Sony is crossing genres with its 20-inch VAIO Tap 20. Part PC, part giant tablet, this Windows 8 touchscreen device touts itself as one for the whole family.
Pocket-lint was at IFA 2012 in Berlin, Germany, to have a hands-on test with this mega tablet.
The concept is simple enough: the contained unit sits upright like a PC, akin to an iMac really, but can also be pushed flat to be used as a tabletop Windows 8 touchscreen tablet. It's a little like the VAIO Duo 11 on a giant scale, but without the keyboard and for very different audiences.
The VAIO Tap 20 is a clean-looking device. It has smooth glass to the front, with rounded edges at each corner. The rear has a stand that can be adjusted to control the tilt of the screen or to fold into the body so the device can be used flat on a table or even the floor. It moves down nice and smoothly and doesn't feel flimsy against that sizeable screen.
Some might wonder why "floor use" is a desirable feature - think interactive boardgames for the kids, while other Sony multi-user apps such as "Family Paint" let multiple hands "paint" via the power of touch. The screen allows up to 10-points of touch, so it works with more than one user at the same time if wanted.
The unit is also battery powered, just like a laptop, so it can be used away from a plug socket. It's not like you'll see anyone on a train casually using one of these, but the simple design will be easy to ship around rooms in the house. It does weigh in at 5.2kgs though.
We weren't too brutal with the Tap 20's screen but would like it to be scratch proof. Instead, Sony offers an optional accessory protector to avoid scratches and marks.
Just like the Duo 11, the Tap 20 uses Windows 8 to full effect. The ability to slide between screens and load up software with the swipe or press of a finger makes sense but without its keyboard and mouse attached it feels a little strange at this scale. Fortunately one of each are included in the kit, but we didn't have the chance to play with the device with them attached.
Connectivity is just like many "normal" PCs too: there are a pair of USB 3.0 sockets to the side as well as a memory card slot and 3.5mm audio jacks.
As we mentioned in our initial news piece, the Tap 20 comes with a choice of Intel Core processors and an Intel HD Graphics 4000 card, while picture quality is said to be enhanced thanks to the inclusion of the Mobile Bravia Engine 2. The music video clip we caught sight of looked pretty decent to us, but there wasn't time to make a full assessment of how media plays back.
There's no final word on pricing or availability as yet, but we'll keep you posted.