Hardware investigate

Sony unveils VAIO Duo 11 Windows 8 ultrabook in Singapore

Get details about the Sony VAIO Duo 11 Windows 8 hybrid laptop's specs, availability, and pricing. Also find out Paul Mah's first impressions of the device.
Sony unveiled the VAIO Duo 11 hybrid laptop in Singapore on October 11, 2012. The Duo 11 hybrid (Figure A) is an ultrabook with a sliding 11.6-inch LCD display (Figure B) that switches the device between slate and keyboard mode. Its full-HD (1920x1080) touch sensitive screen allows for touch input or use of the digitizer stylus that comes with the package. Figure A

The Sony VAIO Duo 11 Hybrid (Photo by Paul Mah for TechRepublic)
Figure B

The Surf Slider mechanism that makes the sliding possible. (Photo by Paul Mah for TechRepublic)

Specifications, availability, and pricing

Here's a quick roundup of the VAIO Duo 11's specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-3517U or Intel Core i5-3317U
  • Operating system: Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • Memory: 4 GB or 8 GB DDR3L 1600MHz SDRAM
  • Drive: 128 GB or 256 GB SSD
  • Screen: 11.6-inch capacitive touchscreen @ 1920x1080
  • Dimensions: 320 x 17.85 x 199mm
  • Weight: 1.3kg
  • Ports: HDMI, VGA, Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB 3.0, Headphones port
  • Memory expansion: Combo Memory Stick Duo/SD Memory card slot
  • Other: Bluetooth 4.0, WLAN 802.11a/b/g/n, Multiple sensors: NFC, GPS, Accelerometer, Gyro, Digital Compass, backlit keyboard

Sony says the device has an estimated battery life of 4.5 hours, which is doubled with the included battery pack. Based on my experiences with claimed battery hours and actual usage times from multiple Sony laptops that I've owned, you can expect to get something similar for Web browsing tasks with the backlight set to about 50%.

A Sony representative told me the Duo 11 hybrid has a quick charge mode that is capable of delivering 60 minutes of runtime in just 10 minutes of charging, or charging it to the 80% mark in 55 minutes. A full charge takes 135 minutes.

According to Sony, the VAIO Duo 11 will be available beginning in November. The model with the Intel Core i5-3317U will sell for SG$1,999, and the model with the Core i7-3517U will sell for SG$2,699.

Hands-on

It impresses me how Sony incorporated every peripheral port (Figure C) that is important to IT departments and business users -- this ranges from Gigabit Ethernet, VGA for legacy projectors, and the two USB 3.0 ports. Sony also incorporated premium features such as a full-HD touch screen, a backlit keyboard, and a rich suite of sensors. On paper, the Duo 11 Hybrid is a very compelling machine. Figure C

Peripheral ports such as VGA port and combo Memory Stick Duo/SD Card slot remains fully accessible in tablet mode. (Photo by Paul Mah for TechRepublic)

I got some hands-on time with the Duo 11, and I found the machine's performance to be snappy. The hardware is very well-built, and I have no concerns that the excellent hinge design could stand the rigors of heavy use and abuse when you're on the road.

As a fast touch typist, I found the smaller-than-usual keyboard to be cramped and its tactile feedback shallow. Some may argue that the Duo's 11.6-inch form factor necessitates a scaled-down keyboard, but Apple has successfully incorporated a full-size keyboard on its 11-inch MacBook Air for years. The Duo 11 Hybrid also felt rather heavy and ungainly when used in tablet mode. This is probably not a problem when you're using the device at a desk, though it will probably deter from using it when you're in transit, such as while riding the subway.

Bottom line

While the Sony VAIO Duo 11 Hybrid has impressive specifications and is highly designed, it has an inferior keyboard that is not optimal for productivity work. In addition, mobile workers may be deterred by its underwhelming battery life and unwieldy heft compared to devices such as an iPad or an Android tablet.

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

6 comments
AdClout
AdClout

Hi, I have read your post about Sony Vaio.Amazing post and also good discount.I really like your post about sony vaio. So I want to ask that is Sony Vaio For Sale on that payment.

highlander718
highlander718

between tablets and regular laptops. The keyboard size and weight, I think are to be judged by everyone's personal preferences. The price seems to bee just a bit on the high end, but might worth it for somebody who needs exactly this.... not sure how large that niche is though ...

Orld
Orld

Good luck selling that Sony...

jackmyo
jackmyo

I think i rather buy normal ultra thin laptop and microsoft surface instead of buying this!

grayknight
grayknight

So I can understand the price, somewhat. Sony generally has higher prices. I like everything included and that it is a powerful machine. You can't compare this to iPad or Android tablets as this isn't the same type of device. The Microsoft Surface is more comparable to the iPad and Android tablets.

mckinnej
mckinnej

Wow! This makes the rest of the ultrabooks look cheap. Are the keys 24k gold?