Sony Vaio Tap 11 Hands-on

Sony Vaio Tap 11 Hands-on
The sleek and shiny Xperia Z1 wasn't the only device that Sony managed to attract our attention with. At IFA 2013, we also had the chance to give the new Sony Vaio Tap 11 a quick try. For those who've missed the news, that's the "world's thinnest Windows 8 tablet PC" powered by an Intel Core processor. Sony has managed to trim down its waistline to just 9.9 millimeters, which is actually quite good considering the hardware inside this one. But more on that later. Let's first say a few words about the way the device looks and feels. 


Design


Sony Vaio Tap 11
Sony Vaio Tap 11

Sony Vaio Tap 11

While the Sony Vaio Tap 11 is pretty far from being the thinnest or lightest tablet ever, it definitely beats its Windows 8 counterparts in these two categories. Unlike many Core-based Windows tablets that we've tried over the past months, it really feels light, or at least light enough to be comfortably held single-handedly for more than a couple of minutes. And in case your wrist gets tired eventually, there's always the option to extend the tablet's kickstand and place it on a flat surface – a neat feature found on just a handful of tablets today. With a thickness of less than a centimeter, the Vaio Tap 11 shouldn't take up much space in your messenger bag, although its size and weight go up if you have its wireless keyboard magnetically attached to it.

Speaking of which, the Tap 11's physical keyboard feels quite okay and the keys are laid out well enough for typing at a decent speed. The keys have good trave considering how slim the keyboard actually is. A touchpad of average size is present as well. When the device isn't in use, the keyboard can be attached to the tablet and serve as a protective cover while its internal battery charges, sucking power straight from the tablet's cell. However, the battery inside the keyboard isn't made to provide the tablet with extra juice.

The Sony Vaio Tap 11 unit on display felt less like a retail model and more like a prototype so we can't yet comment on its build quality. The build material of choice is white or black matte plastic – it doesn't feel premium, but it isn't bad either. As a whole, the device follows Sony's OmniBalance design principles. Even the power and volume keys look a lot like the ones on Sony's recent smartphones.

You get an HDMI-out and USB 3.0 ports with the Sony Vaio Tap 11, along with a microSD card slot. These are protected by removable covers, which is great for keeping the profile of the device looking sleek. 

Along with the Vaio Tap 11, Sony is bundling a pressure-sensitive stylus, which can be used for not only occasional doodling or note-taking, but also for professional photo editing. Drawing and photo-manipulation apps are included out of the box, but the accessory should work with other commercial software products as well.

Display


The Sony Vaio Tap 11 has an 11.6-inch display with a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels (1080p). It looks quite nice, actually – not the most detailed we've ever had the chance to see, but hey, that's still a decent amount pixels for a panel of this size. Sony's Triluminos technology is present as well and it shows. Colors on the screen are represented with great fidelity and the contrast levels are more than satisfactory. 

Interface


Sony Vaio Tap 11
Sony Vaio Tap 11

Sony Vaio Tap 11

We have Windows 8 running on the Sony Vaio Tap 11 and it doesn't feel any different from what you'd get on another tablet running the OS. Upon boot-up you're greeted by the Start Screen with its live tiles serving as shortcuts to apps, all the while displaying various bits of information. The classic desktop is also available at the tap of a button. Since this is Windows 8 and not its trimmed down version known as Windows RT, the legacy software you have already should work just fine on the Sony Vaio Tap 11.

Processor and memory


As we mentioned above, the Sony Vaio Tap 11 has a Core processor under the hood. It is a last-gen Intel Core processor, to be more specific, so it is going to be as powerful and power-efficient as Core processors can get. The demo unit we checked out had a Core i5 inside it, along with 4GB of RAM, but speedier and more budget-friendly configurations will be available as well. Storage-wise, an SSD of up to 512GB may be outfitted on the Tap 11. During our quick testing of the device we did not notice even the slightest hint of lag, which is great news.

Camera


From the looks of it, the main camera on the Sony Vaio Tap 11 might be actually usable. It offers 8 megapixels of resolution and the presence of an Exmor RS sensor means it should take at least okay-looking low-light photos. There is no flash, however. Of course, there's a front-facing camera as well, which makes video chats with this device possible.

Expectations


Clearly, the selling point of the Sony Vaio Tap 11 is that it is a slim, yet powerful Windows 8 tablet. It looks great, it doesn't take much space, its keyboard is relatively comfortable to work with, and you get a handy dandy stylus for drawing moustaches on people in photos. Plus, who can resist that kickstand? But the weak link in the chain might turn out to be the device's battery life. Sony is promising six hours of usage on a single charge – a figure that will probably vary depending on what configuration has been picked and how much the tablet is being pushed. Of course, a six-hour battery life isn't terrible, but it is below what similarly powered Windows 8 tablets may be able to provide. Nevertheless, the Vaio Tap 11 is shaping up as a pretty neat Windows 8 tablet and something we'd surely like to spend more one-on-one time with. 


Related phones

Vaio Tap 11
  • Display 11.6" 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP
  • Processor Intel Core i3, Dual-core, 1500 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 3800 mAh

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9 Comments

1. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

I just can see quality there....just wow

2. SonyPS4

Posts: 347; Member since: May 21, 2013

Sony's product always come out with simple and elegant design

3. shikroi

Posts: 187; Member since: Sep 24, 2012

Wow Sony. Now that Nokia is going away from the mobile world I may just return to my roots. After all everything I own aside from my smartphone, is a Sony product. This is nicely speced and very elegant.

4. RoyalPayne

Posts: 458; Member since: Aug 07, 2013

Awesome tab! Waiting to see what surface pro 2 brings too.

5. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Good stuff. How does it feel in comparison to the minipad? My mom-in-law borrowed a friend's to try and we both found it of awkward proportions and weight/balance. It was too heavy after just a couple minutes. And I though my old Viewsonic gTablet was unwieldy!

6. TechBizJP08

Posts: 495; Member since: Mar 25, 2013

It is a last-gen Intel Core-- LOL

8. RoyalPayne

Posts: 458; Member since: Aug 07, 2013

That is an error on reporters part. It'll come with Core i7-4610Y and Core i5-4210Y

7. Antonyjoseph

Posts: 217; Member since: Apr 06, 2013

Lovely design. Hope thay bring out one with the Intel Haswell. Definitely will be lighter and with better battery life.

11. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

looks great, my asus atom runs 8.1 with ease, I can only imagine this guy or the pro 2.

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