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Sony Fit 14E SVF1421P2E review

Kat Orphanides
11 Oct 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
477
inc VAT

This 14in ultraportable has plenty of style, a responsive touchscreen and a fair bit of processor power to boot

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If you've always wanted a stylish touchscreen laptop but haven't been able to justify the cash, the Sony Vaio Fit 14E SVF1421S1E could be exactly what you've been waiting for. The version we looked at, equipped with a 1.9GHz Core i3-3227U processor and 4GB of RAM, costs £477 and even cheaper models of the Fit 14E are available with lower-power Pentium processors.

Sony Fit 14E SVF1421P2E

We think this Core-i3 version provides a sound compromise between power and price, though, with a score of 34 in our application benchmarks. Although it struggled slightly in our multitasking test, it's powerful enough to run Windows 8 and most standard applications smoothly, as long as you're not planning to edit 4K video.

The processor's on-chip Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU performed better than many integrated graphics chipsets, but still couldn't produce a playable frame rate in Dirt Showdown at a resolution of 1,280x720, with High detail settings and 4x anti-aliasing. However, its frame rate of 17.1fps bodes well for older games, and when we dropped the quality to Low we saw 31fps.

The most demanding games will still be jerky however low you set the detail levels, but at least you won't be frozen out of classics such as Empire Total War.

Pictures and video look pretty decent, too, thanks to the Fit 14E's glossy touchscreen display. While our colour calibrator showed it was only displaying 62.5% ofthe sRGB gamut, we were pleased by its even, natural looking colour, with no unwanted tints visible on our test images. However, because the screen is so glossy, it easily picks up reflections and glare from bright light sources, and you'll get a pretty good view of your own face when displaying dark images. Our calibrator measured the contrast ratio as 313:1, which is above average for a budget laptop.

Sony Fit 14E SVF1421P2E

Although the ten-point touchscreen's gloss finish can be a bit of a strain under bright lighting, we really liked its responsiveness and sensitivity. We appreciated being able to reach out and resize web pages or flick through photos. Although the screen has only a standard laptop resolution of 1,366x768, that's a perfectly acceptable number of pixels to spread across a small 14in display without things getting too blocky.

While the touchscreen is a fantastically sensitive control device, we were far less impressed by the touchpad. It looks like it should be a winner, as it's not small, cramped or oddly positioned, but is instead a large pad with integrated buttons situated dead centre on the wrist rest. There's plenty of space around it and we never brushed it while typing thanks to good positioning relative to the keyboard. However, while clicking and dragging was usually fine, we found that selecting multiple files using the ctrl-click-drag method was surprisingly difficult and that we often slipped, mis-selecting files, losing our original selections or dragging them to the wrong place. Fortunately, this became easier as we got used to the position and relative insensitivity of the touchpad's buttons.

Sony Fit 14E SVF1421P2E

The keyboard is a bit plasticky and the widely-spaced keys don’t have much travel. If you tend to hit the keys hard when typing, you may find them unresponsive and hard on the fingertips, but the widely-spaced positioning makes accurate typing a breeze. The integrated speakers are positioned on the front edge of the laptop. At full volume they distort a little even when playing system sounds, but they're quite loud, so you can get away with turning the volume down to around 80% of maximum and still get more volume than some other laptops put out. There's no bass and our music sounded harsh, but they're fine for spoken word content.

At 21mm thick, the Fit 14E is small enough to fit into most bags and make it easy to work on even a cramped plane or train. The battery will keep you going through most commutes too: it lasted 5h 51m in our light-use test. The laptop has a DVD-RW drive and a 750GB hard disk which provides plenty of space for all your software, media files and data. It's also equipped with two USB3 ports, two standard USB ports, an SDXC card reader at the front and the obligatory mic and headphone ports. You can connect to networks either via the Gigabit Ethernet port or using 802.11n Wi-Fi.

Sony Fit 14E SVF1421P2E

The laptop supports NFC, so you can pair it with compatible NFC-enabled devices such as Bluetooth speakers, or transfer data from a mobile phone or tablet which supports the standard. The Fit 14E also has a two year RTB warranty, giving you a bit more peace of mind than some of its rivals.

Although we've used better touchpads and keyboards, the Fit 14E really grew on us as we used it. It's not the most powerful laptop you can get for the money, but it's one of the most feature-packed and best-designed. If you want more power on a budget but don't require a touchscreen, the Best Buy-winning Toshiba Satellite C50-A-156 costs less and packs a more powerful processor, but the Fit 14E is still an outstanding compact touchscreen laptop.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
ProcessorIntel Core i3-3227U
Processor clock speed1.9GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free1
Maximum memory8GB
Size21x341x242mm
Weight2.2kg
SoundRealtek HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad and touchscreen

Display

Viewable size14 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorIntel HD Graphics 4000
Graphics/video portsHDMI
Graphics Memory256MB

Storage

Total storage capacity750GB
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports4
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
Supported memory cardsSDXC
Other ports2x USB3, headphone, microphone

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 8
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includednone
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years RTB
Price£477
Detailswww.sony.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.dabs.com

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