Sony understands that consumers buying an 11.6-inch notebooks want a computer that's light and portable, and it's delivered with the 11A. Measuring 11.2 x 7.8 x 0.65 - 0.75 inches (W x D x H), it was an easy fit into even one of my smaller bags. It's even a little smaller in width and depth than the 11.7 x 8.0 inch Yoga 11S, although the Yoga is just about the same height at 0.67 inches.

Another factor making the 11A great for travel is its weight. Weighing only 2.82 pounds, it's even lighter than the 3.1-pound Yoga 11S. Tossing the notebook in my bag for a trip to the coffee shop was painless, which is an important factor for me.

While this height is fine for a notebook, it's too thick for a comfortable tablet. The slate experience of the Asus Transformer Book TX300, which has a detachable display, is much better. The TX300 is only 0.43 inches thick as a tablet, just a tad thicker than the 0.35 inch thick Google Nexus 10 – which only runs Android instead of the much more powerful Windows 8

Sony Vaio Fit 11A review

The 11A isn't quite as powerful as the Yoga 11S or the Transformer Book TX300. Despite less processor speed, both the 11S and the TX300 powered by an Intel Core chip even in their cheapest configuration. The Fit 11A has a quad-core Intel Pentium N3520, which has been designed specifically for mobile.

But that extra power also bumps up the price – the Yoga 11S starts at $1,099 and the Transformer Book TX300 at $1,499. Those prices make the $799 VAIO Fit 11A start looking a lot more appealing.

Spec sheet

This is the Sony Vaio Fit 11A configuration sent to TechRadar:

  • CPU: 2.16GHz Bay Trail Intel Pentium N3520 (quad-core, 2MB cache)
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
  • RAM: 4GB DDR3L
  • Screen: 11.6-inch, 1920 x 1080, LED-backlit Triluminous display
  • Storage: 128GB SSD
  • Ports: 2 USB 3.0 ports, SD card reader, HDMI, headphone/mic jack
  • Connectivity: Broadcom BCM43142 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
  • Cameras: 8MP rear-facing camera with Exmor sensor, HD webcam
  • Weight: 2.82 pounds
  • Size: 11.2 x 7.8 x 0.65 - 0.75 inches (W x D x H)

The Fit 11A is powered by a quad-core, 2.16GHz (Bay Trail) Intel Pentium N3520, an Intel chip designed specifically for mobile. The Asus Transformer Book TX300, by contrast, has a 1.9GHz Intel Core i7 3517U and the Lenovo Yoga 11S a 1.5GHz Intel Core i5-3339Y.

Sony Vaio Fit 11A review

Like both the Transformer Book TX300 and the Yoga 11S, the Vaio 11A has 4GB of RAM, which is plenty to keep Windows 8 running smoothly. Having much more than 4GB of RAM would be a little overkill for an ultraportable notebook.

It's not surprising that there's no dedicated graphics card inside the Vaio 11A, instead using an integrated Intel HD Graphics card. For an ultraportable notebook, it's enough for movie playback and most casual games, but not much beyond that.

Both the Yoga 11S and the Transformer Book TX300 have integrated graphics as well, each with the Intel HD 4000 chip. If you're getting any of these three notebooks to play serious games, they'll definitely be a letdown. The Intel integrated graphics card is perfectly fine for casual tasks, but anything more graphics intensive just won't be up to snuff.

Sony Vaio Fit 11A review
The chamfered edges are a nice touch

A pleasant surprise is the 1920 x 1080 LED-backlit Triluminous display, which is bright and vivid, making movies and text crisp and clear. It's the same resolution as the Transformer Book TX300, both of which are sharper than the 1366 x 768 Yoga 11S.

The Fit 11A has a 128GB solid-state drive, which is fast and zippy but can fill up fast if you're not also using external or cloud storage to hold movies, music, and photos. It's the same amount of storage as the Yoga 11S, and pretty standard for a notebook of this size.

Ports

The Vaio 11A boasts plenty of ports, including an SD card reader, a full-sized HDMI port, and two USB 3.0 ports. The USB ports are a particularly nice touch, since the Lenovo Yoga 11S opted instead for USB 2.0.

There's no Ethernet port – an omission that's becoming more and more popular for smaller notebooks. It makes sense: this isn't a machine designed to be tethered to a desk, but carried around from room to room.

So, how does it perform as an overall device?