In this article, I give you my Sony VAIO Duo 13 review with specs included. This is a Windows 8 full Intel Core Haswell machine with a few has mobile machines on the market. Thirteen point three inches it’s not just a tablet though it has a slider like so. Hey, finally the duo 13 here it is.
I know you’ve been wanting this review and really it is a lovely machine. You know we like the duo 11 quite a lot. There was certainly room for improvement but sunny was one of the first to come up with the Windows 8 convertible machine and it was a pretty neat piece of hardware. Well, they’ve done a lot to change and make things better here without making it much bigger and heavier.
That’s the amazing thing the the duo 11 which is 11.6 inch was about 2.8 6 pounds. This one’s thirteen point three inches in its 2.9 three pounds. So hardly any heavier. And the footprint isn’t much bigger either. This is nice too because when you’re using something that acts like a tablet you want to not have it be too bulky.
Obviously, we have a keyboard over here. Big display full HD triluminos display 1920 by 1080. We’ll talk about that in greater detail. It is available in your choice of what they call white which is this one here which really is a silver body just the whites around on the screen are carbon black. And like the sony pro 13 that we reviewed this is carbon fiber but there’s less flex in it.
So those who are freaked out by that it flex that’s inherent to carbon fiber and it helps it bend without breaking. While you’re not going to have so much of it here this guy is a stiffer model because by sony standards they actually have a lot more space to work with here because this guy is thicker and heavier than the really–we fish via proline. If we take a look at the side.
Cleaner looks already. Instead of that kind of steampunk design we have with the duo 11 with the big flap I was trying to hide a whole lot of wires. Much more simplified kind of thing going on here. There are little hooks that the screen kind of latches into to keep it stable.
And it is very stable here. You have to give a little extra push to make sure it locates into those little hooks right there. Not too much of a biggie. But as we lift it up you can see the hinge has changed completely. And as you move it forward like that see it’s a lot less complex. Now it’s not the easiest to say a thing to see but there are still some wires visible on the front edge.
Most of the time it’s pretty hard to catch a few of those but if you peek and you take a look there’s a couple of wires right inside. This area in here. But not the whole messy conglomeration of stuff that we saw with the duo 11. We have ventilation over here. These are not the speakers. More ventilation out the back and all your parts are at the back.
Tidy people will love this. Everything is in one place and the cords are never going to bump into your left hand or your right hand when you’re using the mouse or anything like that. Of course, you do have to look around and reach behind the machine to find ports. So it’s up to you as to whether you like that or not.
But you can see we have two USB 3.0 ports One offers charging there’s our headphone combo mic jack of 3.5-millimeter. The charging port this uses the same compact charger as the VAIO Pro line and has a built-in USB port to charge your smartphone tablet whatever you have that’s USB.
Full-sized HDMI right here and then we have our combo card slot SD MMC and of course, memory stick some of these favorites right there. And this little notch up top if you have an overseas, not us model it’s available with 3G 4G option. We don’t have that here and there’s a blank covering the hole right there.
But that’s where it would be. So this model does not have 3G 4G and does not have a GPS inside. Nothing really going on on the sides except for we have our power button over here. Small enough so you won’t accidentally press it. You can see the bevel here. Sony’s pretty clever they make this thing look pretty darn slim when it’s closed. Because what you’re going to notice first is the far extremities.
And this is a very thin line that makes it look really sleek. It’s about 0.71 inches at the back and it tapers down much thinner at the front here. Around a third of an inch of the front. But obviously, it cuts down more to allow room for the motherboard. More ventilation over here.
We take a look at the back you can see we have rubber feet very grippy. NFC area right here really honestly easier to use if you’re using it than if you’re using it as a desktop or laptop. An eight-megapixel camera on the back. We have a two-megapixel camera up front. So that’s better than the average imaging thing that you’re getting there.
It actually takes recently decent pictures not as good as some of the best 8-megapixel camera phones we’ve seen including some from Sony but pretty good job. Here is the speaker grille. Now there’s a there is a slope right here a taper so that this is not right against the desk this area so it doesn’t mute itself. And right there we have the oddly placed volume controls and the assist button.
Using this button brings up recovery and everything that you might need driver help all that sort of stuff. It’s really there for when using in tablet mode otherwise on the keyboard you also have control of your volume keys and you can access assist to be an icon on the screen.
On this side here’s something interesting. This is a little removable piece of plastic that comes in the box and that’s the clip for your pen. This has an intrigue digitizer. Works much like a Wacom digitizer. That’s an active digitizer and you can actually clip the pin into here for carrying a trim.
That might get bumped off but it’s better than nothing and it’s fairly secure. This by the way is longer than the duo 11 pin just a little bit about from here on is an increase in length. Makes you feel a bit nicer pen this is a metal body pen quite nice and it uses a quadruple battery inside.
That they say could last up to a year and a half in my experience depends on how much you use. If you use a line might be every six months you have to replace that battery. Also on the side is a little pop-out and that’s the inkwell holder so you can just stick the pen in there when you’re using it in convertible open mode.
