Sony VAIO Duo 11 review

Price when reviewed

The launch of Windows 8 is just around the corner, and after many months of sneak-peeks and product teases, the first of the new wave of products is finally here. The Sony VAIO Duo 11 fuses the DNA of an Ultrabook with an 11.6in Full HD tablet, and it’s Sony’s vision of the ultimate Windows 8 device.

Measuring 21mm thick at its rear, and tapering to a whisker over 18mm towards the front, the VAIO Duo 11 is thicker than the slimmest Ultrabooks, and, at 1.3kg, a good deal heavier than the Samsung Series 7 700T Slate Microsoft supplied to us for testing Windows 8. Build quality is excellent, however. The matte carbon base and metal keyboard surround feel outstandingly rigid, and there’s barely any flex or give in evidence until you start heaving it brutally from side to side.

While it fails to grasp the attention with achingly slim dimensions, the Sony’s relatively chunky frame conceals its novel party trick: grip the lip along the display’s upper edge, and a light tug sees the display pivot upwards and click home to reveal a keyboard underneath.

As the spring-loaded hinge takes up the rearward third of the Sony’s base, there isn’t the room for a full keyboard and dedicated touchpad. Instead, Sony has dedicated most of the available space to a compact, Scrabble-tile backlit keyboard, and squeezed in an optical trackpoint between the G, H and B keys. The trackpoint’s buttons, meanwhile, are placed on the raised keyboard surround below the spacebar, with the usual left- and right-buttons plus a middle button which, when held down, permits vertical scrolling with a nudge of the trackpoint.

Sony VAIO Duo 11 - close-up of trackpoint

In tablet mode, you can flick and gesture your way through Windows 8 with your fingers or, thanks to the N-Trig digitiser lurking beneath the display’s glossy finish, prod and scribble with the bundled stylus. The latter is a stylish, metal-clad affair with two buttons positioned on its brushed metal shaft, and is powered by a tiny AAAA battery. Neatly, there’s a choice of two pen nibs, allowing users to opt for a softer or firmer feel while inking.

Sony has crammed in plenty of features and connectivity, too. Looking around the VAIO Duo 11’s chamfered metal edges reveals two USB 3 ports, full-sized HDMI and D-SUB video outputs, an SD/MS card reader and a Gigabit Ethernet port at the rear, next to the power socket.

Peer under the front edge, and there are buttons for adjusting the volume, launching Sony’s VAIO Care software suite and toggling the automatic screen rotation on and off. Sony has also crammed in a pair of front- and rear-facing 2mp cameras, a TPM 1.2 module, and dual-band 802.11abgn wireless, Bluetooth 4 and NFC support.


Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions322 x 200 x 21mm (WDH)
Travelling weight1.6kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i7-3517U
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM76
RAM capacity8.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total0

Screen and video

Screen size11.6in
Resolution screen horizontal1,920
Resolution screen vertical1,080
Resolution1920 x 1080
Graphics chipsetIntel HD Graphics 4000
Graphics card RAMN/A
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity238GB
Spindle speedN/A
Internal disk interfaceSATA/600
Hard diskSandisk SD5SF2256G
Optical disc technologyN/A
Optical driveN/A
Replacement battery price ex VAT£120
Replacement battery price inc VAT£144


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
FireWire ports0
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks1
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readerno
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTrackpoint
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationUnderside
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating2.0mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use7hr 6min
Overall Real World Benchmark score0.71

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 8 Pro 64-bit
OS familyWindows 8
Recovery methodRecovery partition
Software suppliedN/A

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos