Vaio FE 14.1 review: not the Vaio you keep in mind

Vaio FE 14.1

MSRP $949.00

“The Vaio FE 14.1 is outdated model, and by no means in a good way.”

Professionals

  • Wonderful keyboard
  • First charge battery life
  • Present had good distinction
  • Entry-level model attractively priced

Cons

  • Comparatively gradual effectivity
  • Versatile assemble prime quality
  • Earlier-school 16:9 present
  • Present colors had been beneath widespread
  • Tiny touchpad

The Sony Vaio was as quickly as an fashionable and aggressive laptop mannequin that equipped a compelling lineup. In 2014, Sony spun off the Vaio division, and the mannequin has grow to be a stand-alone laptop maker. Its alternative is further restricted, with the Vaio Z and SX traces firmly out there out there’s premium part and the Vaio FE representing the worth vary and mid-range lineup. Vaio currently launched an substitute to the Vaio FE 14.1 with Twelfth-gen Intel CPUs, and I was ready to provide it a train.

In some methods, the Vaio FE 14.2 is a throwback to laptop designs made plenty of years previously — and by no means in a good way. On prime of that, its effectivity and assemble prime quality aren’t one thing to write down down residence about, making it a problematic laptop to advocate.

Worth and configuration

I reviewed the top-end model priced at $949 with a Twelfth-gen Intel Core i7-1255U and a 14.1-inch 16:9 Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS present, making it further of a mid-range than a worth vary laptop.

There are three configurations of the Vaio FE 14.1. The entry-level model is $699 for a Core i5-1235U, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 14.1-inch 16:9 Full HD IPS present. All fashions share the similar present risk. The mid-level machine is $799 for a Core i5-1235U, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Lastly, my review configuration is $949 for Core i7-1255U, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. The $699 configuration may be the easiest price.

A variety of totally different laptops will be discovered within the similar worth range, along with the HP Pavilion Plus 14 and the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1. The Pavilion Plus 14 is very participating at $1,000 for a faster 45-watt Core i7 CPU and a spectacular 14-inch 16:10 OLED present working at 90Hz.

Design

VAIO FE 14.1 front angle view showing display and keyboard deck.Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

The Vaio FE 14.1’s most hanging aesthetic attribute, a minimal of on my review unit, was the extreme blue coloration scheme on the lid and keyboard deck. Most colored laptops have further subdued hues, nonetheless Vaio went for a coloration that’s constructive to face out. There’s moreover a pink accessible that seems as shocking, along with further delicate silver and darkish grey colors. If you want your laptop to shout, then the Vaio FE 14.1 is for you.

Completely different aggressive laptops, similar to the HP Pavilion Plus 14 and the MSI Standing 14, are rather a lot quieter of their designs. Exterior of the color, the Vaio FE 14.1 is much a lot much less elaborate, with simple traces and angles and just a few venting alongside the left-hand side that seems misplaced.

One oddity with the design is the devoted exhausting drive train gentle on the prime of the keyboard. I don’t keep in mind seeing a sort of in pretty some time, and it’s one different of those old-school qualities that makes the laptop actually really feel dated.

The Vaio FE 14.1 has some bending inside the lid and flex inside the keyboard deck.

The plastic present bezels are reasonably skinny on the edges nonetheless pretty thick on the best and bottom. That matches the old-school 16:9 facet ratio and makes a laptop that’s wider than one other 14-inch machines and as deep as these with 16:10 facet ratios. The Vaio FE 14.1 can be thick at 0.78 inches and heavy at 3.5 kilos. The HP Pavilion Plus 14 is 0.72 inches thick and weighs 3.09 kilos, and the Asus Vivobook S 14X is 0.70 inches and three.23 kilos. The Vaio FE 14.1 isn’t the thinnest or lightest 14-inch laptop spherical.

Regarding its assemble prime quality, the Vaio FE 14.1 exhibits some bending inside the lid and flex inside the keyboard deck as a consequence of a mixture of aluminum and plastic in its improvement. It’s not egregious for a laptop under $1,000, nevertheless it certainly’s not the easiest I’ve seen.

The Pavilion Plus 14 is much extra rigid, whereas the Vivobook S 14X is rather like the Vaio. It’s not harmful ample to make you lack confidence inside the laptop’s sturdiness, nevertheless it certainly doesn’t scream prime quality, each.

