To get a gauge on how the Vaio Fit 13A performs, we've selected synthetic benchmark scores from other Ultrabooks such as the ASUS Transformer Book Trio, Sony's own Vaio Pro 13, as well as the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro.
Note that the machines selected have Intel Core i7 processors, and are expected to perform better. However, also take note that machines with an Intel Core i7 processor tend to perform only marginally better than identical machines with an Intel Core i5 processor.
PCMark 8 is a synthetic benchmark that puts the machine through workloads that a device is expected to go through everyday. The workload comprises tasks like web browsing, multimedia editing and document editing.
In the general "Home" benchmark, machines are made to go through a mix of tasks, while the "Creative" and "Work" benchmarks are more specific, and tests the system’s performance with specific workloads.
In our performance benchmarks, the Fit 13A only managed a Home suite score of 1251, despite having the same Intel Core i5-4200U (1.6GHz) CPU, Intel HD Graphics 4400, 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD as other mainstream Ultrabooks.
In comparison, the similarly specced Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro (but with an Intel Core i7) managed a score of 2924, more than twice of what the 13A is capable of. Before you attribute the large margin due to the Yoga 2 Pro’s Core i7 chip, we’d like to remind you that the performance difference between a Core i7 and a Core i5 chip in identical machines, is generally much smaller (around 20%).
While this shows that the Fit 13A isn’t as efficient in synthetic benchmarks, casual users won’t be able to tell the difference during everyday use, thanks to its SSD which generally masks any inefficiencies and makes the system still feel fast. As you can see from the storage test suite, the Fit 13A fares almost as well as the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro. So in tests that make heavy utilization of the Fit 13A’s SSD, the scores are much better. For multimedia editing (Creative benchmark) and document editing (Work benchmark), the Fit 13A managed to keep up without any issues.
This means that despite the low scores on the Home benchmark, when it comes to actual usage of the notebook, the Fit 13A won’t let you down.
3DMark is another synthetic benchmark that approximates the machines’ gaming proficiency. Using its own rendering engine and tests, its primary role is to run a series of varied graphical tests and put a number that sums up the results. Given the integrated graphics engine's meager capabilities, we settled on the Cloud Gate test suite.
Note that while each comparison machine uses the same Intel HD Graphics 4400 GPU, the Intel Core i7’s graphics module is clocked just 100MHz faster. However the Sony Vaio Fit 13A's lackluster performance was contributed by its poor thermal output design. Simply put, it seems that Sony design the cooling system for the everyday usage needs and not well equipped to tackle the maximum TDP of the platform. We checked the system's thermal status and clock speeds while running these tests and found it to spike and dip respectively much more often than a standard Ultrabook.
The Fit 13A’s score of 3078 was about 35% lower than the Transformer Book Trio, and about 25% lower than the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro. While you won’t be gaming with any of these machines, take note that an Ultrabook’s GPU is well used in the modern Windows 8 OS to power several subtle animations, hardware-accelerated graphics in both the OS and web browsers, and several other under-the-hood aspects. Thankfully, in standard day-to-day usage, users cannot feel this performance deficit. But once we start checking on gaming performance, the discrepancy is as clear as night and day:-
In an actual gaming benchmark using Far Cry 2, the resultant outlook took on similarities we spotted from the 3DMark test run. It had a below average performance at 25.29 frames per second when most most Ultrabooks manage at least 40fps at medium image quality settings. While most Ultrabooks with onboard graphics aren’t built to tackle gaming, given the performance discrepancy seen above, the Vaio Fit 13A is unift for any light gaming needs outside of web and flash-based games on the internet. Even as we say this, this aspect might not be a concern for its intended audience, and that's probably the luck and genius of Sony's product positioning.