Gadget, Sony

Sony Vaio Duo 11 in the Flesh and First Impression


The Sony Vaio Duo 11 was first announced early October and together with Windows 8, it officially went on sale last October 26. The Sony Vaio Duo 11 is a Hybrid ultrabook that has (what Sony is calling) the “Surf Slider™ design” – where you can switch from a slate form factor to keyboard mode without twisting or rotating the screen.

The Sony Vaio Duo 11 is available in 2 variants, there the core i5 model, running Windows 8 64 bit, with 4G of RAM, 128GB SSD and a battery life up to 4.5 hours; then there’s the higher-end model of the Vaio Duo 11, it’s by Intel’s core i7 processor, Windows 8 64 bit, 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD and a slightly shorter battery life that’s up to 4 hours. Both model uses 11.6″ LED backlight OptiContrast Panel, full HD capacitive touchscreen with 1920×1080 screen resolution, Intel HD Graphics 4000 and the same number of ports. The Duo 11 also has a Digitizer stylus, so that you can use it to take notes while on Tablet mode.

My 1st Impression

Short answer
When on Slate mode you can fully take advantage of the multi-touch panel and the modern UI a.k.a. “Metro” UI of Windows 8 and great for consuming content like accessing the web, watching movies and playing games, while on the keyboard mode, the Duo 11 switches from consuming to a power house productivity tool, since the fully functional chick-let QWERTY keyboard will actually turn the Duo 11 into a laptop but still be able to use the touch screen.

Long answer
The unit that I was using was the i5 model and I was able to play it for more 30 minutes and it’s currently on display Extra‘s showroom in Granada Mall in Riyadh and I would have shot a video but the sales person told to just take all the pictures that I need.

We all know that Windows 8 was develop re-revolutionize the PC industry, and to take advantage of the touch capability of the device. When on tablet mode using the modern UI, the 11.6″ OptiContrast touch Panel of the Vaio Duo 11 and Windows 8 are match made in heaven, the responsiveness of Tiles just slides with your finger as if they’re floating on water and using the modern UI a.k.a. “Metro UI” on a touch screen feels a bit different than when I downloaded Windows on my 3 year old Vaio and when I said “Different” I meant it in a good way, since most Android tablets more often than not always tries to mimic the feel and look of the iPad.

The problem that I have is when I switch from the modern UI to Desktop mode (still on Slate form factor). The application tend to be unresponsive when I try to launch then in this manner, the 11.6″ display at 1920×1080 screen resolution did not help specially when you want to move, resize or minimize a window, you have to have the accuracy of a sharpshooter just to be able to resize a window. The on screen keyboard was better than I expected and better than the iPad’s on screen keyboard.

Hardware and Design
Like what I mentioned above, when you’re on the keyboard mode, the Vaio Duo 11 will function just like your regular notebook probably even better, it doesn’t have a trackpad but instead Sony uses an optical pointer. Here’s where the Vaio duo 11 failed, in the “design”; I like the concept and the way Sony designed the screen to just slide up and down to switch from slate to keyboard mode but the problem is that you cannot adjust the screen to another angle, it’s just fixed at 130 degree angle; too heavy and thick for a tablet but its a light and thin notebook (I was spoiled by Apple and Google on this one); you can probably use your own keyboard and mouse, since it has two USB 3.0 ports; Up to 4.5 hours of battery life, of course this will vary depending on your usage; transition from landscape to portrait is not animated, it will fade out then fade in for half a second. You can checkout the full specs below.

Sony VAIO Duo 11 specs:

  • 11.6″ LED backlight OptiContrast Panel, full HD capacitive touchscreen with 1920×1080 screen resolution
  • Intel Core i5-3317U Processor 1.7 GHz and up to 2.60 GHz Turbo Boost
  • Windows 8 64-bit
  • 4GB RAM
  • 128GB SSD
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • WLAN 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • VGA and HDMI ports
  • Memory Stick Duo / SD memory card combined slot
  • stereo speakers
  • Full HD (2.07MP) web cameras (front and back)
  • NFC, GPS, Accelerometer, Gyro, Digital Compass
  • Dimension: 12.5 x 7.8 x 0.75 inches
  • Weight: 1.3kg (with standard battery)
  • VGP-BPS31 Lithium-ion battery (up to 4.5 hours)

Now for the kicker….
Specs wise the Sony Duo 11 is on helluva tablet, not so much if you think of it as a notebook, the one fixed angle screen is also something to think about and of course the price. The Sony Vaio Duo 11 is now available at every Extra Store in the Kingdom with a price tag of SAR 5,500 or around Php 60,000.00, it’s cheaper than the one being sold in the Philippines but for more than 5k SAR, it’s a bit pricey for a 11″ laptop/tablet and you have to shellout more Riyals if you want the high-end core i7/Windows 8 Pro model.

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