Sony Vaio Duo 11 review

Sliding tablet-laptop hybrid with Windows 8

Sony Vaio Duo 11
Sony - looking to bring the slider back into fashion

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If the Sony Vaio Duo 11 is fighting for its place as your main PC, performance will be a key consideration. At more than double the price of the new iPad or Microsoft Surface RT, we'd expect the Duo 11 to pack serious punch.

And we're pleased to say that the Sony Vaio Duo 11 is a heavyweight trapped inside a welterweight's body.

The Intel Core i7 processor racked up a score of 9,579 in our Cinebench 11 tests, which is staggering for an 11.6-inch tablet, ranking it among the most powerful laptops we've seen.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 review

To put that in context, the HP Envy Spectre 14 Ultrabook managed just 7,336 on the same test under the same conditions, which shows that despite its form factor, the Sony Vaio Duo 11 offers Ultrabook power.

Thanks to the x86 Intel Core processor at the heart of this hybrid tablet the Sony Vaio Duo 11 can run Photoshop, Word and any PC app in all their glory. This puts it in a different league to iOS and Android tablets, which are limited to their own app store.

However, the extra power doesn't do the battery life any favours, and the Duo 11 hit the canvas after 2.5 hours of HD video playback.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 review

That's less than most laptops, and way behind mainstream tablets - a black mark against the Sony's portable credentials.

As you might expect from all of the power onboard, HD video played seamlessly without stuttering or stopping, which is the least you should expect from a PC priced at £999/AU$1,499/US$1,199.99.

Unlike the iPad and Android tablets, using Windows means it plays nicely with every kind of file format, meaning you can watch movies in any manner you please, and you also get a valuable extra inch of real estate to play with.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 review

If you are sitting back to enjoy a movie, however, you will need to invest in a decent pair of headphones. The built-in speakers are woeful, creating a tinny din that is barely audible.

Like many Windows tablets, the Sony Vaio Duo 11 ships with its own stylus, which can be used to enter text free-hand and be more creative with apps. In time we expect there to be more apps that support pen interaction, but it worked a charm with OneNote MX on the Windows Store.

The pen has a reassuring weight and two function buttons that enable you to cut out elements from a page and paste them into notes, before annotating and scribbling all over them.

Sony Vaio Duo 11 review

The accuracy is excellent, and Windows 8 does a great job of turning even the most illegible handwriting into editable text.

If you're serious about using a stylus, then the Samsung Ativ Smart PC with its excellent S-Pen technology is worth a look first, having borrowed a bucket load of tech from the fabulous Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

However, the Sony Vaio Duo 11 is a close second place.

Cinebench: 9,579
3D Mark: 3,684
Battery life: 163 minutes

Sony Vaio Duo 11 review