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A decent mid-range laptop, but no touchscreen
on 22 July 2013
(**NOTE: This review is of the Sony Vaio Fit 15E Core i3 1.9GHz model, and not the higher-specced i7 model.**) If you read all of the blurb in Amazon's product description for this laptop, you'll be led to believe that this device has "an intuitive touchscreen [that] helps you get the most from your media". This laptop does NOT have a touchscreen. According to its quick start guide, a touchscreen is available "on selected models only", and this model isn't one of them. Amazon's descriptions occasionally turn out to be slightly inaccurate, but this particular description really ought to be amended, since it contains incorrect information about an aspect of the product that's crucial to the way it functions.
Confusion over its touchscreen capabilities aside, the Sony Vaio Fit 15E (to give it its proper title) is a decent, solid, mid-range laptop. On the inside is an updated Intel Core i3 processor (i3-3227U), 4GBs of RAM and a 750GB hard drive. There's no discrete video card (only integrated graphics via Intel HD 4000). On the left side are two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port, a microphone jack and a headphone jack. On the right are two USB 2.0 ports and a DVD drive. All of the USB ports are situated close to the front corners, which is a bit of an odd, occasionally irritating design decision. A front-facing SD card slot completes the range of connections.
The screen has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels and looks pretty decent. It's quite glossy, though this doesn't bother me. The keys are nice and responsive and the numeric keypad is a welcome addition. The touchpad is far from ideal, however. It features two areas at the bottom that correspond to the left and right click of a mouse, and there doesn't appear to be any way to change this. I prefer using a two-fingered tap to right click, but if there's a way to do this I haven't found it. There also isn't a way to adjust the direction of two-fingered scrolling; for some reason there appears to be a lack of customisation options when it comes to this device's touchpad. UPDATE: The touchpad does have many customisation options, including two-fingered right click and being able to change the direction of two-fingered scrolling. I'm not sure whether these options were added via a software update or whether I just had trouble finding them.
One area where the Vaio Fit 15E punches above its weight is audio. It has a built-in subwoofer, and the audio the laptop produces is clear, bassy and loud - much louder than other laptops I've used. The laptop is also very good at maintaining a decent Wi-Fi connection, though its Wi-Fi card doesn't support the 5GHz band.
If you're looking for a general-purpose, mid-range laptop, you could do a lot worse than the Vaio Fit 15E. Its updated i3 processor can handle most (non-gaming/video editing) tasks with ease, and the overall build quality is good for the price. Just don't expect a nice Windows 8-friendly touchscreen; you'll have to look to higher-end Vaio models if you want one of those.