Sony Vaio Tap 11 Review
Posted: November 14, 2013
Despite being among the largest electronics manufacturers in the world, the VAIO Tap 11 is Sony's first foray into Windows tablets. Like Microsoft's Surface Pro 2, the VAIO Tap 11 seeks to blend the laptop experience with a tablet's convenience to create the ideal all-in-one entertainment and productivity device. It's a tall task for any manufacturer, and the result for Sony is less than ideal.
Sony has a reputation for producing sharp-looking devices, and the VAIO Tap 11 is no exception. Its thin, brushed aluminum design is aesthetically pleasing, and it looks well made from a distance. Unfortunately, appearances can be deceiving. Although the 12.0-by-7.4-by-0.39 inch, 1.7 pound body is impressively slender compared to tablets like the Surface Pro 2, Sony cut some corners to get there. The body is mostly plastic in construction, and it isn't nearly as sturdy and premium-feeling as the Surface.
Along the left edge of the VAIO Tap 11, tucked behind a flimsy plastic hatch, are micro-HDMI and USB 3.0 ports. Unfortunately, some bad design choices mean that these ports are also blocked by the included stylus when it's snapped into its cheap plastic clip. The power socket is also near the bottom of the left edge. Another plastic flap is located on the top edge, under which microSD and SIM slots can be found. The standard volume rocker, power button and headphone jack combo are arrayed on the right edge. The physical Windows button is at the bottom center of the bezel, and there's a VAIO Assist button on the top right part of the back panel.
Resolving the Details
The VAIO Tap 11 makes use of a 1,920-by-1,080 IPS panel, similar to the displays found on some of its other devices. The resolution is plenty sharp, and the inclusion of Triluminous technology means colors are vivid and accurate. It may not jump out in a tablet comparison, but the VAIO's display is as good as anything on the market. The IPS screen offers good viewing angles, and the brightness is good enough for most conditions.
Under the Hood
Because Sony opted for the 1.5-gigahertz Intel Core i5-4210Y chipset (cheaper 1.20 GHz Pentium model ias available as well), the VAIO Tap 11 generally isn't a top performer in benchmark tests. The Y-Series chips are designed with an eye toward increased efficiency, and that comes at a slight performance cost. In head-to-head tablet comparisons, however, the VAIO outpaces the Acer Aspire P3's Core i5-3339Y. The Surface Pro 2 gets an edge in raw horsepower, but the Tap 11 still delivers fairly smooth, consistent performance. The improved energy efficiency boosts the VAIO Tap 11's longevity beyond what the Aspire P3 can muster.
The Sony VAIO Tap 11 is positioned as a direct competitor to the Microsoft Surface Pro 2. In terms of sheer value, it's no contest. The VAIO delivers similar performance and a fantastic display for less than the Surface, and it manages to do so with a keyboard dock included. The poor construction quality is certainly an issue, but probably not a dealbreaker. The Acer Aspire P3 offers better construction quality, though it falls short of the VAIO's performance and offers a very poor display. The Dell Venue 11 Pro also offers interesting competition, providing a removable battery and desktop docking capabilities. Its display is comparable to the VAIO and Surface Pro 2, and the Core-i5 model serves up a smooth and powerful experience. Unlike the VAIO, however, the keyboard dock is not included in the retail price.
|Tablet||Sony Vaio Tap 11|
|CPU||Intel Pentium - 1.20 GHz|
|Display||IPS - 11.6 inch|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080 px - 190 ppi|
|Camera||Front 2.0 / Back 8.0 MP|
|Weight||0.85 kg / 1.70 lbs|
|Battery life||5.0 hours|
Battery life comparison