So you’ve got a place to put it so you’re not going to say oh gosh where did I leave that on the table at least there are some plugs to keep it tight and handy when you’re using it. Upfront here we have a mechanical clicky home key not capacitive so you won’t accidentally press it. Webcams up their ambient light sensor are there as well.
And we have our full HD as H as Sony calls at triluminos display. Really lovely display for those of you wondering if these are the same panels in the Sony Vaio pro 13. Yes, it is it spec’s out exactly the same very good color gamut. Got 96% of the sRGB color gamut and 73% of Adobe RGB.
And that’s within one point of what we saw on the duo as rather on the pro 13. About the same brightness. We got 250 nits of brightness on the pro 13 and this one managed 255 nits of brightness. So adequately bright not super duper bright. Really lovely colors obviously and fairly accurate too.
With our Spyder calibration, it didn’t have to change the calibration much to achieve better color accuracy. So one of the nicest displays you can get. It is an IPS panel. You can see the viewing angles stay very well other than the fact we’re going to pick up a little glare.
And by the way, as glare goes this controls glare pretty well. Compared to a lot of laptops we’ve reviewed with glossy touchscreens it’s not too horrible. Doesn’t has driven me crazy. Ten points a capacitive multi-touch right here -. Works just fine quite responsive and obviously work so that included digital pen as well.
The contrast is quite high around nine hundred to one just like with our pro 13 again and black levels are also very good. So really lovely for watching movies on this and certainly for those who are involved in the graphic arts it’s going to be fairly color accurate and fairly pleasing something good to work with.
You can see the feet on the bottom where they stick up a little bit right on the back end there. Puts it a little bit of a better angle to use it so that’s kind of a nice concession to usability right there. Also a lot easier to open.
Some people had trouble with the duo love and opening it I didn’t have too much trouble but you can see there’s pretty much a one-touch lift there it is going in push it you can get it clicked onto those feet. That’s about all there is to it.
Here we have a cut-down groove on each side to sync the keyboard down so that it doesn’t touch the back of the machine when it’s closed. And it gives you a fairly comfortable typing area. And now we have an itsy-bitsy area of a little wrist rest place to put your hands which is nice.
And the big change notice you got a trackpad here. It even supports multi-touch that’s awfully teeny I don’t know how super involved you want to get with doing multi-touch. But it works fine after we got Driver updates right out of the box from Sony’s update service.
And absolutely no complaints with the way it works and even though it’s small I find it’s pretty handy for those times when you’re working with small targets like on the desktop here when touching something might be a little hard. And right now we’re running at 100% scaling we don’t have any zoom going on so targets can be pretty small.
Keyboard has fairly good relief really much improved over the dual 11 in general aid just in terms of the size because this is thirteen point three inches so they’ve got a lot more room to work with and they’ve taken advantage of that a little bit better than they did with the duo 11 as well.
So reasonable key high here but honestly it still feels a little flat when you’re typing on it. I have no trouble typing accurately on this I was able to write a review. But the thing is that after a while for those of you who are sensitive to that you just feel like you’re hitting against something hard so you might feel a little finger or wrist fatigue on it. But in terms of actually being able to be productive on it good job.
Obviously, we have the silver model here and unlike the Samsung Series 7 Ultra, now called the ATIV Book 7 which also had a silver keyboard the contrast with the letters is quite good here. So I never found that I had trouble seeing them when the backlight wasn’t on. In fact, in some cases with Samsung, the backlight could actually make things worse.
So yes it’s visible. Obviously the carbon black you’d have even more contrast because you’d have white lettering on the keys. And this is a backlit keyboard that works off the ambient light sensor. You can control the duration of the backlighting but you can’t control the intensity.
The ambient light sensor handles that. And the backlighting on this is not super even. I don’t know if this is just our particular unit or if that’s just par for the course for this. And we’ll show you how it looks in the dark so you can see for yourself.
Compared to my Vaio pro 13 which has super even backlighting I was a bit bummed. I’m is still very usable but some areas are just brighter than others. And here’s what the keyboard backlighting looks like in the dark. And because he is not quite so even.
Right here these keys are just not really as bright and it’s really super bright right over here. The night is bright the 8 and Nas bright. I mean you can see it all and it works just fine but it’s perfectly even as my Vaio Pro 13 is. In terms of configurations and pricing, the base model is $13.99.
With that, you get a core i5 4200 u 1.6 gigahertz and that comes with Intel HD 4400 graphics. Four gigs of RAM 128 gig SSD. What we have is kind of a middle-built-to-order version right here. Fries are actually carrying this for those who have Fry’s Electronics near you.
And this is the core i7 4500 you that’s 1.8 gigahertz still with the Intel HD 4400 graphics 8 gigs of ram and this set up dual channel and 128 gig SSD that’s 16 19. And then there is the top-of-the-line model. You can get the i7 with the 46 50 you 1.7 gigahertz and Intel HD 5000 graphics for a little more graphics boost.