Port and connectivity

VAIO FE 14.1 left side view showing vent and ports.

vaio fe 14 review 1 right side

Connectivity is respectable, with one omission. There’s a single USB-C 3.2 port, a USB-A 3.1 port, and a USB-A 2.0 port to go along with a full-size HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and an Ethernet connection. The latter is unusual on stylish 14-inch machines, and the dearth of Thunderbolt 4 is disappointing nonetheless forgivable on the worth. There’s moreover a full-size SD card reader, which is welcome.

Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 current wi-fi connectivity, which is simply a step behind totally different laptops supply with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.

Effectivity

VAIO Fe 14.1 rear view showing lid and logo.Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

The Intel Core i7-1255U is a 15-watt, 10-core (two Effectivity and eight Atmosphere pleasant), 12-thread CPU aimed towards skinny and lightweight laptops and supposed to produce larger effectivity than Intel’s 28-watt P-series CPUs. We’ve reviewed a few laptops with the CPU, and its effectivity has varied counting on the benchmark and the machine. Often, though, the chip has been fast ample for demanding productiveness duties nonetheless not as fast for inventive workflows. Of the laptops we’ve examined with the CPU, the Vaio FE 14.1 has been the slowest, and it’s solely marginally sooner than Intel’s Eleventh-gen processors.

Throughout the Geekbench 5 benchmark, the Vaio FE 14.1 was merely barely faster than the MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo with its Eleventh-gen Core i7-1185G7. That’s a 28-watt CPU, nonetheless the totally different laptops we’ve examined with the Core i7-1255U had been considerably faster. Not like most totally different laptops I’ve reviewed, the Vaio doesn’t have a thermal administration utility, so there’s no effectivity mode to ramp up effectivity.

In our Handbrake check out that encodes a 420MB video as H.265, the Vaio FE 14.2 was the slowest amongst our comparability group, and inside the Cinebench R23 rendering benchmark, it was the second slowest. Lastly, inside the PCMark 10 Full benchmark that measures a mix of productiveness, multimedia, and creative duties, the Vaio as soon as extra received right here in next-to-last place.

I seen no throttling with the laptop, with it hitting a most of 91 ranges C in in all probability essentially the most CPU-intensive benchmarks. It merely didn’t run very fast and, as a rule, saved temperatures inside the 70s. The Vaio FE 14.2 will meet your productiveness effectivity needs, nonetheless faster laptops will be discovered for throughout the same worth.

Geekbench
(single / multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
PCMark 10
Full
Vaio FE 14.1
(Core i7-1255U)
Bal:1,682 / 5,167
Perf: N/A
Bal: 208
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,562 / 5,045
Perf: N/A
4,895
Lenovo Yoga 7i Gen 7
(Core i7-1255U)
Bal: 1,652 / 8,194
Perf: 1,692 / 8,443
Bal: 200
Perf: 141
Bal: 1,679 / 7,176
Perf: 1,748 / 7,701
5,211
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
(Core i7-1255U)
Bal: 1,703 / 6,520
Perf: 1,685 / 6,791
Bal: 153
Perf: 141
Bal: 1,729 / 6,847
Perf: 1,773 / 7,009
5,138
Acer Swift 3 2022
(Core i7-1260P)
Bal: 1,708 / 10,442
Perf: 1,694 / 10,382
Bal: 100
Perf: 98
Bal: 1,735 / 9,756
Perf: 1,779 / 10,165
5,545
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
Bal: 1,717 / 9,231
Perf: 1,712 / 10,241
Bal: 130
Perf: 101
Bal: 1,626 / 7,210
Perf: 1,723 / 8,979
5,760
Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
Bal: 1,417 / 6,854
Perf: 1,404 / 7,223
Bal: 112
Perf: 111
Bal: 1,402 / 8,682
Perf: 1,409 / 8,860
5,647
MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo
(Core i7-1185G7)
Bal: 1,352 / 4,891
Perf: 1,518 / 5,310
Bal: 207
Perf: 188
Bal: 1,360 / 4,391
Perf: 1,385 / 4,909
4,872

Gaming on the Vaio FE 14.1 acquired’t be rather a lot gratifying, given its below-average effectivity in our lightweight gaming benchmarks. It scored poorly inside the 3DMark Time Spy check out and solely managed 9 frames per second (fps) in Fortnite and 1080p and epic graphics. Intel’s Iris Xe isn’t good for larger than casual gaming on the quickest laptops, and on the Vaio, it’s not going to take care of up the least bit.

