any performance differences in battery mode.

Cinebench R10
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B
11071 Points ∼31%
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
9940 Points ∼28% -10%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
8974 Points ∼25% -19%
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B
5837 Points ∼24%
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
4975 Points ∼20% -15%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
4444 Points ∼18% -24%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Multi 64Bit
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B
2.31 Points ∼13%
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
2.39 Points ∼14% +3%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
2.37 Points ∼13% +3%
CPU Single 64Bit
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B
1.28 Points ∼46%
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
1.13 Points ∼41% -12%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
1.06 Points ∼38% -17%
Legend
      Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B Intel Core i7-4500U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M, WDC WD10S12X-55JTET0 (1 TB HDD + 16 GB SSD Cache)
      Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD128HAFV mSATA
      Asus Taichi 31-CX003H Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, SanDisk SD5SE2256G1002E
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5837 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
11071 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5273 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.31 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
37.34 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.28 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
117 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
48.82 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
223 Points
Help

System Performance

In the reviewer's opinion, the system's performance is close to perfect. However, it was occasionally noticed that the system does not sport a genuine SSD. System starts benefit greatly from the SSD cache. The speed of the review sample would never be matched with a sole, conventional HDD.

The reason for Sony's 20% lower PCMark 7 total score in the field is most likely due to its slower storage device. The performance is within the expected range compared with laptops with a similar configuration.

PCMark 7 - Score
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B
GeForce GT 735M, 4500U, WDC WD10S12X-55JTET0 (1 TB HDD + 16 GB SSD Cache)
3906 Points ∼59%
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD128HAFV mSATA
4670 Points ∼71% +20%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, SanDisk SD5SE2256G1002E
4665 Points ∼70% +19%
PC Mark
PCMark 73906 points
PCMark 8 Home2721 points
PCMark 8 Creative3070 points
PCMark 8 Work3674 points
Help

Storage Device

CrystalDiskMark 3.0, first run
CrystalDiskMark 3.0, first run
CrystalDiskMark 3.0, second run
CrystalDiskMark 3.0, second run

While both the Asus Taichi 31 and Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro rely on genuine SSDs, our Sony has to live with a conventional hard drive (Western Digital WDC WD10S12X-55JTET0). However, it is supported by a 16 GB SSD cache. The underlying idea is that the system stores copies of frequently used files in the cache, and thus can load them faster than from the HDD. This can lead to both swifter operating system and program starts after a learning period. By the way, this effect is responsible for the much higher read speeds in the second run of CrystalDiskMark 3.0 (right screenshot). The performance of a pure SSD, however, is rarely achieved. Sony's convertible accordingly lags far behind its contenders. The greatest difference is naturally found in reading small, randomly distributed data blocks (4K), where SSDs can excel with lightening fast access times because they lack mechanical parts.

CrystalDiskMark 3.0
Read Seq
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B
97.85 MB/s ∼7%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
476.9 MB/s ∼32% +387%
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
520 MB/s ∼35% +431%
Write Seq
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B
95.63 MB/s ∼10%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
338 MB/s ∼36% +253%
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
133.8 MB/s ∼14% +40%
Read 512
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B
28.89 MB/s ∼3%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
291.3 MB/s ∼32% +908%
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
433.1 MB/s ∼47% +1399%
Read 4k
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B
0.328 MB/s ∼1%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
25.96 MB/s ∼60% +7815%
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
28.38 MB/s ∼65% +8552%
Read 4k QD32
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B
0.725 MB/s ∼0%
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
269.1 MB/s ∼48% +37017%
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
274.1 MB/s ∼49% +37707%
Legend
      Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B Intel Core i7-4500U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M, WDC WD10S12X-55JTET0 (1 TB HDD + 16 GB SSD Cache)
      Asus Taichi 31-CX003H Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, SanDisk SD5SE2256G1002E
      Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD128HAFV mSATA
WDC WD10S12X-55JTET0 (1 TB HDD + 16 GB SSD Cache)
Sequential Read: 97.85 MB/s
Sequential Write: 95.63 MB/s
512K Read: 28.89 MB/s
512K Write: 41.55 MB/s
4K Read: 0.328 MB/s
4K Write: 0.915 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 0.725 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 0.914 MB/s

Graphics Card

The top scores achieved in 3DMark (2013)
The top scores achieved in 3DMark (2013)

The now almost year old Nvidia GeForce GT 735M is a mid-range graphics card that supports DirectX11, and which is built in the 28 nm process. Specified with a maximum clock of 889 MHz, Sony has likely opted for limiting it to only 628 MHz for thermal reasons. The GT 735M is based on the GK208 chip, whose memory bus is limited to 64-bits, unlike the GK107 that is, for example, used in the GeForce GT 730M or older units of the GT 740M.

