Skip to navigation

Sony VAIO Tap 11 review

Verdict

Sony marries nippy performance and a superb HD screen to create the most desirable Windows 8 tablet yet

Review Date: 30 Sep 2013

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £833 (£1,000 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £594
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Sony proudly led the Windows 8 charge with its VAIO Duo 11 hybrid, and now it’s the turn of the VAIO Tap 11. Unlike its hybrid stablemates, the VAIO Tap 11 treads a more conventional path – it unites a svelte Windows 8 tablet with a featherlight wireless keyboard.

If first impressions count for anything, the Tap 11 gets off to a flying start. At a whisker less than 11mm thick, it’s 3mm thinner than Microsoft’s Surface Pro, and it’s lighter, too; indeed, Sony’s 780g tablet makes the Surface Pro feel decidedly overweight. As a result, it doesn’t feel quite as rock-solid and substantial as a result, but it isn’t plasticky or lightweight. The Tap 11’s body feels taut and well constructed, and the soft-touch matte plastics at the rear and the rounded, rubberised edges make it comfy to hold and easy to grip.

Sony Tap 11

Hidden magnets clamp the keyboard on top of the tablet when it’s not in use, and a tiny row of electrical contacts keep its internal battery topped up. With the keyboard in place, the Tap 11’s overall thickness swells to 15mm, but it adds only 290g to the weight – with both in a bag, the combined weight of 1.07kg is incredibly light, even by the standards of top-flight Ultrabooks. There’s an active stylus thrown in, too, but you’ll have to carry this separately, as there’s no way of attaching it to the Tap 11 (unless you resort to sticky tape, that is).

Sony has hidden the Tap 11’s connectivity behind pop-out flaps. There’s a full-sized USB 3 port, a micro-HDMI output, microSD and a SIM slot for the optional 3G adapter. The laptop-style power adapter connects to the tablet’s bottom edge via a proprietary connector which, as a safety measure, unclips if the cable is yanked too hard.

In fact, there’s precious little missing. Sony has crammed in dual-band 802.11n, Bluetooth 4 and NFC, and it’s even found room for a decent set of internal speakers, which, with Sony’s Clear Audio technology enabled, are reasonably loud and surprisingly clear. The pair of cameras are less impressive, however. While the front-facing 0.9MP camera is fine for basic purposes, the 8MP sensor at the rear disappoints, with noisy, heavily compressed images.

Sony Tap 11

Performance

The Sony’s touchscreen is the star of the show. With a Full HD resolution crammed into a 11.6in diagonal, text and images are absolutely pin-sharp, viewing angles are wide, and images look gorgeous. The maximum brightness isn’t as high as some tablets we’ve seen, but at 384cd/m2, it’s bright enough for outdoor use, and the measured contrast ratio of 817:1 is solid. Colour accuracy is great, too, and unlike some of its peers, the Sony’s panel covers almost every corner of the sRGB gamut, serving up a wide array of bold, saturated hues and lifelike skin tones.

Inside, Intel’s Haswell platform takes pride of place. The processor in question, the Core i5-4210Y, operates at only 1.5GHz, with Turbo Boost pushing clock speeds up to 1.9GHz when required, but its ultra-low-voltage design draws a maximum of only 11.5W. Yet, with 4GB of DDR3L low-voltage RAM and a Samsung 128GB SSD alongside, the Tap 11 feels anything but underpowered. Windows 8 feels slick and spritely, and an overall result of 0.54 in our Real World Benchmarks proves there’s sufficient power for heavyweight applications, such as Adobe Photoshop or Sony Vegas Pro.

1 2

Best Prices

Price comparison powered by Reevoo

£594
£596
£596
£645
Subscribe to PC Pro magazine. We'll give you 3 issues for £1 plus a free gift - click here
User comments

When

Can this be purchased now; if so where from.

By pcrook2 on 30 Sep 2013

Review comparison

I know the Surface Pro 2 has only been announced, but why compare to the old Surface, when, as pcrook2 asks about where to buy, is the Sony been released yet.

