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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Summing up the Sony Vaio Duo 11 is difficult, and it will certainly polarise opinions, all of which are perfectly valid.

On the one hand, the Sony Vaio Duo 11 is a £999/AU$1,499/US$1,199.99 tablet that's too heavy and cumbersome to be wielded in the way we see iPads dominating public transport.

People will dismiss it for being too costly, and comments sections of reviews will doubtlessly be filled with those who point out that the 16GB new iPad 3 can be bought for £399/AU$539/US$499 - just over 1/3 of the Sony Vaio Duo 11's mammoth price tag.

Then there's the other argument. The Sony Vaio Duo 11 packs the power and versatility of a laptop, can run Windows programs as well as Windows Store apps, all in the guise of an 11-inch tablet.

We liked

Connectivity is one of the Sony Vaio Duo 11's biggest wins, and we loved being able to plug in USB drives and peripherals to our tablet.

Editing on Photoshop and running our favourite apps was also cause for celebration, as well as being able to sit back and enjoy the latest Windows apps from what's shaping up to be a promising selection.

The Sony Vaio Duo 11 is also a solid piece of engineering, and despite its bulk it certainly turns heads. This in no small part thanks to the gorgeous 1080p screen, and if you need a device to watch a film on after a day working on the road, you have a top contender in the Sony Vaio Duo 11.

We disliked

The cramped keyboard, lack of a proper trackpad and substantial weight combine to make the Sony Vaio Duo 11 a problematic hybrid tablet. While the likes of the Samsung Ativ Smart PC and Asus Vivo Tab can be detached from their docks to halve the weight, with the Sony you're stuck with the bulk.

The poor marriage of usability, cost and power mean that this is still unlikely to be anyone's dedicated PC, and at nearly £999/AU$1,499/US$1,199.99, this is a big complaint.

If you're not worried about legacy x86 apps, then this kind of tablet isn't for you. With Microsoft Surface RT debuting at a reasonable £399 /AU$559/$US499, forking out £999/AU$1,499/US$1,200 for the ability to run Photoshop - which could be introduced as a Windows Store app in the future - will be too much to stomach.

Final verdict

It may not be wafer thin or super-light, but it has a gorgeous Full HD screen, 128GB of storage, full connectivity and is as good for work as it is for play.

That is something the iPad, Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire just can't compete with.

While it's not a perfect laptop-tablet hybrid, and certainly won't have mass appeal, Sony has furthered the Windows 8 cause with an exceptionally powerful device that challenges the perceptions of what tablets can achieve.

If you're a business user who wants on-the-go convenience and power then take the plunge, but for most people the Duo will be a luxury for problems that can be solved with an enormous range of cheaper, more versatile devices.