Sony Joins The Table Market

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September 25, 2012

Computer tablets are everywhere, filling the shelves of consumer electronic stores. It may seem like a daunting task to sift through the confusing specifications of each tablet and find the perfect choice for your needs. If you hop from meeting to meeting or type reports during lengthy commutes, the Sony Vaio tablet ultrabook may be just what you need. 
The Best of Both Worlds

The plain tablet is a wonderful piece of technology, but it lacks some of the most basic productivity features — most notably, the flexibility to transition between a touch screen, a writing tool and a keyboard. Sony solves this problem with the Vaio tablet. Calling their product a “hybrid ultrabook,” the most striking feature is the slick, surf-slider back-lit keyboard. Instead of hauling around a tablet and a portable keyboard cover, consumers can slide out the Vaio keyboard with one hand and snap it back against a sturdy shelf and hinge. Be warned, the keyboard tiles are on the small side, so larger hands may find the key placement somewhat congested. The Vaio has no trackpad but rather a mouse pointer on the keyboard. You can plug in a wireless USB mouse, but that does ruin the essential portability of the device.

If writing is your thing, use the stylish digitized stylus. Change the stylus tip from a firmer to softer one depending on your needs and apps. Initial reports praise the pressure-sensitive touch screen and handwriting functionality, but some reviewers struggled with operating system lag.

It’s a Tablet

The Vaio tablet could be considered a tablet in the strictest sense — it’s portable, has a touch screen and features apps — but that’s where most of the similarities end. The gadget weighs a beefy 2.9 pounds, approximately twice the weight of an iPad. The screen is 11.6 inches, slightly larger than the basic tablet but smaller than a netbook or ultrabook. The Vaio is permanently tethered to its keyboard, giving it some bulk and limiting its portability. With a stellar resolution of 1920×1080, it’s one of the densest screens in the neighborhood.

It’s an Ultrabook

The Vaio tablet really shines as an ultrabook. The device sports a slew of ports similar to its netbook cousins: a handful of USB 3 ports, an HDMI out, Bluetooth 4.0 capability, a VGA serial port, Ethernet port plus a substantial 128GB or 256GB SDD drive.

The unit boasts a speedy processor comparable to the big dogs, an Intel Core i7 with a whopping 8GB of RAM and Intel HD 4000 graphics. Budget-conscious consumers can purchase a less powerful — but still very perky — i5 or i3 processor with 4GB of RAM. Most notably, the Vaio tablet features the illustrious Windows 8, the latest Microsoft operating system specifically designed for mobile operation.

Who Benefits?

If you’re looking for an e-reader to carry to the park or something portable to stream movies in bed, the Sony Vaio is probably overkill. The Vaio tablet is aimed primarily for business users, providing a smooth stylus writing surface for taking notes in meetings, a portable keyboard for typing office documents, and various portable entertainment apps for long, boring commutes. With typical Sony excellence, the Vaio hardware mingles very nicely with the OS software, featuring typical tablet tools such as a gyroscope, cameras, a compass, GPS, accelerometers and more while still including the necessary ports and perks for a sedentary office environment.

The Sony Vaio tablet is scheduled for release in late October 2012 to coincide with the debut of Microsoft Windows 8.

What do you think? Do you think the ultrabook will become the next hot device? Does the Sony Vaio tablet fulfill everything you wish your basic tablet had, and more? Leave a comment and tell us your thoughts.

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