By poetryb on 30 Sep 2013

Listed

on Amazon Germany for pre-order (no stock currently available).

By big_D on 30 Sep 2013

@poetryb

They can't compare performance or battery life to the Pro 2, because it isn't available yet and hasn't therefore been tested.

By big_D on 30 Sep 2013

@big_D

I would be very disappointed if PC Pro had reviewed this device without having one to test (this is billed as a review, not either a first look or a news item). They may of course have had it on loan from Sony prior to availability for purchase.

By JohnAHind on 30 Sep 2013

Price

Where did the price come from; on Amazon germany it is priced at 949.00 euro, which is £793.00, now if this is the price much better in line with Surface 2 128gb version.

By pcrook2 on 30 Sep 2013

Price and availability

Hi all,

The VAIO Tap 11 was provided by Sony, as was the suggested retail pricing. Of course, the actual price may end up varying from retailer to retailer, but it's set to launch sometime in October - I'll update the review with a final price as and when it hits the shelves.

As for the Surface Pro 2, we're hassling the lovely people over at Microsoft on a regular basis and hope to have one soon!

Sasha Muller
Deputy Reviews Editor
PC Pro

By SashaMuller on 30 Sep 2013

Never buy any v1.x MS product.....

The old IT gurus' rule of thumb from the 1990's appears to hold even in the 21st Century!

This rather confirms my theory that Win 8 was a complete stopgap like the first few versions of "Windows" itself. By Windows for Workgroups (Windows 3.1) MS actually had a reasonably usable product, and the hardware was not "cheap", but was becoming affordable, and the whole package was highly usable.

History seems to be repeating itself, but in keeping with the age, at a faster pace.

Lenovo are tee'd up to deliver another new, improved "Yoga" , and also a superthin Laptop, Nokia will launch another RT device, and even Acer have updated the lamentable Iconia A3 with a decent screen...

Whilst not intrinsically "compelling" me to upgrade my trusty old systems, these things are becoming quite tempting; with a blend of superior technology & enhanced usability.

By wittgenfrog on 30 Sep 2013

@JohnAHind

Erm, I said the Pro 2 isn't yet available, that is why they compared the Vaio to the original Pro.

;-)

By big_D on 30 Sep 2013

Features?

Does this Haswell-based tablet support Connected Standby? - The Surface Pro 2 doesn't, even though the Haswell hardware is capable of it.

Does the Tap 11 include GPS? Again the SP2 does not...

By gcoupe on 1 Oct 2013

Features 2

gcoupe you beat me to it - These are the points I would like confirmed connected standby and gps - Sasha are you able to provide a answer, if yes then I will be purchasing the Tap 11.

By pcrook2 on 1 Oct 2013

Features

I believe that (like many tablets) the 3G version has GPS and the Wi-Fi version doesn't, but I've asked Sony for clarification on this and the Connected Standby question.

Watch this space!

By SashaMuller on 1 Oct 2013

Features

It's been confirmed that both the 3G and Wi-Fi versions will have GPS.

Connected Standby hasn't made the cut, however - only Intel's Smart Connect.

If you have any other questions, just ask!

By SashaMuller on 3 Oct 2013

Connected Standby

So, even though the Haswell "Y" chip can support Connected Standby, the Tap 11 doesn't have it. That's a real disappointment.

By gcoupe on 3 Oct 2013

The Slate I've been waiting for EXCEPT ...

This Tap 11 is an incredible piece of kit and I'd be first in line to get it .. only one short fall. THis actually doubles as a tablet and full PC / Lap top replacement. The problem it can't be used in the lap. THat little stand wont support it and theres no docking keyboard to secure it in place. Come On Sony come out with a dockable keyboard (Like a Transformer) and you really could clean the market. I want to buy it, but can't for this reason.

By holsen on 4 Oct 2013

Availability

Any news on when this is going to be available.

By pcrook2 on 8 Oct 2013

Available now

It's just popped up on Sony's website.

Head over to http://www.sony.co.uk/customise/vn-tap-11
and you can take your pick of Pentium or Core i3/i5/i7 models.

