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The Sony VAIO Tap 11 is another brave venture into the tablet world from Intel and Microsoft, and another one with a few stumbles.
While the Surface Pro 2 is comfortable in its guise as a laptop that happens to look mostly like a tablet, the likes of the Samsung ATIV Smart PC and Lenovo Miix 10 have never managed to balance their ambitions as thin and light machines that are PCs with a full operating system inside.
The technology just isn't there yet, and the VAIO Tap 11 suffers doubly by being a machine that looks premium and is definitely priced at a premium, but isn't one that always feels it or performs like it.
It looks smart from the front, and its detailed 1080p screen only adds to that. It's nicely thin and light, without sacrificing too many ports. The keyboard is pleasant to use, and the included stylus is very useful for getting at the most fiddly desktop elements. The bobbly trackpad is odd, but we ended up liking it.
The detachable keyboard is odd – OK for desks, but poor for working when travelling – and it's a shame that the stylus isn't more comfortable to use for long periods. Despite its lower power Intel processor, it doesn't get great battery life and still runs fairly hot, with fans kicking in too often for our liking – and though there's an appreciable increase in power over Atom-based Intel tablets, it's well off the Surface Pro 2. The build quality is disappointing once you get away from the glass front, too.
Intel is still working on getting the right formula for its lower-powered chips, and that's very much clear in the Sony VAIO Tap 11. The dream of having a full Windows 8 PC in a truly iPad-like package is so close to being achieved here, but remains imperfect.
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