2022 Vaio FE 14 is new on the inside but old on the outside
Vaio has refreshed its 14.1-inch FE14 this year with Intel 12th gen Core-U CPUs to replace last year's 11th gen options. The update is largely internal as the external design remains the same year-over-year. However, we think it's about time for the manufacturer to introduce a full-fledged chassis refresh for several reasons.
Firstly, the FE14 still relies on a proprietary AC barrel charger even though most laptops in its $800 USD price range have already made the full transition to universal USB-C charging only. While the Vaio system can indeed charge via USB-C via its USB-C port, it should have just shipped without the proprietary AC charger port in the first place.
Secondly, the system continues to integrate a fingerprint reader on the touchpad instead of on the Power button or right palm rest where most laptops are now placing it. As a result, the fingerprint reader takes space away from the already small touchpad of the FE14 to negatively impact the user experience.
Lastly, the model doesn't seem to be optimized very well for the 12th gen processor. DPC latency issues are constant and severe enough to cause dropped frames when streaming 4K video and inconsistent stutters when gaming. We're able to record 16 dropped frames during our minute-long 4K60 video while frame rates when running Witcher 3 would frequently dip to 30 FPS or lower even when standing idle on the lowest graphical settings.
We're hopeful that the manufacturer will fully refresh its FE series for the next year. We know it's supposed to be a budget series, but it certainly deserves better especially when competing manufacturers have been stepping up their game as of late in the same budget category.