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Published On: Thu, Feb 14th, 2013
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Sony Vaio Duo 11 – Fine specs of an ultrabook but clunky looking gadget

Sony Vaio Duo 11 is Sony’s best-of-both-worlds product. It is touch screen tablet with full HD notebook PC. However, Sony has messed it up here.

The 11.6 inches screen has full HD resolution and this display supports touch screen resolution. You can use it has tablet as well courtesy of Sony Surf Slider design – you can lift this screen and lift it for accessing the keyboard. This is the best part of the notebook but the design is a bit disappointing.

Rest of this Sony Vaio Duo 11, apart from the design problems, are good – you get good components, performance, Windows 8 OS, and its usability too is good for tablet/laptop approach. However, there are a lot of convertible tablet/laptop products in the market right now and hence; this one doesn’t have any exclusivity.

Design

We showed the Sony Vaio Duo 11 to a lot of people in our office and not one was impressed. The idea of tablet plus laptop is very impressive but the makeshift keyboard ruins the idea.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 Price

When used as tablet, this screen is very responsive and nice. It is a bit too big for holding in the hands comfortably. Hence, it’s best to use it on table or lap. This isn’t a deal breaker and people who want to use a tablet while walking around should try it first before buying.

Big disappointing part is when you slide this display back. If you give this device to someone who hasn’t handled it before, then it is likely that they will never know how to open it. Also, opening it isn’t easy. You have to pick the display from back but there isn’t anything for pulling up. If you don’t pay attention then it is likely that you might try to pick up from wrong side and stress the hinges.

When the display of Sony Vaio Duo 11 is up, the device looks like Apple iPad with wide screen display. The keyboard too is similar to the wireless iPad keyboards that are available in the market. The keys are relatively small and it isn’t comfortable for long hours of typing. Fortunately, there is good backlighting.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 review says that it doesn’t have any touchpad but you do get small touch sensitive nub between H and G buttons. On the bottom, there are 3 mouse buttons below spacebar. Some people might not complain about the lack of touchpad since there is touchscreen support.

I was concerned about the mechanism of screen support. On the sides, there are 2 ribbon cables which come up from keyboard section and go towards the screen. The springs and hinges inside back plastic panel are all visible and it looks unfinished. There isn’t any screen adjustment angle and this makes sense as keyboard part has to handle the display when it is upright. Due to this, if the angle isn’t good when you are seated, then there is no way to make things right.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 Battery  Sony Vaio Duo 11 Features

Price

Sony Vaio Duo 11 price is $1,199. That was the cost of my review model. The price can go up to $1,499 depending on the components inside.

Digitizer stylus

Sony Vaio Duo 11 comes with digitizer stylus and you can use it instead of nub for drawing and writing on screen with apps. One problem with using this stylus is that you need to pick it up and then put it down when not in use. There isn’t any place on the laptop’s body to hook this stylus.

Display

Display of the Sony Vaio Duo 11 supports touchscreen and it has resolution of 1,920×1,080 pixels. This is IPS technology and you will get superior color consistency and viewing angles. A lot of ultrabooks I have tested before have lower 1,366×768 pixels resolution and it has inverted or washed out colors while viewing off angles.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 Laptop

Sony Vaio Duo 11 also has edge to edge glass and you can swipe from edge of this display in different applications. The orientation automatically changes depending on you hold it. This can be irritating for some people as it constantly pops different views.

Controls

Below front edge, there are the volume buttons, Assist button (for launching Vaio Care), service to fix and diagnose problems, and orientation lock. Due to its placement, you need to tip this device for using it. Also, they are placed very flush with the body and hence it is difficult to tell them by feel.

Also underneath/back, there are 2 smaller tinny sounding speakers, and one more 2.4 megapixels Webcam. Video quality looks good but in low light conditions, things get noisy and soft.

Connectivity

Just like standard laptop, the connections and ports are left scattered on sides – HDMI and USB on right, card reader and VGA on left. Back side has Ethernet and power port.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 Memory

It is the same assortment that you’d get on the other ultrabooks – there are 2 USB 3.0 jacks as well and one of them can be used for charging gadgets when the Vaio Duo 11 is sleeping. NFC capabilities are available onboard.

Battery life

Sony Vaio Duo 11 doesn’t have a really big battery life and this is disappointing from a laptop that is so travel friendly. This device will be bought by people who want a tablet first and need a full fledged keyboard for occasional typing. However, the battery life is disappointing even by standards of ultrabook.

I ran my standard battery tests and got four hours and 46 minutes of battery life. 11.6 inches Apple MacBook Air is better by one and half hour. IPS full HD touch screen doesn’t give you long battery life but good power management will give you around five hours of work time.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 Review

Performance

The biggest flaw on the Sony Vaio Duo 11 is the keyboard which isn’t really good in typing for long hours. Apart from, there is plenty of power inside for entertainment and work. In spite of using several applications, this laptop didn’t get too slow and didn’t give an lagging problems either. It also starts really fast, takes less than eleven seconds for starting up fully.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 review says that it has Intel HD 4000 GPU inside which isn’t good for playing mainstream games but casual gaming runs fine. I played some games and they all did well. This laptop was also better than MacBook Air in Photoshop test.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 Keyboard

Support

Sony Vaio Duo 11 comes with one year standard warranty and there is also 24-7 toll free phone support. There is also support offered over e-mail and online Website.

Conclusion

Sony Vaio Duo 11 is a tablet plus laptop having Windows 8 OS inside and I would recommend it to you if you are fine with its size and weight. But if you are going to type for a long time, then you should look elsewhere. The design is a drawback but if you are willing to accept its limitations, then go ahead.

Specs

  • 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5 3317 U processor
  • 6 GB, 1,333 MHz DDR3 RAM
  • 128 GB SSD
  • Intel HM 76 Express chipset
  • Intel HD 4000 GPU
  • Windows 8 (64-bit) OS
  • 3.5 pounds weight with adapter

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