3DMark
Time Spy
Fortnite
(1080p/1200p Epic)
Vaio FE 14.1
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,368
Perf: N/A
Bal: 9
Perf: N/A
Lenovo Yoga 7i Gen 7
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,790
Perf: 1,716
Bal: 18
Perf: 18
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,492
Perf: 1,502
Bal: 12 fps
Perf: 12 fps
Acer Swift 3 2022
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,967
Perf: 1,967
Bal: 19
Perf: 19
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,658
Perf: 1,979
Bal: 12 fps
Perf: N/A
Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED
(Radeon graphics)
Bal: 2,110
Perf: 2,213
Bal: 19 fps
Perf: 19 fps

Present and audio

VAIO FE 14.1 front view showing display.Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

There’s only one present risk with the Vaio FE 14.1, a 14.1-inch 16:9 Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS panel. As I used the present all through my testing, it wasn’t terribly vibrant, and its colors didn’t seem that dynamic, nonetheless its blacks appeared deep ample.

Primarily based on my colorimeter, my eyes weren’t deceiving me. Brightness was lower than we want to see at 280 nits, slightly below our 300-nit threshold. You’ll probably do prime quality in most indoor settings, nonetheless exterior inside the shade may be troublesome. Colors had been narrower than the mid-range to premium widespread, at 66% of sRGB and 49% of AdobeRGB, the place the standard is nearer to 95% and 75%, respectively. And the color accuracy was poor at a DeltaE of three.46, the place 2.0 or a lot much less is the minimal for inventive work. Solely the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1’s colors had been equally poor. Nonetheless, the Vaio FE 14.1’s distinction was prime quality at 1,070:1, exceeding our 1,000:1 commonplace.

The present is nice ample for productiveness work, nonetheless media clients and creators may be unhappy with the colors. It’s a budget-level present that will probably be prime quality in a laptop costing $600 or a lot much less, nevertheless it certainly’s not acceptable at $949.

Brightness
(nits)
Distinction sRGB gamut AdobeRGB gamut Accuracy DeltaE
(lower is more healthy)
Vaio FE 14.1
(IPS)
280 1,070:1 66% 49% 3.46
HP Pavilion Plus 14
(OLED)
398 27,830:1 100% 95% 0.78
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
(IPS)
288 1,330:1 63% 48% 3.35
Acer Swift 3
(IPS)
368 1,330:1 98% 75% 1.51
MSI Summit E14 Flip
(IPS)
516 1,320:1 100% 89% 1.10
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon
(OLED)
397 27,590:1 100% 96% 0.88

Two upward-firing audio system above the keyboard current ample audio, with merely ample amount for watching the occasional YouTube video. Mids and highs had been prime quality with out distortion, nonetheless there wasn’t rather a lot bass. You’ll want a pair of headphones for music and Netflix binging. The speaker placement can be unfortunate as a result of it steals away space from the keyboard deck and contributes to the touchpad’s small measurement.

Keyboard, touchpad, and webcam

VAIO FE 14.1 top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

The Vaio FE 14.1’s keyboard has big keycaps and fantastic key spacing to go along with a helpful row of navigation buttons on the right-hand side. The switches have loads of journey with a fast bottoming movement that offers a great deal of options. It’s a precise and comfortable keyboard that competes with the easiest Residence home windows has to produce, along with these on the Dell XPS and HP Spectre traces.

One different old-school attribute of the Vaio FE 14.1 is the presence of devoted touchpad buttons (which had been a bit harsh and loud). I don’t see them usually, and it took me a short while to get used to pressing them comparatively than using further of the touchpad as a clickable flooring. It’s the opposite of the modern haptic touchpad, the place your complete flooring responds to enter. Whereas some people could favor separate buttons, crucial draw back is that they make a tiny touchpad even smaller.

It’s one in all many smallest touchpads I’ve examined and the smallest on a 14-inch laptop. Compounding the issue is the fingerprint reader embedded inside the larger left-hand nook which takes away rather more space. That’s such a tiny touchpad that I’m tempted to call it cute. It actually works correctly ample, supporting Residence home windows 11 multitouch gestures with no draw back; it’s merely strategy too small.

The aforementioned fingerprint reader helps Residence home windows 11 Howdy passwordless login. It labored shortly and reliably all through my testing.

