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Sony VAIO Tap 20 review

Verdict

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

Review Date: 6 Dec 2012

Reviewed By: Barry Collins

Price when reviewed: £832 (£999 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

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.

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User comments

A 1GB hard disk provides ample storage...

I might need a little more than that...

By JGray on 6 Dec 2012

Correction

Apologies for the typo on the hard disk size. Now corrected.

Barry Collins
Editor

By Barry_Collins on 6 Dec 2012

Drat!

Read it on my phone. All set with a cutting remark about the hard drive size, and you changed it before I could get to my PC - drat!

By DJ2003 on 6 Dec 2012

A built in battery should not be sneered at, protects it from unexpected brown outs
What about the wifi ability?

By invalidscreenname on 6 Dec 2012

Why the odd screen resolution

I know the general pubic doesn't care, but why such an odd resolution. It isn't low definition, and it isn't 1080p.

By tirons1 on 6 Dec 2012

tap 20 review

Terrible review Barry Collins whoever u are. The tap 20 is all around an awesome device and very unique. Not only will these be popular there will be many who adopt such an amazing device crafred by a company who innovagtes truly amazing hardware for us to use or I should say for those of us who appreciate well built merchandise. Carry on, these things will sell aplenty despite this lame review.

By xaj1455 on 10 Dec 2012

tap 20 review

Terrible review Barry Collins whoever u are. The tap 20 is all around an awesome device and very unique. Not only will these be popular there will be many who adopt such an amazing device crafred by a company who innovagtes truly amazing hardware for us to use or I should say for those of us who appreciate well built merchandise. Carry on, these things will sell aplenty despite this lame review.

By xaj1455 on 10 Dec 2012

<sigh>

Thanks for a useful review. I really wish I liked this computer better. I need better performance, though.
I really like the semi-portability, but the battery is a negative for me -- I'd rather have less weight and just plug it in. I'm in the market for an AIO -- will probably settle for a 24."

By psh_vt on 2 Apr 2013

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