Hybrid hero: Sony's VAIO Duo 11 reviewed
3.9Overall Score
Price (RRP): $1499 starting price Manufacturer: Sony

Computers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and this year, we’ve certainly seen some interesting blends of the computer and tablet, pushing the hybrid to new levels of neat design. Sony’s Duo 11 makes the tablet and notebook into one device too, but it might well be one of the nicest hybrid designs yet.

Features

With Windows 8’s reliance on touch, every manufacturer is trying something a little different, taking some creative control and putting a special spin on what it thinks a touchscreen laptop should be like.

In Sony’s VAIO Duo 11, the tablet and laptop have been merged, and in a way we haven’t really seen before on a laptop before.

Here, the 11.6 inch Full HD (1920×1080) touchscreen sits facing up like it does on any tablet, but when you pull up on the back of the screen, a hinge activates at the back and pushes the screen up, with a stand holding it place at an angle against the keyboard underneath. It’s a hybrid laptop that you can use as either a tablet or a laptop in pretty much any place, and we’re keen to see it in action.

So what makes it tick?

In this machine, Sony has thrown in an Intel Core i5 processor clocked at 1.7GHz, 4GB RAM, Intel HD 4000 graphics, and a 128GB solid-state drive for your files. Windows 8 is the operating system of choice, and it’s running in 64-bit mode here.

Sony has left plenty of ports for you to use and add things, including two USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI, a single VGA, a combination memory card slot capable of reading both Sony’s own MemoryStick Duo format and the more popular SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, 3.5mm headset jack, and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

With that last one, you can of course use wired networking, but there’s some wireless goodness in there too, with 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and support for Near-Field Communication (NFC).

The keyboard also comes with a tiny optical trackpad embedded in the centre, with three clickable buttons underneath the spacebar on the keyboard.

A two megapixel webcam capable of Full HD video sits above the screen.

A double-sided stylus has been included in the package too, adding to the input devices, so you can draw things using a fine-tipped pen at the front or use the flat-backed end of the stylus as an on-screen mouse.