Sony Vaio Duo 13 pictures and hands-on

Sony has launched a successor to the Duo 11 with the larger Sony Vaio Duo 13. As the name suggests, the model features a 13-inch display, giving you more space to play.

The concept remains the same however, giving you a hybrid device offering both a tablet and notebook, with a display that slides between the two different states.

The impressive thing is that although there's two additional inches of screen space, the design has been refined so that the overall footprint is only 9 per cent larger than the previous model. In reality, this mostly comes down to less bezel around the display.

It's also pretty light at 1.35kg, so is perfectly portable, even if it is a little heavy to hold and use as a tablet. That's perhaps our biggest concern with the Duo 13, that although it offers two modes, we're not quite sold on who will actually want to use it in tablet mode, given the size. It's more akin to the Windows tablets of old, than the new generation of slim and light like the Surface Pro. 

That issue aside, Sony has moved to address some of the concerns raised about the previous version of this hybrid including a clip on the side for the pen, as well as a flip out holder to place it in, so it's always to hand when you want to use it.

You can draw, sketch and scribble to your heart's content and in our quick play with the pressure-sensitive pen we found it to be responsive enough to feel natural. Removing the pen from the clip will fire up the Note Anytime app so you can get straight into it.

The 13.3-inch display is 1920 x 1080 pixels, so nice and sharp and is fully touch enabled, naturally, so provides a great range of versatility. It is fairly glossy, and on the show floor it was difficult to determine how well it would cope with bright conditions, but our first impressions of the colour reproduction and contrast are good.

The build exhibits the normal good quality that you expect from Sony's Vaio line, although the design of the Duo 13 means there's some compromise when it comes to the mechanism: we're still no totally sold on the idea of relying on slotting the bottom of the display on to a couple of metal hooks for stability, but on the other hand, a more substantial mechanism would mean more weight and increased size.

But the really impressive thing is that you get a great keyboard experience from the Duo 13. It's well spaced, with a lovely action to the keys, so that's something that you don't lose out on. The trackpad is a little small, squished into the bottom, but with full touch and a pen that's perhaps less of a problem as it's no longer necessary as one of the major control interfaces.

This being a Sony Vaio the Duo 13 is also packed with technology. There's the latest generation of Intel processors (Haswell) on offer up to Core i7, up to 8GB of RAM and 512GB SSD. Graphics is the integrated Intel HD4400 solution, but that's what you'd expect on this type of device.

Elsewhere you're spoilt with connectivity too, with USB 3, HDMI, SD card slot, NFC, GPS and a host of wireless connections including LTE. There's also a pair of cameras, with an 8-megapixel sensor for the rear.

However, one of the things we really like is Sony's new 10V charger. The new charger comes with an adapter that plugs into the end that will turn Ethernet into Wi-Fi so you can connect up to five additional devices. If you've ever found yourself disconnected in a hotel room, this handy Ethernet Wi-Fi hotspot will make that a thing of the past.

To top it off, Sony is stating a battery life of 15 hours for the Sony Vaio Duo 13, so it should see you through a busy working day. Of course we haven't had the chance to fully test the Sony Vaio Duo 13, but we'll have all the definitive details when we get it in for the full review.

There are three configurations of the Duo 13 available, with black and white colour options, but no confirmation on pricing just yet. Sony also announced the Vaio Pro and you can find all our first impressions with that MacBook Air challenger.

READ: Sony Vaio Pro pictures and hands-on



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