By SashaMuller on 8 Oct 2013

EXPENSIVE

128gb, i5 Surface £799.00
Tap 128gb and i5 £1049.00, can not believe Sony prices, now to expensive for me.

By pcrook2 on 9 Oct 2013

Price much better Sony Germany

Just checked Sony Germany and I can purchase the Tap 11 with 128gb, i5 and Windows 8 pro for 1008.99 euro which at my present card rate comes out at £852.00, Surface beating price.
Why is the UK price so high, come on Sony.

By pcrook2 on 9 Oct 2013

Price much better Sony Germany

Just checked Sony Germany and I can purchase the Tap 11 with 128gb, i5 and Windows 8 pro for 1008.99 euro which at my present card rate comes out at £852.00, Surface beating price.
Why is the UK price so high, come on Sony.

By pcrook2 on 9 Oct 2013

My opinion

The front of the tablet would've been perfect if there's np hole in the lower right. The power adapter has an extra usb port, why not charge the keyboard with a detachable cable to a USB port? Also, I'd remove the kick stand at the rear. It disrupts the clean, smooth back. The space used to accomodate the kickstand might be used for something better, like a bigger battery. The kickstand is useless in portrait mode. Lastly, I would change that dangling port covers to one that has a hinge which swings to the back when open...

By ReyMatt on 14 Oct 2013

My opinion

The front of the tablet would've been perfect if there's np hole in the lower right. The power adapter has an extra usb port, why not charge the keyboard with a detachable cable to a USB port? Also, I'd remove the kick stand at the rear. It disrupts the clean, smooth back. The space used to accomodate the kickstand might be used for something better, like a bigger battery. The kickstand is useless in portrait mode. Lastly, I would change that dangling port covers to one that has a hinge which swings to the back when open...

By ReyMatt on 14 Oct 2013

only buy it as a toy

This is terrible. It might be OK as a toy or for watching youtube, but if you want to get any work done DON'T BUY THIS. The keyboard connection is intermittent depending on what other bluetooth devices are in the area I think. So it skips letters of gets stuck and has to catch up with itself - especially annoying when deleting of scrolling.

PLUS The keyboard freezes frequently and requires a full restart to get it back. The keyboard runs out of juice way before the tablet so you either have to work on the touch screen - ie stop work; or - like me - carry another keyboard everywhere - which totally defeats the purpose of having something slim and light!

And even if you do plug in a peripheral mouse and keyboard the machine doesn't like it and freezes out every few minutes for ten or fifteen seconds. And I have tries this with a dozen keyboards and mouse combos.

Like I say - It's fine for a toy or watching movies, but it will drive you crazy if you want to get anything done.

By benmole on 5 Aug 2014

Leave a comment

You need to Login or Register to comment.

(optional)

Latest Category Reviews
Asus Transformer Book T200TA review

Asus Transformer Book T200TA

Category: Laptops
Rating: 5 out of 6
Price: £350
Hands on: Apple iPad Air 2 review

Hands on: Apple iPad Air 2

Rating: 5 out of 6
Price: £350
Fujitsu Stylistic Q704 review

Fujitsu Stylistic Q704

Category: Tablets
Rating: 4 out of 6
Price: £1,771
Hands on: Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro review

Hands on: Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro

Rating: 4 out of 6
Price: £1,771
Hands on: Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 review

Hands on: Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2

Rating: 4 out of 6
Price: £1,771
Compare reviews: Laptops

advertisement

Most Commented Reviews
Latest News Stories Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Blog Posts Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Features
Latest Real World Computing

advertisement

Sponsored Links
 

 
SEARCH
Loading
WEB ID
SIGN UP

Your email:

Your password:

remember me

advertisement


Hitwise Top 10 Website 2010
 
 

PCPro-Computing in the Real World Printed from www.pcpro.co.uk

Register to receive our regular email newsletter at http://www.pcpro.co.uk/registration.

The newsletter contains links to our latest PC news, product reviews, features and how-to guides, plus special offers and competitions.