We don't know what Microsoft will be doing with the design of the Surface 2, but it better be prepared to beat Sony at its own game. Almost as thin as an iPad, the lightweight Vaio Tap 11 features a 4th generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, 4 GB of RAM, plus your choice of SSDs up to 512 GB of capacity. It might not be a fanless design yet, as the 4.5 watt Haswells aren't in consumer devices yet, but at sub-10mm thickness and less than two pounds of weight, the Vaio Tap 11 is still a remarkable engineering achievement.
The black or white chassis actually reminds of the Z Ultra phablet or the Tablet Z, though this one sports a 1080x1920 pixels 11.6" display with Triluminous technology. You also get a full USB 3.0 port, microSD slot and microHDMI port for TV hookup. Speaking of, when you need to watch movies on the tablet, there is built-in stand on the back, which can be adjusted at different angles - the tablet-in-bed puzzle solved.
Sony solved the tablet-for-work conundrum, too, by simply providing a detachable keyboard towards the tablet, which serves as cover when attached to the screen with magnets, and juices up from the slate itself in the process. It is aluminum-clad, with chiclet keys and trackpad, so you can get some serious work done when you detach it from the tablet. Sony has also provided a stylus, with accompanying apps for taking notes, drawing and annotations.
The company touts this Vaio Tap 11 as the "world's thinnest Windows 8 tablet," and with every right, showing us that you can have your slim tablet cake, and eat it too, with full Win 8 and Intel Core power at your disposal. With such a thin chassis, something had to give, and here it is the battery capacity, with Sony reps citing up to six hours of battery life, which is rather low for the Haswell standards.
Pricing for this beauty is yet to reveal itself, but it should be hitting stores next month, so we'll know pretty soon what the first elegant yet powerful Windows 8 slate can set us back.
World’s thinnest (9.9mm)Windows 8 tablet PC with Intel® Core™ Processor family
 As of September 4th 2013 13:00 (CET) without keyboard
Touch or type, with wireless magnetic keyboard/cover
Capture photos and edit them with digitizer stylus
Control your TV/home entertainment system and discover new content
Sometimes you need the performance of a PC, sometimes the convenience of a tablet. Now you can have them both with new VAIO Tap 11 from Sony, your everyday companion from the lecture hall to the living room.
Slipping effortlessly into a student bag, super-light VAIO Tap 11 is a power-packed Windows 8 tablet PC that’s ready for anything. Thanks to the latest Intel® processors and speedy SSD storage, you’ll breeze through daily tasks with the fluid, intuitive responses of Windows 8.
Browse the web, re-touch photos and explore apps on the 29.4cm (11.6”) Full HD touchscreen. Movies and games look even more impressive with beautiful sharpness and clarity. X-Reality™ for mobile (on selected models) brings entertainment to life with astonishing precision and detail, while TRILUMINOS® Display for mobile offers a wide palette of gorgeously rich, natural colours.
Typing is a pleasure on VAIO Tap 11’s slim, full-pitch wireless keyboard with touchpad. The keyboard can also be attached to the screen when not being used, doubling as a protective cover for the PC screen. Whenever you want to, remove the cover and type comfortably with the keyboard on your lap or on a desk. Then, when you’re ready to move, just re-attach the keyboard and it automatically re-charges as you go.
Inspiration can strike at any time, and VAIO Tap 11 makes a perfect note-taking partner in the lecture theatre, office or at home. Scribble down notes, take memos and sketch ideas with the responsive digitizer stylus. Take crisp photos of a textbook, report or slide presentation with the high resolution 8 megapixel rear-facing camera powered by “Exmor RS for PC”. Then sketch, draw or annotate with your own handwritten notes and slip the results into your own work.
Slim, versatile VAIO Tap 11 also makes a great partner to control your TV and home entertainment system. Browse schedules, get in-depth details about the show you’re watching and discover more great content with TV SideView (available free from the Window Store) – the app that’s like a ‘second screen’ for your BRAVIA TV. VAIO Tap 11 even doubles as a handy infrared remote, letting you change channels, adjust TV volume and control other IR devices from the comfort of your couch.
Give your music collection and movies the soundtrack they deserve. ClearAudio+ mode immerses you in crisp, super-clear sound that’s optimised for your favourite content. There’s a choice of four different preset settings to suit any tastes, plus an equaliser and effects to fine-tune your listening via the intuitive touch interface.
Sharing your music is simple, too. One-touch listening easily links VAIO Tap 11 with your NFC-enabled speakers, headphones and other audio devices. It’s the fun, convenient way to stream music without wires to slow you down.
Available in a choice of black or white finishes, the new VAIO Tap 11 Windows 8 tablet PC is available in Europe from Autumn 2013.