Sony Vaio Tap 20

A 20-inch Windows 8 tablet that fails to live up to the promise

Sony Vaio Tap 20
Massive tablet, anyone?

This whole review has been a big fight for us. We're torn between innovation, which is a tremendous thing, and the fact that this particular innovation just hasn't come off.

The Sony Vaio Tap 20 is an interesting machine - an all-in-one come tablet in an as-yet unique form factor. You can indeed pick it up and use it like a tablet, if you're strong enough to heft its bulk. But you won't, because it's far too big and you'll look silly.

We liked

We have to rate this as an all-in-one PC. It's faster and slicker than the majority of its competitors - the Core i5 processor within is better than the CPUs backing up most of the Sony Vaio Tap 20's ilk - and it has its battery-powered gimmick to pep it up. Full marks for uniqueness, too, even if its category isn't very likely to become a big thing.

We disliked

But its battery is, again, a gimmick. And at £999.99/AU$1,499/US$999.99, even with its power and with its battery, we feel it's a little over-priced against non-all-in-one computers. The compromises made - the non-Full-HD screen, the abysmal webcam, the bafflingly poor mouse - don't help its case, either.

We're sure these things could have been better. It's not the size of the case that's holding it back - the case is huge, so a better webcam would surely have fitted - and these components are at odds with the altogether decent specs otherwise. It's just not what we've come to expect from Sony, which has produced some of the finest PCs we've ever seen, particularly in the laptop space. This feels like an ill-conceived spin-off.

Final verdict

Let's give it its due. The Sony Vaio Tap 20 is as versatile as a non-laptop gets. It has its moderate muscle, it has a hundred different places you could put it in your home, and that screen is - at least if you're thinking tablet - absolutely enormous.

We don't really feel like Sony has successfully chipped out a new foothold in the PC cliff face, but the Sony Vaio Tap 20 is interesting, at least. We have to give it that.