The Sony VAIO VGN-FE was introduced in 2006, as Sony's new mid-range offering. With good performance for a decent price, it's clear that this 15.4" laptop was targeted to people that wanted a good user experience and performance, but didn't need a luxury case or a superb screen.
With measurements of 14.4 x 10,8 x 1 inches and a weight of 2.8kg (6.17lbs), the VGN-FE was average when compared to ther 15" to 16" laptops. Two color choices were offered, white and gray. The latter aging better over time, due to the white plastic having a hang to turn yellow over time (exposure to sun).
The earlier models, being called VGN-FE11, came with Intel Core Duo T2300 for lower-end and mid-range models, while the higher-end models received the Core Duo T2400. Soon after, the first "facelift" model, the VGN-FE21, was introduced. The VGN-FE21 was the first FE to feature the faster NVIDIA GeForce Go 7600. With the 3rd series, the VGN-FE31, Sony replaced the Core Duo T2300 and T2400 with the Core 2 Duo T5500 and T5600 processors. The FE31 also featured a worse screen than the previous models. The last revision made to the VGN-FE Series was the FE41. Here, improvements were made to the screen, though it would not match the one found on the earlier models. In addition to the improvements made to the screen, Sony also offered the Core 2 Duo T7200 on the FE41.
Throughout its life, the VGN-FE was offered with the choice of 1 and 2 GB of memory, the latter being reserved for the full-spec model on the FE31 and mid to high-end on the FE41.
Generally, the VGN-FE series can be split into three categories:
- Entry-level / Basic, these models have the letters B (Basic) or H (Entry) at the end of the model name, e.g VGN-FE11H, VGN-FE21B
- Mid-range, these models have the letter M (Mid-Range), e.g VGN-FE11M
- High-end / Full-spec, these models have the letters S (High-Spec) and Z (Full-Spec)
There are not many diffrences between these designations, since they are mainly used to show diffrences in memory and HDD size, as well as to differentiate between devices with the NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400 and 7600 models.
According to many reviews from around 2006, the VAIO VGN-FE was excelent for mobile image- and video editing, thanks to its decent CPU and GPU, especially the T7200 and Go 7600 models. Sadly the 2GB of memory out of the box put a damper on that performance. Together with this powerful hardware came a DVD-RW disc drive, a plethora of 2,5" SATA HDDs ranging from 80 to 200GB, ExpressCard slot, PC Card, a PCMCIA Type-II, S-Video and VGA out, support for SD, Memory Stick and Memory Stick PRO, MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick Duo and xD-Picture Card. They also have physical volume buttons and two programmable buttons. Bluetooth and webcam could be had as options, though most VGN-FEs where equipped with those. Only the VGN-FE28B did not come with a webcam.
As usual with Sony computers, the VGN-FE came with a plethora of software, such as SonicStage, DVgate Plus, Adobe Premiere, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader, Microsoft Works and Skype. Windows XP Media Center Edition was used as the choice of operating system throughout the VGN-FE11 to -31 models. With the release of Windows Vista, the newer VGN-FE41 was delivered with Windows Vista Home Premium.
The VGN-FE was superseded by the VGN-FZ Series in July 2007.
Processor: Intel Core (2) Duo T5500, T5600, T7200, T2300, T2400
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce Go 7400 / Nvidia GeForce Go 7400
Display: 15,4" 16:10 1280x800 X-BlackII LCD WXGA
RAM: 2x SO-DIMM DDR2 (upgradable to 4GB)
Storage: 2,5" Serial-ATA HDD
OS: Windows XP Media Center Edition / Windows Vista Home Premium
Weight: 2,8 kg
2006 MSRP: 1699€
Daily Usage Today
As with many other early Windows Vista laptops, the VGN-FE is still pretty usable today. When upgraded to 4GB of memory, the VGN-FE is still capable of web browsing and text editing, as well as other casual uses. Playing games from around 2007 is also not a problem thanks to the NVIDIA GPUs. Playing any modern 3D game will not result in a good experience, since the 7000 series GPUs are quite out of date today. Nonetheless, modern 2D games run, though not really well.
Follow our guides to download and install drivers.