The 3DMark (2013) scores confused us thoroughly. Several runs, performed under the same conditions,  sometimes presented extremely deviating scores. For example, the figures of the Ice Storm Standard scores with a bandwidth ranging from 26425 to 18712 points. Since we could not selectively reproduce especially high or low scores, the only explanation is that the clock rate of the CPU and/or GPU dropped randomly during load. The chart below shows the average scores. We do not see a reliable data basis for a qualified comparison of the two competing devices, and thus would refer to the gaming benchmarks scores that are more real-life anyway. The GT 735M's performance is on the expected level when looking at 3DMark 11, which we only performed once.

Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B
Intel Core i7-4500U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M, WDC WD10S12X-55JTET0 (1 TB HDD + 16 GB SSD Cache)
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD128HAFV mSATA
Asus Taichi 31-CX003H
Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, SanDisk SD5SE2256G1002E
3DMark (2013)
8%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score2106930402
44%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Graphics1973733111
68%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Physics2758723636
-14%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score44823501
-22%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics64964118
-37%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Physics21502298
7%
3DMark 11
-35%
-53%
1280x720 Performance1778897
-50%
572
-68%
1280x720 Performance GPU1711799
-53%
499
-71%
1280x720 Performance Physics29863161
6%
2608
-13%
1280x720 Performance Combined1356779
-43%
537
-60%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-35% / -35%
-23% / -17%
3D Mark
3DMark 111778 points
3DMark Ice Storm21069 points
3DMark Cloud Gate4482 points
3DMark Fire Strike926 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Many current and graphically demanding games are smoothly playable on Sony's Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B when the settings are limited to low or medium. This is not true for the Asus and Sony comparison laptops, which have to manage with CPU-integrated graphics cores without a dedicated memory. However, we could not even start Battlefield 4.

benchmark list of many mobile graphics cards and details about the used games can be found in our FAQ section.

low med.high ultra
Total War: Shogun 2 (2011) 125.6630.9511.74fps
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) 46.0933.7423.1312.22fps
Dishonored (2012) 51.062421.1212.05fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 81.839.522.410.2fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 61.3933.4227.98.28fps
Company of Heroes 2 (2013) 25.1717.71fps
Dota 2 (2013) 83.6751.0826.1fps

Emissions

System Noise

It is not quite clear when or why the review sample's fan starts up or continues to spin. In any case, just a little load, like watching a YouTube video (capacity 15 to 20%), is enough to set the fan blades in action very audibly. The noise produced in the two lowest fan levels, which are usually skipped from the outset, is still acceptable. The tiny fan likely has a considerable annoyance potential at faster speeds. Luckily, side noises like squealing do not turn up. In addition to the difficult to reach ports, we deem this permanent noise production the review sample's biggest drawback.

Noise Level

Idle 29.9 / 29.9 / 32 dB(A)
HDD 30 dB(A)
Load 45.3 / 46.2 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

We first have to note in this section that we measure the temperatures on the base's upper and underside. Only the rates of the underside are relevant in tablet mode.

As can be seen in the graph, the idle temperature is absolutely no issue. The area of the display's hinge heats up to a still agreeable temperature during maximum load, which will hardly ever be achieved in practical use.

The following frequencies were recorded in the load test: Prime95 only: 2 x 2.3 GHz, Prime95 + FurMark: 2 x 1.8 GHz. Thus, Intel's Core i7-4500U remains below the specified clock rates at a core temperature of always-below 80 °C (26.7 °F). Sony does not quite have the temperatures under control; the performance level is below the CPU's potential in some places. However, this should only have an impact on software, such as demanding games that put the CPU and GPU under long-lasting, high load, in practical use.

 28.4 °C30.1 °C33.7 °C 
 27.6 °C29.1 °C30.3 °C 
 24.8 °C24.3 °C25.7 °C 
Maximum: 33.7 °C
Average: 28.2 °C
29.8 °C33.2 °C38 °C
30.3 °C28.8 °C27.7 °C
25.8 °C25 °C25.1 °C
Maximum: 38 °C
Average: 29.3 °C
Power Supply (max.)  29.3 °C | Room Temperature 22 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The review sample's sound deserves the name, and is in line with the high price. Distortions rarely occur even at maximum volume due to good design. This phenomenon depends on the source. We did not notice any annoying volume fluctuations. The well-balanced sound is crisp and differentiated for a laptop, and even has a hint of surround in the pre-configured settings. The balance tends to become even clearer when the device is placed on a table. We had a few acoustic problems in locating the speakers and the direction they radiate. Sony once again lives up to its reputation as a hi-fi pioneer, and can compete with Beats Audio as installed in the recently tested HP Spectre 13-3010eg. This is also true for music enjoyment via the home stereo system providing any sound tweaks are disabled beforehand.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

