Stride past the Sony Vaio Tap 20's collection of initial disappointments - and its £999.99/AU$1,499/US$999.99 price, for which you could pick up both an RT tablet and a decent Ultrabook, or two slightly-lesser all-in-ones - and you'll find a competent machine indeed, particularly among its direct rivals.

It musters 720p video without the slightest grumble - though, of course, it can't do 1080p at full res due to its underspecified screen.

It runs Windows 8 without breaking a sweat, as well it should.

Sony Vaio Tap 20 review

The Sony Vaio Tap 20 has swift connectivity thanks to its USB 3.0 ports, and seems to have a rather good wireless range to boot. Wherever you put it to work, the Sony Vaio Tap 20 performs just fine.

While it's up to most tasks, that doesn't mean it's a machine you'll actually want to use. Some of Windows 8's gestures feel a bit strange on such a large panel - to close an app you'll be sweeping your arm down as if performing elaborate semaphore - but it is at least helped by the fact that there's no physical bezel.

There even proper status lights, an essential feature that is becoming increasingly rare.

Sony Vaio Tap 20 review

Real world use out of the way, let's look at the theory. Our benchmark tests weren't especially promising, if we're honest.

The Intel Core i5 3317U and Intel HD Graphics combo work well in parallel, and perform perfectly well in context, but a Cinebench multi-CPU score of 9214 and 3DMark 06 result of 5634 don't line up especially well against machines of a comparable cost.

We keep turning around and coming back to that price, but it's an important point. £999.99/AU$1,499/US$999.99 is edging into premium gaming laptop territory. It's a specced out desktop price. It's not a mediocre all-in-one price.

Sony Vaio Tap 20 review

The battery fared worst of all, mustering a mere 1hour 12 minutes under our intense test. You might squeeze out a little more, but the portable portion of the Sony Vaio Tap 20 is a temporary prospect at best.

We're not exactly surprised - Sony readily admits that you won't get much life out of it - but it limits the extra use you're going to be able to get out of the Sony Vaio Tap 20's gimmick.

And why does the Sony Vaio Tap 20 exist, if not for that tablet-like gimmick?