Hands on: Sony Vaio Tap 21 review

Sony goes big with its latest tablet

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Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1920 x 1080
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

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  • Brilliant display
  • It's lighter than before


  • It's huge

If you are looking for portability, then this isn't the device for you. The Sony Vaio Tap 21 tablet is for those who like things big. It may be classed as a tablet but this is essentially an all-in-one PC system that can be laid flat and use as a Surface-esque table computer.

This isn't the first time that Sony has moved into this computing space. Last year it brought the Vaio Tap 20, but at IFA 2013 it has added an inch and tinkered a touch with the specs.

For a start, the Sony Vaio Tap 21 may have gained an inch on its display but it has shed some pounds – it is now 50% lighter than its predecessor at 3.6kg.

This by no way means that you will be lugging the tablet on to the train to entertain you on your commute but it does look a lot slicker when upright.

Sony Tap 21

The screen resolution has been upped, too. Under the darkness of IFA's show floor – not great for taking photos but IFA is all about the mood lighting – the 1920 x 1080 screen shone bright. This new and improved resolution means it is an ideal device to watch movies on.

The stand on the back of the Tap Vaio 21 now seems easier to use, which means it is a little quicker to change the machine from a traditional all-in-one PC screen to a flat table tablet on which you can play games. We had a go at an air hockey sim and it seemed pretty impressive.

Sony Tap 21

As for the big screen, it was certainly responsive. Sony is bundling a whole host of apps that work with its 10-point touch technology, so you should be able to get a lot of use out of the touchscreen when upright.

Like we have with most touch PCs, though, when there is a Bluetooth keyboard attached, we still get a little confused about whether to prod the screen or touch a key.

This isn't Sony's fault but it may mean some of the touch functionality will be lost when you use it in its non-tablet guise.

Sony Tap 21

As well as the touchscreen apps, Sony is also pre-installing Movie Studio Platinum, Acid Music Studio, Sound Forge Audio Studio software into the Vaio Tap 21. Considering these all add up to around $200 that's an impressive haul.

Sony Tap 21

We're not sure it is enough though to get over the fact that the Sony Vaio Tap 21 feels a little like a gimmick.

It's certainly a powerful machine, that makes use of a Core i7 Haswell chip, but you will need some convincing to choose the Tap 21 over a more traditional all-in-one setup.

Early verdict

Sony has definitely hit on to an interesting thing with the Sony Tap 21 but we're not convinced by its size.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.

Tech Specs

Product TypeAll-in-One Computer
Green CompliantYes
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerNVIDIA
Graphics Controller ModelGeForce 310M
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Total Hard Drive Capacity500 GB
Product FamilyVAIO J
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor Modeli3-350M
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameSony
Form FactorDesktop
Processor Speed2.26 GHz
Processor TypeCore i3
Screen Size54.6 cm (21.5")
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Standard Memory4 GB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR
Memory Card ReaderYes
64-bit ProcessingYes
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 512 MB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Number of Processors Installed1
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports5
Memory StandardDDR3-1066/PC3-8500
Height398 mm
Width525 mm
Depth185 mm
Screen ModeFull HD
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesJ
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelVPCJ11M1E/B
Product NameVAIO VPCJ11M1E/B Desktop Computer
Product LineVAIO
Controller TypeSerial ATA
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberVPCJ11M1E/B.CEK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information

The VAIO J Series All-in-One touchscreen PC adds a fun twist to everyday computing. Just touch its massive 21.5" Full HD touchscreen to access the internet, social networks, movies and more. Multi-touch control lets you scroll, zoom and rotate your photos by flicking, pinching and tapping objects directly on the screen.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Package Contents
  • VAIO VPCJ11M1E/B Desktop Computer
  • Mouse
  • Keyboard
Weight (Approximate)9.80 kg