We compared the review sample with current 15.6-inch laptops to categorize its power consumption. Convertibles in this size are still rare. Sony's Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B unfortunately consumed power when turned off, though extremely little. The standby power consumption of 0.3 Watts is in the midfield, just like in idle mode (average). In the different load tests, the initial power consumption of 59 Watts sometimes dropped to 40 Watts within a short time, which might indicate throttling. Taking 40 Watts in medium load for granted, Sony's convertible is at the end of the upper third of comparable devices. The maximum, consistent consumption that we ascertained was 46 Watts - thus, the 65 W power supply has enough reserves to recharge the battery during use.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 0.3 Watt
Idle 9.2 / 14.4 / 16 Watt
Load 46.4 / 36.5 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

Compared with other current 15-inch laptops, the battery runtime was a bit below average in the practical Wi-Fi test, using a brightness reduced to 128 cd/m² and enabled energy-savings profile. However, almost five hours should suffice for most purposes. Our Yoga 2 Pro stood out by 21% with five and a half hours and has a marginal lead on its two contenders in the load test. The Asus laptop came in last with still over four hours.

Battery Runtime
WiFi Surfing
4h 38min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 42min

Verdict

Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B
Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B

Despite the application scenarios mentioned in the intro, Sony's Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B remains to be an unusual hybrid consisting of a large laptop, and a too big and too heavy tablet for portable use. The device is something for special needs, and still mostly stands alone in its niche because other manufacturers like Asus and Lenovo only offer similar concepts with a maximum screen size of 14 inches. We should keep in mind that although both competitors offer slightly higher mobility (1.4 kg and 1.55 kg for the Lenovo and Asus models, respectively) (3.1 and 3.4 pounds respectively), their weight differences become marginal compared to the Sony after prolonged use.

One highlight is, of course, the IPS touchscreen's extremely high resolution that virtually makes an update to Windows 8.1 seem mandatory. Its performance in routine use is also impeccable although a genuine SSD would have looked good in Sony's device considering the steep price. The input devices are satisfactory to good, which is also not in line with the device's price range. Unique, in a negative sense, is the unfortunate design with the base's protruding upper side, which makes accessing the ports absolutely and unnecessarily difficult.

The flip mechanism is a clever idea, and superior to both Lenovo's and Asus' design in the author's opinion. The user always presses around on the lower (locked) Yoga 2 Pro's keyboard in tablet mode, and some potential buyers will have difficulties getting used to that. The two screens of the Taichi consume more power, and it rules out the protective clamshell effect for transportation because one screen is always on the outside. The slower CPUs, compared with the review sample, will only make a difference when using very performance devouring software; this is countered by the installed SSDs.

Comment this article:

In Review: Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B, courtesy of Sony Germany
In Review: Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B, courtesy of Sony Germany

Specifications

Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel Lynx Point-LP
:: Memory
12288 MB, DDR3, 1600 MHz, dual-channel
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M - 2048 MB, Core: 575-628 MHz, Memory: 856 MHz, 9.18.13.1183, Nvidia Optimus
:: Display
15.5 inch 16:9, 2880x1620 pixel, capacitive, 10 points, Panasonic MEI96A2 / VVX16T020G00, IPS, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
WDC WD10S12X-55JTET0 (1 TB HDD + 16 GB SSD Cache), 1000 GB 5400 rpm
:: Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
3 USB 3.0, 1 HDMI, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm audio combo jack, Card Reader: SD/SDHC/SDXC, Sensors: NFC, accelerometer, gyro, digital compass,
:: Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Wireless-N 7260 (b g n ), 4.0 + HS Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 20 x 254 x 377
:: Weight
2.3 kg Power Supply: 0.197 kg
:: Battery
49 Wh Lithium-Ion
Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 5 h
:: Price
1400 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 0,9 MP, Speakers: stereo, underside, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, stylus, McAfee LiveSafe Internet Security 30 day trial, various Sony tools, 24 Months Warranty

 

