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SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Touch Ultrabook Review

by The Review CrewApril 29, 2013

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]s it a bird… is it a TABLET… is it a Notebook?  It’s a SONY ULTRABOOK!!  Seriously… this thing is pretty cool.   In fact, it is to date probably the best implementation of touch screen and Windows 8 I’ve seen.  The Sony VAIO Duo 11 is thin enough and small enough to be a very usable field tablet, and powerful enough and feature rich enough to pull of the whole notebook thing incredibly well.  The only thing you MAY miss is a disc drive of some type…  but if you do miss that kind of thing I’d be remiss if I didn’t say “Hardcopy is so yesterday”.  With the USB 3.0 ports, the built-in SD memory card slot (not just a memory stick! Big Kudos to SONY for not going with their proprietary stick, it was the right thing to do because this ultrabook is soooo convenient to use because of it).

The SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Touch Ultrabook is the fastest booting system I’ve seen in a long time.  It has a 128G SSD drive and the thing boots up from pressing the power button to logging in… in a crazy 6 seconds.

SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Touch Ultrabook In Review

When you are in tablet mode it looks like a biggish tablet, it’s still very thin, and because it has a real full blown 3rd gen i5-3337u processor and 6 Gigs of RAM… it has all the power you could need to handle all but the most daunting of tasks.  For instance, we were able to play Need For Speed: Most Wanted on it.  We had to turn the graphics down the lowest setting, but the game ran really very well on it.  So did Far Cry 3.  The Intel HD Graphics 4000 chipset really does a pretty good job.  Is this a gaming machine?  No and that’s the point I’m trying to make.  You can have a killer tablet, an awesome notebook and something that will actually play some of the most graphically intense games albeit on the low setting, but still…

When you are in notebook mode (you flip the screen up and the keyboard underneath is revealed) you have a full-ish qwerty keyboard, a little nub pointer (think IBM Thinkpad pointer) and the touch screen display.  You can go with a USB mouse or Bluetooth your choice if you need a mouse.  The touch portion of the screen in either mode is responsive and quick, and it comes with the full version of Windows 8 thanks to the full 3rd Gen Intel Core i5-3337u Processor.

The Image quality was outstanding, the video was crisp and clear, the games looked terrific, and it had WiDi which was pretty nifty.  Another area the SONY VAIO Duo 11 Touch Ultrabook really shines is art.  It has an exceptional two button stylus and software (Art Rage Pro) that really gives it appeal to anyone that can draw.  With many levels of touch sensitivity you can do complex pencil sketches and charcoal prints.  Very neat stuff.

My only complaint with the SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Touch Ultrabook is the battery life.  I’m not sure I ever got 3 hours out of it even though the specs say 4 hours and 45 minutes.  So be prepared to be tethered to an electrical outlet if you are out for more than 3 hours.  The first unit we got from SONY had an issue with the display (the touch screen didn’t work after a few hours of use, you could see everything but touch was off).  After turning the unit over it was clear that the Duo 11 we received was a pre-production unit (think beta version) so no ding for that issue, the second unit we received had no such problem.  Both units suffered from the same battery issue though and because that was the case in both instances, there was no need to wonder if it was an isolated incident.

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SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Ultrabook  Display

  • Screen Size : 11.6″
  • Resolution : 1920 x 1080
  • Touch Technology : Capacitive Touchscreen
  • Display Technology : Full HD, IPS Technology
  • Backlight Technology : LED

SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Ultrabook Storage

  • Storage Type : Solid State Drive
  • Storage Capacity : 128GB4

SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Ultrabook Inputs and Outputs

  • DC-In : 1
  • USB 3.0 : 1 + 1 (Charge)
  • VGA Output(s) : 1
  • Headphone Output : 1
  • HDMI® Output(s) : 1
  • Memory Stick + Secure Digital : 1

SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Ultrabook Environmental Information

  • ENERGY STAR® : 5.1
  • ROHS® : Compliant
  • EPEAT™ : Silver

SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Ultrabook Weights and Measurements

  • Dimensions (Approx.) : 12.60″ (W) x 0.71″ (H) x 7.84″ (D)
  • Weight (Approx.) : 2.87 lbs. (with Internal Battery)

SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Ultrabook Processor

  • Processor Type : Intel® Core™ i5-3337U
  • Processor Technology : Dual Core
  • Processor Speed : 1.80GHz1 with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology up to 2.70GHz2
  • Processor Cache : 3MB

SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Ultrabook Memory

  • Installed Memory : 6GB4 (2GB Fixed Onboard + 4GB Fixed Onboard)
  • Memory Type/Speed : DDR3/1333MHz

SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Ultrabook Hardware

  • Camera : Front and Back 2.4 MP Full HD web cameras powered by Exmor® R for PC and microphone
  • Keyboard : QWERTY, 83 keys with 1.2mm stroke and 18mm pitch
  • Backlit Keyboard : Yes

SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Ultrabook Wireless/Networking

  • Bluetooth® Technology : Bluetooth Standard (4.0 + HS)
  • Ethernet Protocol : 1000BASE-T/100BASE-TX/10BASE-T
  • Wi-Fi® Adapter : Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N 6235 (802.11a/b/g/n)
  • WiDi Ready : Yes – Intel® Wireless Display Technology9
  • NFC : Yes

SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Ultrabook General

  • Security : Symantec™ Validation and ID Protection Service (VIP), Intel® Anti-Theft Technology14, Trusted Platform Module (TCG ver. 1.2 certified)
  • Action Buttons : ASSIST, Volume (+/-), Rotation Lock, Windows
  • Pointing Device : Optical Pointer

SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Ultrabook Software

  • Operating System : Genuine Windows 8 64-bit
  • Supplied Software : Microsoft® Office trial, VAIO Care™, PlayMemories Home™, ArtRage® Studio Pro
  • Anti-Virus Software : Kaspersky® Internet Security 30-Day Trial Offer12

SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Ultrabook Graphics

  • Graphics Processor : Intel® HD Graphics 4000
  • Graphics Video RAM : Internal6
  • Maximum Resolution VGA : 1920 x 1200
  • Maximum Resolution HDMI : 1920 x 1080

SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Ultrabook Audio

  • Sound System : Intel® High Definition Audio with Dolby® Home Theater® Technology v4

SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Ultrabook Service and Warranty Information

  • Limited Warranty Term : 1 Year
  • International Service : Yes5
  • Toll-Free Phone Support : 888-476-69728
  • Priority Phone Support : 239-768-76058

SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Ultrabook Power

  • Battery Type : Internal Lithium Polymer Battery (VGP-BPS31 4960mAh)
  • Battery Life : Up to 4 hours and 45 minutes10

SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Ultrabook In the Box

  • Internal Lithium Polymer Battery (VGP-BPS31 4960mAh), Digitizer Pen (VGP-STD1/B), AC Adapter, Power Cord

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All in all the SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Touch Ultrabook is amazing, it is worth every penny (currently they are going for about $1,200 USD for the unit we reviewed) and I would personally own one.  We are nominating the SONY VAIO Duo 11 Convertible Touch Ultrabook for the 2013 Reviewboard Magazine Editor’s Choice Award.  We give the VAIO Duo 11 Ultrabook 4 out of 5 stars.  Good job SONY.

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The Review Crew
The Review Crew is a group of beat editors, writers, and consultants that have been working together for years. They know just about everything about everything collectively and have published their collective work under the Review Crew brand moniker for almost 20 years.