The Vaio Duo 11 is Sony's first attempt at luring those in the market for both a laptop and a tablet to save money and buy a device that is both.
Unveiled at the IFA electronics expo in Berlin back in August, the Vaio Duo 11 runs Windows 8 and transforms from a tablet to a laptop via an HD display that slides up in what Sony calls a "Slide Surfer" style to reveal a full size QWERTY keyboard hidden underneath.
The Sony Vaio Duo 11's most obvious selling point is that it is a hybrid device that has two different modes: laptop and tablet. When in tablet mode, this transformation is achieved by supporting the back of the lid with one hand while pushing the front of it backwards so that it pops up via a hinge, exposing a keyboard and mouse track button underneath.
Going from one to the other isn't the easiest transition we've experienced on a hybrid device, nor is it the smoothest. Your first try with the Duo 11 certainly won't be the last attempt before the display lifts up. Unless you're completely used to and have developed the knack for opening it correctly, it's going to take a few attempts before getting it right first time. We think Sony should have spent more time developing a less fiddly sliding mechanism that is easier to operate, such as a slide button for instance, so that you don't have to use both hands to open it up. However, this might just take some getting used to.
The mechanism used on the sliding action also doesn't feel as sturdy as we would like when moving from tablet to laptop mode, and this worries us a little.
Next: Design and build