Sony has priced and detailed the VAIO Tap 20 mobile Tabletop PC and VAIO Duo 11 sliding hybrid Ultrabook seen at IFA 2012 in readiness for the release of Microsoft's new OS, Windows 8. Both devices lead the charge for a new VAIO Touchworld collection that includes new touchscreen models in the E Series laptop and T Series Ultrabook families.
I ran into the designed-for-family Tap 20 mobile Tabletop PC in Berlin at the end of August, and admit to being quite impressed. It features a 20-inch, 1600 x 900 resolution, 10-point multi-touch IPS panel powered by Mobile BRAVIA Engine 2. The new Windows 8 VAIO can lay flat on a desk or table like a huge tablet, you can flip out the built-in stand for movie viewing or surfing, or use it upright with the included wireless keyboard and mouse for an All-in-One-desktop-PC-like experience.
There's a choice of third generation i3-3217U (1.8 GHz), i5-3317U (1.7/2.6 GHz) and i7-3517U (1.9/3 GHz) dual core processors with Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics, up to 1 TB HDD storage (but SSD drives up to 512 GB can also be slotted in), and up to 8 GB of system memory. Its removable 5000 mAh Li-ion battery is claimed to last a good 2.75 hours before needing to be charged. The Tap 20 is one-touch near field communication (NFC) capable, meaning that a user can just gently tap a compatible device against the Tabletop PC to establish a wireless connection between them, and then share content.
The Tap 20 also features stereo speakers with Dolby Home Theatre v4 audio and a High Definition webcam. A partnership with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has resulted in the My Daily Clip application, a movie trivia game for up to four players.
I also managed a fleeting brush past the new VAIO Duo 11 sliding hybrid Ultrabook at IFA 2012. Where other Windows 8 hybrids like HP's ENVY 2 separate the tablet and keyboard part of the device, Sony has chosen to keep everything together. The Duo slides from tablet mode to Ultrabook using Sony's smooth and durable Surf Slider mechanism, with a backlit keyboard and an 11.6-inch, full 1080p HD, 10-point multi-touch IPS display that benefits from scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass.
It's lighter than a docked ENVY 2 at about 2.84 pounds (1.28 kg), and is available in third generation Intel Core i3-3217U (1.8 GHz), i5-3317U (1.7/2.6 GHz) and i7-3517U (1.9/3 GHz) processor configurations with Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics. There's up to 512 GB of solid state storage on offer and up to 8 GB of RAM. The 4960 mAh Li-pol battery is claimed to offer up 4.75 hours of continued use before needing a top-up, and users can opt to purchase Sony's slim Sheet Battery pack to effectively double the usage time.
Like the Tap 20, the Duo is NFC-enabled, has an HD webcam and features stereo speakers with Dolby Home Theatre audio technology. The VAIO Duo 11 starts at $1,099.99 and comes supplied with a pressure-sensitive digitizer stylus with swappable pen tips.
Wrapping up Sony's touch-tastic Windows 8 machines are two new additions to the E Series laptop range, and a new model and an update to the T Series Ultrabooks.
The new aluminum E Series 14P comes with up to 3rd gen Intel Core i7 (2.2/3.2 GHz) processor options available, features the signature VAIO diamond cut logo, and carries a starting price of $689.99. The E Series 17 benefits from quad core processor options and a full 1080p HD resolution display. This model starts at $729.99.
The VAIO T13 Ultrabook has been given a touchscreen upgrade in readiness for Windows 8, and has been joined by a new T14 with included Blu-ray/DVD optical disc drive. Both models will have starting prices of $669.99.
Sony has partnered with ArtRage to offer the ArtRage Studio digital painting suite on all five of the new touch VAIO models. The new VAIO Touchworld collection will appear toward the end of October.