VAIO FE 14.1 front view showing webcam.Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

The webcam is on the market in at 2MP, which ought to have the ability to 1080p video. I found the image prime quality sufficient for videoconferencing nonetheless not among the many many best I’ve used just lately. The webcam has a bodily slider for privateness.

Battery life

VAIO FE 14.1 side view showing lid and ports.Mark Coppock/Digital Developments

There are 55 watt-hours of battery functionality stuffed contained within the Vaio FE 14.1, which is decrease than I want to see for 14-inch laptops. It’s not an unusual amount, though. The equally priced Acer Swift 3 and HP Pavilion Skilled 14 each had throughout the same battery measurement. With a Full HD present and 15-watt CPU, I anticipated a minimal of respectable battery life from the Vaio.

That’s mainly what I observed all through my testing. In our web procuring check out that cycles by some commonplace and complex internet sites, the Vaio FE 14.1 lasted for 7.25 hours, which is barely decrease than the eight hours or so we want to see on this check out. It managed 12 hours in our video check out that loops a 1080p movie trailer, which is spherical widespread. And it managed 9.5 hours inside the PCMark 10 Functions battery check out, which is the easiest indication of sunshine productiveness battery life. That’s about half an hour decrease than widespread. The Acer Swift 3 lasted barely longer in each check out, whereas the HP Pavilion Plus 14 with its 45-watt CPU and OLED present did rather a lot worse.

Basic, I’d cost the Vaio FE 14.1’s battery life as shut ample to widespread. It must closing most of a full day of productiveness work if it’s not too demanding. I’ll bear in mind that the laptop ships with a proprietary power connector, which is one different throwback — every totally different 14-inch laptop I’ve reviewed just lately has used a USB-C charger. The Vaio will price by its single USB-C port, nonetheless in actual fact, that limits its connectivity. I’d comparatively have a second USB-C port than a proprietary charger, though.

Web procuring Video PCMark 10
Functions
Vaio FE 14.1
(Core i7-1255U)
7 hours, 14 minutes 11 hours, 57 minutes 9 hours, 32 minutes
Lenovo Yoga 7i Gen 7
(Core i7-1255U)
7 hours, 7 minutes 13 hours, 53 minutes 10 hours, 41 minutes
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
(Core i7-1255U)
6 hours, 42 minutes 10 hours, 6 minutes 8 hours, 43 minutes
Acer Swift 3 2022
(Core i7-1260P)
8 hours, 2 minutes 14 hours, 10 minutes 10 hours, 1 minute
HP Pavilion Plus 14
(Core i7-12700H)
4 hours, 29 minutes 7 hours, 29 minutes 5 hours, 48 minutes
 Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
8 hours, 4 minutes 13 hours, 13 minutes N/A

Our take

The Vaio FE 14.1 is an old-school laptop in plenty of strategies and seems a couple of years behind the curve. The 14-inch laptop market has been considerably sturdy just lately; sadly, the Vaio has little to advocate it amongst such a aggressive group.

Effectivity was slower than it must be, the present was disappointing, and the tiny touchpad was a letdown. Vaio would possibly need to carry further if it must compete.

Are there any alternate choices?

The Acer Swift 3 is a sturdy competitor, coming in at merely $80 larger than the Vaio with faster effectivity, a considerably higher present, and better battery life. The assemble prime quality can be sturdier, making the Swift 3 a further participating machine.

The HP Pavilion Plus 14 is one different steady risk, costing $50 further for a machine with larger effectivity, a spectacular 2.8K OLED present working at 90Hz, and a rock-solid assemble. Its one weak level is poor battery life.

Lastly, you presumably can choose the Apple MacBook Air M1. It’s a barely costlier laptop, nonetheless its effectivity, battery life, present, and assemble prime quality blow the Vaio FE 14.1 out of the water.

How prolonged will it closing?

The Vaio FE 14.1 suffers from some bending and flexing, nevertheless it certainly’s nonetheless constructed correctly ample that it must closing for plenty of years with low cost care. Its elements are up to date aside from no Thunderbolt 4 assist, which limits its expandability. The industry-standard one-year assure is okay at this worth degree.

Do you must buy it?

No. The Vaio FE 14.1 is just too gradual and has too many old-school attributes to justify its worth, notably in direction of such intense rivals.

Editors’ Options




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