The Sony VAIO Duo 11 offers more than the traditional laptop experience. This touchscreen device comes pre-loaded with Windows 8 and even includes a digital stylus to write directly on screen.
But it's the hinged design that gives this VAIO its name: the normal laptop position can be "popped" into a flat, tabletop-like position to use like a tablet, hence the "Duo" name.
Pocket-lint had a play with the latest VAIO at IFA 2012 and, despite the "love and hate" relationship many might have with Microsoft's latest Windows 8, we have to say that it makes sense on a touchscreen device.
The Duo 11's 11.6-inch Full HD (1920x1080 pixel) screen was responsive whether using fingertips or the digital stylus. As this VAIO isn't the finished version it took a little too long to convert our written text into on-screen type - and MS Word was entirely perplexed by various smiley face doodles that we added - but then this Pocket-linter does have handwriting that can only really be described as abysmal. So maybe it's not the Vaio's fault.
The hinge that props the screen up isn't like a standard laptop and therefore the screen sits in either its upright position or otherwise flat like a tablet. There's no in-between. It "pops" down smoothly and is easy to ping back up using even just one hand.
The Sony representatives wouldn't give an anticipated battery life for the model, but there is a second battery that can be purchased separately to double your on-the-go use. A nice touch, though one that does mean adding extra bulk to the 17.8mm thin model - the main picture of on-stand model has the added battery, whereas the shot directly below shows how thin the laptop-meets-tablet is without.
Although the laptop (if we can quite call it that) was tethered with security devices on Sony's IFA booth, its 1.3kg weight felt reasonably light. It certainly looks like a decent product to use on the go, in particular thanks to the 1080p-resolution screen - perfect for movies and the like. Assuming, that is, you don't lose the digital pen. It's a bit more special than a Biro.
Sony has laced the Duo 11 with all manner of connectivity too, including USB 3.0, Bluetooth, HDMI and VGA outputs for wiring up a screen or monitor, and an Ethernet port for speedy connectivity.
Pice and launch date are yet to be confirmed. But, from what we've seen, we rather like the look of this Windows 8 touchtop, flat-top, or whatever it'll come to be called. Here's hoping it won't be too pricey.