Sony's plan to exit the PC business should be finalised by the end of this month. The new entity taking over the Vaio brand will focus on the Japanese market for the near term.
After this latest crop of Vaio laptops, you may not be able to buy them in Singapore any more.
Sony will continue to provide support for these laptops, which include the new Fit 11A, a smaller version of the Fit 13A. It has a hinged design that enables it to function as both laptop and tablet.
The Fit 11A has an 11.6-inch screen, though its weight is only 100g less than the 13-inch version. It is handy enough for a laptop at 1.21kg, but hefty as a tablet.
Converting this device from laptop to tablet is not as straightforward as rotating the screen of the Lenovo Yoga devices.
First, you have to release the lock switch above the keyboard. Then push the top of the aluminium-clad screen so that it faces outwards. This is viewer mode, where you can watch videos and use the touchscreen without the keyboard getting in the way.
Close the lid while the screen is facing outwards to finish the tablet transformation. As a slate, the Fit 11A feels thick and bulky.
The hinge makes the device slope slightly when it is placed on a flat surface. This makes typing on the Fit 11A more comfortable than on a typical tablet, which is completely flat.
The screen has an impressive 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution. Viewing angles from the sides are good, but the screen quickly loses its vibrancy when tilted slightly off-centre on the vertical axis.
This hybrid device has just two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port. But it manages to squeeze in an SD card reader.
Interestingly, the Vaio Fit 11A uses an Intel Pentium quad-core processor (N3520) based on the Bay Trail CPU micro-architecture. This is designed for mobile devices and consumes less power than the Intel Core processors found in ultrabooks.
Performance, however, takes a slight hit. In PCMark 7, the Fit 11A scored 3,153 compared with the 4,388 of Sony's Vaio Pro 13 ultrabook with an Intel Core i7 chip.
The Fit 11A launches apps promptly enough because of its 128GB solid-state drive. In fact, the computer booted into Windows 8 in around 6sec.
Sony has preloaded Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 for image editing, but I will not recommend using the Fit 11A for more intensive tasks, such as converting video files from one format to another.
Sony's recent Vaio ultrabooks have performed disappointingly in battery life tests. The Fit 11A continues this dismal trend with just 4hr and 40min of uptime.
At $1,299, the Fit 11A is surprisingly affordable for a Vaio machine. But I am discouraged by the mediocre performance and lack of battery stamina.
Processor: Intel Pentium N3520 (2.16GHz)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics RAM: 4GB
Screen size: 11.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
Connectivity: 2 x USB 3.0, HDMI, SD card reader, headphone and microphone combo jack
Value for money 4/5
Battery life 3/5
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