A Week With: Sony Vaio Duo 11 - a hybrid identity crisis

It's either an overly bulky tablet or a fiddly laptop. Neither is ideal

What is it?

The latest in a swath of new hybrid tablet-laptop Ultrabooks fitted with Windows 8, a high-resolution touchscreen and a powerful Intel Core processor.

This split personality means it can sit flat as a tablet or slot into an upright position to reveal a laptop-style keyboard. And because it runs on Windows 8 you can either run it in tablet mode and have all your apps or opt for the standard Windows interface in laptop mode.

The entry-level model gets an Intel Core i3 processor, a 128GB hard drive and 4GB of memory but upgrade those and opt for a Core i7 processor fitted to my lightning-fast test model and you'll need to part with nearly £1,500 (that's MacBook Pro price territory). That's serious cash even with the luxury of a laptop-and-tablet combo at your fingertips. Thankfully, though, and like most Sony products, it's stylish to look at, and all models boast a 1,920x1,080-pixel screen. It's well connected, too, with VGA and HDMI ports if you want to hook it up to a bigger screen at home, plus two USBs and a multicard reader.

Does it work?

First impressions aren't good. The flip mechanism doesn't feel completely well put-together and sure enough it soon starts to come loose. Paradoxically it can be a real pain to "open" into laptop mode without setting it down and using both hands firmly. When you do manage finally to prise it open, you'll reveal a keyboard that's too small for any serious work and a naff BlackBerry-style pointer instead of a proper trackpad. There's a retro stylus to compensate for this, but for some unfathomable reason, there's no place to store it. A replacement will set you back £49 but I wouldn't bother if you misplace it. It really isn't very useful for anything other than the Fresh Paint drawing and painting app.

Another major gripe is that it feels quite heavy when resting on your lap or being held up as a tablet. Watching a film in bed, for example – surely a key tablet function – is a tiring experience. In fairness it works well as a tablet once you've got over its physical defects and the Core i7 processor is more than powerful enough to watch films while running a number of apps and programs in the background. The Windows 8 app store is still a little sparse and many of the client apps – such as Facebook and Twitter – are rather slow, but this will presumably improve over time.

Is it worth the money?

No. Not at all. It's a neat idea and I wanted to like this hybrid tablet-laptop combo but I just can't see whom it works for. It's an overly bulky tablet or a fiddly laptop. Neither is ideal. What's more, doesn't the current range of powerful tablets with attachable keyboards, such as the Microsoft Surface, make all of this sliding nonsense redundant?

Price: £1,101.01
Operating system: Windows 8
Processor: 1.9GHz Intel Core i7
Memory: 8GB 1,600MHz SDRAM
Hard drive: 128GB SSD
Screen: 11.6in touchscreen/1,920x1,080 pixels

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Support and Development Engineer

    £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The leading provider of Employee Managem...

    Recruitment Genius: Creative Designer

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Kent based design consulta...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Gazetteer Consultant

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking to work for an ...

    Recruitment Genius: Regional Support Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This role's responsibility also include operat...

    Day In a Page

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'