All you need to know about Vaio’s FE14

Vaio’s FE14 blends business and entertainment in an oh-so-familiar package

By Alvin R. Cabral

Published: Thu 6 May 2021, 1:22 PM

Yes, Vaio is still very much in the laptop game — even though Sony produced its last one in 2013 and sold off the entire unit the following year. It made a grand comeback in the Middle East, back in 2019, and just last month, AMD’s Ryzen chips have also made their debut.

They have introduced a number of new laptops to this part of the world. We’re getting a chance to see how one of them works out — plus experience a little bit of nostalgia — in the Vaio FE14.

The Vaio FE14 has a simple, no-frills build — but we get a serious dose of nostalgia seeing that iconic logo on its solid-looking cover.

It’s a really clean build, and, as a matter of fact, the FE14 is actually positioned as a business laptop. This reflects in its metal finish and dark colours, giving us an impression that it does, indeed, mean business. You’ll also be able to swivel its 14-inch screen all the way, to around 70 degrees, giving you a wide-range of viewing options to suit your comfort.

One advantage of a full-fledged laptop is that it can hold more ports and, let’s face it, even if ports are going smaller, we still need those good ol’ reliables: In the FE14, there is a host of ports, including three USB-As, an HDMI slot and a USB-C port, plus an SD card slot.

The keys have just the right height making typing effortless. The keyboard also has an anti-spill feature, but be aware that if a spillover does happen, quickly wipe it off and take it to your nearest service centre. Biggest drawback? It doesn’t have a backlit design. If you’ve memorised the keyboard, congratulations! If you’re still in the dark (don’t worry, the screen will light it up for you).

It is a little odd that the trackpad is slightly skewed towards the left. It would’ve been better suited if the trackpad was at the centre, to keep a better grasp of what’s above it. Through this layout, we find ourselves stretching our right hand more than usual.

Chip-wise, there are basically two versions of the FE14. And while both are still part of the 10th generation of Intel processors, both hit the motherboards in 2019. So, you can make an argument that they’re ‘old’.

Nevertheless, the i5-10210U and i7-10510U chips (part of the Comet Lake gang) still hold up pretty well, being in the upper mid-range. Our model, though, has the lower-end of 8GB/512GB but it came with an impressive speed. So, we’re quite confident on what the 16GB/1TB combo will have to offer.

There weren’t any apparent lags in the system and we had no trouble transitioning our way through the apps. This meant that we were able to go through the tasks and get our work done without any significant slowdowns. The entertainment feature is also smooth — the display doesn’t harm your eyes and the audio was also decent.

Now, if this is a business laptop, we’re surprised that its battery life, as Vaio says, lasts for a maximum of seven hours. That’s quite a short span, and you’re sure to scramble for its charging port in no time. An intensive day at work — sprinkled with some extracurricular activity — dragged our unit just past the five-hour mark. It’s also slow in recovering its lost energy. You will not get to the full power until at least two hours.

And so

The Vaio FE14 lives up to its billing as a very reliable laptop, with a sleek finish. We’re just wary of its battery life, which could’ve been better and does affect the experience pound-for-pound. Its pricing, while still fair for its proposition, can be a sticking point.

GOODIES: Sleek build, virtually lag-free, comfortable to the eyes

GOOFIES: Battery life isn’t long enough, ‘old’ processor, pricing is a toss-up

AUTHOR’S RATING (4.5/5): You have options, but this isn’t a bad one

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