Sony Vaio Duo 11 - A New Hybrid Touchscreen Tablet And Ultrabook Convertible (Part 2)

4/18/2013 9:07:18 AM

The Duo 11 does not go far away from the rest of the specs we've seen in a lot of Windows 8 convertibles and the Ultrabooks. It has a Core i5-3317U CPU running at 1.7GHz, 6GB RAM, 128GB SSD and integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics. It is unsurprising; the systems with the same configurations provide the similar benchmark scores. The Duo 11 is near the head of the group in the PCMark 7 and 3DMark11 tests, higher than the Satellite U925t and the Dell XPS 12, but a bit less than the Acer Aspire S7, which is an Ultrabook without convertible with a 2.7GHz Core i7 CPU. Sony’s slider also offered significant read and write speeds in the disk test ATTO, with a maximum speed of 540MB/s and 525MB/s.

Overall, we liked the fast, smooth performance on the Duo, with a fast 10-second boot-up time. One thing should be noticed that the device's accelerometer was slow - it took about 2 or 3 seconds to redirect, and in the worst case, it took up to 20 seconds. The Duo offered speeds of 20fps to 30fps when we started the Mafia II, and we saw the maximum speed of 40fps in Batman: Arkham City.

If you've read our reviews of the Windows 8 products, you now know that they did not provide the excellent battery life in general. Among the touch screen Ultrabooks we checked, Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 is the reigning champion, with a runtime of 5 hours and 32 minutes. During the battery tests (including playing a locally stored video game on loop with WiFi access and the brightness fixed at 65 percent), the Sony Duo 11’s 4960mAh battery ran out of after 4 hours and 47 minutes. The heavier Toshiba Satellite U925t beat that number, as well as the Dell XPS 12.

Sony VAIO Duo 11 (Core i5-3317U 1.7GHz, Intel HD 4000)

·         PCMark7: 4,545

·         3DMark06: 4,807

·         3DMark11: E1107/P621/X201    

·         ATTO (top disk speeds): 540MB/s (read); 525MBs/s (write)

Toshiba Satellite U925t (Core i5-3317U 1.7GHz, Intel HD 4000)

·         PCMark7: 4,381

·         3DMark06: 4,210

·         3DMark11: E989/P563

·         ATTO (top disk speeds): 521MB/s (read); 265MB/s (write)

Dell XPS 12 (Core i5-3317U 1.7GHz, Intel HD 4000)

·         PCMark7: 4,673

·         3DMark06: 4,520

·         3DMark11: N/A    

·         ATTO (top disk speeds): 516MB/s (read); 263MB/s (write)

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 (Core i5-3317U 1.7GHz, Intel HD 4000)

·         PCMark7: 4,422

·         3DMark06: 4,415

·         3DMark11: E917/P572

·         ATTO (top disk speeds): 278MB/s (read); 263MB/s (write)        

Acer Aspire S7 (Core i7-3517U 2.4GHz, Intel HD 4000)

·         PCMark7: 5,011

·         3DMark06: 4,918

·         3DMark11: E1035/P620/X208    

·         ATTO (top disk speeds): 934MB/s (read); 686MB/s (write)

Software and warranty

Sony pre-loads the Duo 11 with quite a lot of programs.

Sony pre-loads the Duo 11 with quite a lot of programs.

Sony pre-loads the Duo 11 with quite a lot of programs, some of which are harmless stuff (Hulu Plus, Skype and Slacer Radio, for example), while others are strictly a nuisance. Primarily among these is Kaspersky Now, which bothers us with many constant pop-ups - of course you'll want to disable them. Some Xbox-branded games, such as Adera and Pinball FX2, are also present.

Naturally, Sony also offers the separate software. You will find the standard utilities such as VAIO Care for system diagnostics and Play Memories to organize and share the images; in addition, there is Art Rage Studio Pro to create digital masterpieces with the included stylus. The Duo 11 comes with a one-year warranty, which includes free phone support.

Configuration options and competitors

You are reading the review of the $1,200 VAIO Duo 11, which has a 1.7GHz Core i5 processor and 6GB of RAM, along with a 128GB SSD. You can increase a 1.9GHz Core i7 CPU with 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD for $1,500.

We were not very sensitive to convey our concerns about slider form factor, but if you like this convertible style, you have several other options. The Toshiba Satellite U925t has nearly the same specs as the Duo’s, except for having 4GB RAM instead of 6GB and lower-resolution 1,366x768 screen. Like Duo, it has a small keyboard, but it is inserted in one trackpad and provides the slightly longer battery life. For $1,150, it's a bit cheaper, but the plastic shell is not the sturdiest. There is also the $1,099 MSI Slider, with an 11.6-inch 1080p IPS screen, a Core i5 CPU and a 128GB SSD drive packaged in a lightweight 2.3-pound machine body - and the most notable thing is that you can adjust the angle of the screen on this device.

Are you willing to venture beyond the slider category? Be prepared to get lost in a sea of options - we are still facing with the onslaught of Windows 8 computers at the Engadget computer offices here - but you may be assured that we have found some promising models. The $1,200 Dell XPS 12 is unique with a great 1080p screen that flips in its swivel. We are also fans of its comfortable keyboard. There is also the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 for $1,110, a product that will surely appear in any discussion about the Windows 8 convertible series. The 1600x900 screen flips around, and its sturdy swivel allows you to bend it back 360 degrees, and the Yoga makes those acrobatic tricks match with stable performance.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13


Despite the inherent disadvantages – one of chief things is a cramped keyboard – there is a lot of appeal for a slider device. After all, it is a tablet and a laptop in one. But, compared to the Goober two-in-one PB & J of Smucker, the VAIO Duo 11 is attractive in theory but disappointing in practice. In reality, the Duo does not provide an inadequate thin design or long enough battery life as a tablet and its keyboard is too cramped to create a good Ultrabook. Yes, the excellent Gorilla Glass screen, fast performance and accurate stylus are included, but the generous specs do not disguise an immature product.

There is a lot of appeal for a slider device.

There is a lot of appeal for a slider device.


·         Product name: Sony VAIO Duo 11

·         Price: $1,200


·         Screen resolution: 1,920x1,080

·         Screen size: 11.6inch

·         Display technology: LED-backlit LCD

·         Display aspect ratio: 16:9

·         Touch screen: Dual digitiser

·         Accelerometer: Yes

·         RAM: 4GB

·         Battery type: Rechargeable

·         Removable battery: Yes

·         Power supply: AC

·         Power rating (Watts): 42W

·         CPU type: Intel Core i5

·         Processor speed: 1.7GHz

·         Processor type: Intel Core i5-3317U

·         Weight: 1.305kg

·         Height: 17.85mm

·         Width: 319.9mm

·         Depth: 199mm

·         Operating system: Windows 8

·         Number of HDMI ports: 1

·         Number of USB 3.0 ports: 2

·         Wired Terminals/Ports: 3.5mm headphone jack, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, USB 3.0, VGA (D-sub)

·         Bluetooth: Yes

·         Wi-Fi (wireless networking): Yes

·         Wireless technology supported: Bluetooth, NFC (Near Field Communications), Wireless 802.11n


·         Light and sturdy

·         Great screen

·         Good performance


·         Cramped keyboard

·         The swivel design is not elegant.

·         Battery life is not impressive


·         Sony VAIO DUO 11 offers a smart screen and fast performance, but the keyboard and battery life get the minus points.


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