Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip PC makes IFA debut: We go hands-on with the laptop-meets-tablet

Taking a different stance on the touchscreen laptop-meets-tablet, Sony unveiled the Sony Vaio Fit multi-flip PC at this year's IFA trade show in Berlin. We had a play around with the multi-function device to see if it's a fit and fancy as it claims to be.

First impressions - visually, at least - are very good. The shiny aluminium exterior looks the part, the backlit keyboard looked top notch and typing felt good too.

A huge 2880 x 1620 resolution (maximum available, there are lower res options) makes for fantastic visuals - all bright colours thanks to the Windows 8 operating system - and the touch-sensitive display was responsive.

There's a hinge which shows up as a line down the rear of the Fit's lid that is less fetching to the eye but has been kept clean and neat by design. It's necessary in order to pop the screen into its tablet-like position.

To release the Fit from its laptop position there's a "lock / release" switch that's a far neater solution than something like the two-part Sony Vaio Tap. The magnetic screen then "pops" when pushed from behind the top portion of the screen.

Problem is the way the device folds out into this position made us want to pull and tug at its various sections to reform it into the laptop. The on-looking Sony representative kept stopping us for fear of breaking it - which seems an inherent issue. It just didn't feel intuitive flexing from one position to another - and that's something even the wacky-looking Acer "Starship Enterprise" R7 manages.

READ: Acer Aspire R7 pictures and hands-on

Although the Fit is slender, the overall bulk of the device compared to dedicated tablets is another downside - it's certainly fine for top-down desk or lap-based work, but we couldn't envisage using it on the go in this format. Not a problem if that suits your working method, but it won't be for everyone. Saying that, we only used the 2kg 15.5-inch version, the smaller and lighter (and less powerful) 14-inch and 13.3-inch versions may be more suitable.

On the features front there are some interesting things on board: an 8-megapixel Exmor RS for PC camera, included digitiser stylus, and specs that run up to an Intel i7 processor with 16GB of RAM. It's a potentially powerful beast when maxed out.

However, there's no word on price as yet. Based on the specs and the build we suspect it'll be a lot. There's lots to like - but we want to play with one for a far more extended period of time to see if that lock / release system takes hold in our brains. For now we're half way on board, not all in.