Science & Tech
First look: Sony VAIO Duo 11 review
With the release of Windows 8, gadget makers are upping their game and creating new breeds of devices that take full advantage of the next-generation operating system. The Sony VAIO Duo 11 is one of these devices. Looking like a hybrid between an ultra-thin notebook computer and a tablet, the Duo 11 is an exciting piece of technology with lots of features to entice all sorts of users, from the on-the-go social media junkie to the tech-obsessed geek with a million projects going on.
A New Breed of PC
At first glance, the Sony VAIO Duo 11 looks like a tablet with a keyboard attachment. In fact, it's a full PC with a touchscreen and a slide-out keyboard. Known as a "slider PC", the Duo 11 has an 11.6" 1080p screen, making it around the size of a netbook or tablet but with much more power. Inside the device are typical ultrabook specs, including a 1.7GHz Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB RAM, and a 128GB solid state drive. It also has a front-facing and rear-facing camera, both 2.4 megapixels. Port-wise, it has 2 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI-out, VGA, an Ethernet port, a memory card slot, and a headphone jack. The screen can be used alone as a tablet, or can be slid out and propped up to reveal a backlit keyboard when used on a flat surface. While the keyboard does not have a touchpad, it does have a small optical pointing nub in between the G and H keys, with three mouse buttons under the spacebar. Sony also includes a stylus to be used with the touch screen.
Does It Have the Edge?
Most Windows 8 devices coming out are tablets with keyboard docks, and this is where the Sony VAIO Duo 11 sets itself apart. Rather than having a detachable keyboard, the Duo 11 has one built-in. This makes it more portable than, say, an iPad with a separate keyboard that needs to be connected before using. One possible downside of this, though, is that the screen can only sit at one angle when the keyboard is in use due to the hinge mechanism supporting it. Still, it is one of only a few slider PCs on the market, and its competition is up against a pretty powerful device.
Who Will Use the Duo 11?
The Sony VAIO Duo 11 is ideal for those who want the portability and functionality of a tablet with the power of a laptop. The touch screen interface is responsive and slick, while the desktop interface allows the user to operate any program, from web browsers and PC games to Photoshop and video editing applications. The touch screen's native 1920x1080 resolution is crisp and displays everything from photos to movies to web pages brilliantly, though it's particularly great for creative types who work with graphics and video. Average use will drain the Duo 11's battery in around 4 hours, but Sony is offering an optional slice battery that will double the run time of the device, so it still looks like a great option for those who are on the go a lot.
The Sony VAIO Duo 11 will be released on October 26, with preordering available now. Windows 8 will also be released on October 26. The Duo 11 will start at $1,099.99, with customizable specs including more RAM, an i5 processor, and a larger hard drive adding to the price.