The color of the brushed metal surfaces...
The color of the brushed metal surfaces...
...is not easy to describe,...
...is not easy to describe,...
...and changes depending on the ambient light.
...and changes depending on the ambient light.
Vaio will continue to exist as a brand,...
Vaio will continue to exist as a brand,...
...but no longer under Sony's umbrella,...
...but no longer under Sony's umbrella,...
...who is currently breaking with its computer and TV divisions.
...who is currently breaking with its computer and TV divisions.
A distance shot...
A distance shot...
...from different...
...from different...
...perspectives.
...perspectives.
To prevent accidents when carrying the device around, the user should...
To prevent accidents when carrying the device around, the user should...
...always make sure that the flip mechanism is locked.
...always make sure that the flip mechanism is locked.
Presentation Mode also presents...
Presentation Mode also presents...
...the intense reflections on the screen right away.
...the intense reflections on the screen right away.
Tablet Mode
Tablet Mode
Converting Tablet Mode...
Converting Tablet Mode...
...to Laptop Mode.
...to Laptop Mode.
And the Presentation Mode once again,...
And the Presentation Mode once again,...
...from the keyboard view.
...from the keyboard view.
The flip mechanism is innovative...
The flip mechanism is innovative...
...and a solid concept.
...and a solid concept.
The maximum opening angle of approx. 130° cannot be criticized here.
The maximum opening angle of approx. 130° cannot be criticized here.
The base's upper side protrudes, and covers the ports.
The base's upper side protrudes, and covers the ports.
Main vent
Main vent
Here, the base's non-ergonomic design...
Here, the base's non-ergonomic design...
...can be marveled at in its full glory.
...can be marveled at in its full glory.
Not very clever: The status LEDs are on the underside. With some luck, their reflection might be seen on the table.
Not very clever: The status LEDs are on the underside. With some luck, their reflection might be seen on the table.
The somewhat cheap-looking keyboard...
The somewhat cheap-looking keyboard...
...did not convince us despite the standard layout.
...did not convince us despite the standard layout.
The key drop is too short,...
The key drop is too short,...
...and the key bed yields under pressure
...and the key bed yields under pressure
The touchpad could be a bit bigger, but is satisfactory otherwise.
The touchpad could be a bit bigger, but is satisfactory otherwise.
The color-coordinated showroom sticker.
The color-coordinated showroom sticker.
"Assist" refers to the second, easier to reach on/off button.
"Assist" refers to the second, easier to reach on/off button.
No cover - no maintenance, unless...
No cover - no maintenance, unless...
..the warranty doesn't matter, and the user grabs the screwdriver.
..the warranty doesn't matter, and the user grabs the screwdriver.
The rubber stoppers are unusually high.
The rubber stoppers are unusually high.
NFC devices are placed on this label.
NFC devices are placed on this label.

Similar Devices

Devices from a different Manufacturer and/or with a different CPU

Devices with the same GPU

» Review Acer Aspire S3-392G Ultrabook
Core i5 4200U, 13.3", 1.65 kg
» Review Sony Vaio Fit SV-F14A1M2E/S Notebook
Core i5 3337U, 14", 2.2 kg

Devices with Same Screen Size and/or Weight

» Review Lenovo ThinkPad W540 Workstation
Quadro K1100M, Core i7 4700MQ
» Review Lenovo ThinkPad T540p-20BE005YGE Notebook
GeForce GT 730M, Core i7 4700MQ
» Review Sony Vaio Fit SV-F1521V6EB Notebook
GeForce GT 740M, Core i7 3537U
» Review Sony Vaio SV-E1511V1EW Notebook
Radeon HD 7650M, Core i5 3210M

Links

Compare Prices

Amazon.com

Show results on Amazon.com

Pricerunner n.a.

Pro

+Innovative and solid folding mechanism
+Can be used as both a laptop and tablet
+Screen's extremely high resolution
+Accurate, well responding touchscreen
+Stylus included
+Fast enough for all kinds of application software
+Current games possible to an extent
+Great sound
 

Cons

-Too heavy for a portable tablet
-Sensitive for fingerprints
-A somewhat more rigid base would have been nice for the price
-Many corners, gaps and edges
-Highly reflective screen
-Ports covered by protruding base
-Intrusive, very often running fan
-Below-average keyboard
-No recovery media included

Shortcut

What we like

The screen renders up-scaled 1080p videos brilliantly. The performance is impeccable in routine use.

What we'd like to see

Accessible ports, less fan noise during operation, and multimedia

What surprises us

The price does not allow for a decent keyboard?

The competition

Asus Taichi 31-CX003H

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

Rating

Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B
02/19/2014 v3
Sven Kloevekorn

Chassis
80%
Keyboard
72%
Pointing Device
78%
Connectivity
60%
Weight
84%
Battery
85%
Display
83%
Games Performance
88%
Application Performance
94%
Temperature
84%
Noise
72%
Add Points
74%
Average
80%
79%
Convertible *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip SV-F15N1Z2E/B Convertible
Author: Sven Kloevekorn, 2014-02-24 (Update: 2014-02-25)