Register for your free ZDNet membership or if you are already a member, sign in using your preferred method below.
Sony's Windows 8-based Vaio Duo 11 is the Japanese manufacturer's best shot to date at providing tablet functionality in an interesting form factor, but I'm still not convinced.
Sony introduced the at the end of August, with a planned release date of the end of October in some territories.
Unlike its last ill-fated tablets, the , the Vaio Duo 11 bridges the gap between laptop and tablet.
In fact, unlike many of its competitors in the hybrid/transformer market, the Duo 11 is not actually detachable from the keyboard.
The Vaio Duo 11 hybrid is somewhere between an ultrabook and a normal laptop in weight, as it comes in at 1.3kg with the battery in.
Pricing will depend on configuration but should start from around £1,000 ($1,600).
Instead of having a detachable screen, the Vaio Duo 11 uses a reverse hinge. This means that when the laptop 'lid' is closed, the screen is facing upwards and the device can be used as a standalone tablet. Officially it's known as a 'SurfSlider' design, but I can't imagine anyone outside of Sony using that phrase.
The 11.6-inch (1920x1080-pixel) screen faces upwards, but as it's Corning Gorilla Glass, it should resist gentle bumps and scratches.
The device includes a Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor, depending on the buyer's choice.
Similarly, it can be configured to ship with either 4Gb or 8GB of RAM, and with the Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro operating system.
Measuring just under 18mm thick, the Duo 11 is more comparable to a laptop or ultrabook than to a tablet. Unlike many other tablet-only devices, the Vaio Duo 11 comes with some full-size connectivity, including two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI out, and a VGA out. Additionally, it has dual 2-megapixel web cameras, with one on the front and one on the rear.
Some people will be pleased to hear that the keyboard on the Vaio Duo 11 comes equipped with a track point controller, allowing for fine-grained cursor control.
The keyboard also has a dedicated Windows button that returns you to the Windows 8 Start screen.
The Vaio Duo 11 comes with a Sony stylus, which has buttons along the side to mimic right-clicking on a mouse.
In addition, it can be used for handwriting input. There are a number of Sony-specific apps to put it to best use, such as 'Active Clip' for quick photo or picture editing.