Sony VAIO Tap 20 review

6 Dec 2012

A battery-powered all-in-one? Sony scores for originality but the benefits are marginal

Price when reviewed 
998
4

Let nobody accuse Sony of a lack of ambition with its initial Windows 8 devices. The slide-out VAIO Duo 11 convertible was bold, if a little Heath Robinson for our liking. The VAIO Tap 20 is even more daring, adding a battery pack to a standard desktop all-in-one.

Now, let’s be clear right from the start: the 3,500mAh lithium-ion battery secreted behind a removable panel at the back of the device doesn’t make this a tablet you’d want to carry any further than the dining room table.

Not only does its 5.1kg weight make it about as portable as bag of cement, but that battery lasted a mere 2hrs 27mins in our light-use battery test. Although the option to shift the unit from room to room without trailing a power cable around the house is a bonus, this is no iPad rival.

Sony VAIO Tap 20

It is, however, a wonderfully versatile all-in-one. That kick-stand at the back folds flush into the casing, allowing to position the Tap 20 to be positioned at any angle, from almost upright to flat on the desk (or even your lap).

We’ve seen some braver souls on rival magazines even attempt to stand up the device in portrait mode, but it’s patently not designed for this – don’t come complaining to us when it smashes into the desk at the merest prod. Nor is there any means of elevating the screen off the desk (besides commandeering a couple of encyclopaedias), which means you could be left hunched over the device when working.

The screen itself is a zinger. The 1,600 x 900 resolution is a tad meagre for a 20in panel, but there’s no questioning its image quality. Skin tones are perfectly accurate and bright colours pop off the screen without veering into over-saturation.

Sony VAIO Tap 20

Videos deliver pleasing levels of contrast, and viewing angles are exemplary from the IPS panel – although you may want to draw the blinds, as the glossy screen does nothing to minimise reflections. Our colorimeter tests backed up the experience of our own eyes, with an overall contrast ratio of 1,104:1 and perfectly acceptable scores for colour accuracy.

A Windows 8 all-in-one lives or dies by its touchscreen performance, and here the Tap 20 lives up to its name. It’s perfectly responsive to a swish of the finger, with no evidence of the stuttering that marred the Toshiba LX830.

Details

Price ex VAT £832
Price inc VAT £999
Overall rating 4
Performance 4
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 3

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 1,000GB
RAM capacity 6.00GB
Screen size 20.0in

Processor

CPU family Intel Core i5
CPU nominal frequency 1.70GHz

Motherboard

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR3
Memory sockets free 0
Memory sockets total 2

Graphics card

Graphics card Intel HD Graphics 4000
3D performance setting Low

Hard disk

Capacity 1.00TB
Hard disk usable capacity 931GB

Monitor

Resolution screen horizontal 1,600
Resolution screen vertical 900
Resolution 1600 x 900

Case

Case format All-in-one
Dimensions 504 x 187 x 312mm (WDH)

Rear ports

3.5mm audio jacks 2

Mouse & Keyboard

Mouse and keyboard Sony wireless keyboard and mouse

Operating system and software

OS family Windows 8

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 18W
Peak power consumption 37W

Performance tests

3D performance (crysis) low settings 21fps
3D performance setting Low
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.63
Responsiveness score 0.77
Media score 0.66
Multitasking score 0.47