And that’s pretty nice but you’re looking at over 2200 bucks right there to buy that model. And then there’s an 1899 model which is the Core i7 Intel HD 4400 with eight gigs of ram and a 256 gig SSD. If you want you can even get a 512 gig is d with this guy.
You can get it with Windows 8 64-bit or right you can get it with the pro version. If you need that of course you can also upgrade it yourself after is if you want. Memory on this is soldered on board you cannot upgrade it yourself.
Though the SSD drive in theory you should be able to. It’s not been so easy to take apart duos but I’m sure that some adventurous folks will find a way to get the bottom plate off of this and access the internals to do so. You can see our Windows Experience Index here.
It’s pretty good 7.1 4 processor Ram is 7.6 dual-channel so we get higher numbers bearing that 5.9 we often see for single channel ram. 5.9 for graphics for desktop. That’s unusually high often five point four or five-point-five is about as good as you’re going to get with Intel HD 4400 graphics.
3d graphics 6.5 is also very nice and the SSD scores seven point seven. Hours is a Samsung SSD module on there. Often we see eight point one for an SSD. I’m surprised to know a little bit higher but that’s not too bad. Our benchmark scores have been quite good with PC mark seven.
It’s scored a forty-eight hundred even. Now as well for those of you who are new to this whole thing has wells Intel’s fourth-generation core CPU and we haven’t seen a whole lot of performance improvements there. If you’re looking at the Intel HD 5000 version get a little bit tweaked on the graphics but not much.
So it’s about the same as Ivybridge. The big selling point here really is the increased battery life. But 4,800 is a pretty respectable number for our core i7 1.8 gigahertz model with Intel HD 4400 graphics. On 3d mark 11 is scored a 1072 1071 performance.
I would love to know how Sony is doing that because that’s just really high. There aren’t a lot of intel Haswell uld Ultrabook machines out there yet but compared to 636 for the VAIO pro 13 well that’s just wickedly improving. They both have the same Intel HD 4400 graphics.
So nice not bad at all. We’re not talking dedicated graphics level here but it’s always nice to have especially for something that does have a digital pen some of you may want to actually use this with art apps and things that are more graphically demanding.
Speaking of which I’ve actually been playing sieve 5 and really enjoying it and frame rates have been quite good on it. Better again that I’ve noticed on the pro 13. Also, it runs a little cooler and quieter. Now the Pro 13 has an overzealous fan this guy is kind of more mellow.
This is one way to yup about 48 degrees centigrade. So here we are in Civ v so you can see how it runs. And this game has been o running for about an hour and a half now so it’s pretty far along with a fairly complex layout right here. And you can see that fraps are showing us 30 frames per second. I’ve seen it as high as actually 44 which is really kind of hard to believe.
We’re running it at 1920 by 1080 setting 60 Hertz. So that’s pretty darn nice. And we have it in the touch UI mode. So it looked beautiful enough. Framerate holds up even when we zoom out and turns are pretty quick too. I think here the sounds actually quite nice on it too.
And the nice thing is the fan is not roaring right now. And even if we pull to unplug the power adapter which we’re running usually with games you want the best possible performance so you want to run it plugged in. It’s still going to hold up decently. For those who want to play on the go and you don’t have access to power. So just unplug the charger and it’s still holding up just fine.
Turns out to don’t take too long it’s pretty reasonable. Doll mods really a pleasure and the fact that doesn’t get worryingly loud with the fan. And will get warm at the bottom part but you know don’t put this directly on your lap and you’re playing 3d games as for sure. But no than that it’s a good experience. So there’s civ 5 on the Sony Vaio duo 13 with the Core i7 and Intel HD 4400 integrated graphics.
And this is what the charger looks like. Small compact again same ones you get with the VAIO pro and there’s your USB for charging your smartphone your tablet or what do you have whatever you have this USB-based. And though for those of you who aren’t sure if you want to conventional notebook with the touchscreen or convertible designer considering both the pro 13 and the duo 13 here they are together.
And you can see at the front edge they’re both equally thin but our duo 13 does get a little thicker on the back. This guy weighs a lot less this is under two-and-a-half pounds versus 2.9 three pounds. But honestly they’re still both very light. Just really depends on which design you want. They both have same excellent 13.3-inch full HD display. But the pen input is it’s only an option for your duo 13.
That’s included the duo 13 there is no a pin input on a conventional notebook designed like this. Which makes sense it’s not really very easy to write on the screen when you’re only using it in a notebook mode. And now we have it with the Lenovo ThinkPad helix over here.
The 11.6-inch tablet is actually separable from its keyboard dock. Has a Wacom pen so also good for those of you who need pen input. And the thing pad is pretty much uniformly thick and it’s just slightly thinner than the thickest point of the Sony but it’s thicker at the front since it’s uniformly thick.
And the difference in size while this is 11.6-inch so let’s put it right on this Gorilla Glass display here we’re not too worried and you can see the difference in size between the 11.6-inch and the 13.3-inch right there. The duo 13 has NFC Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-band Wi-Fi 802 and this in this case this is Broadcom Wi-Fi and not the intel Wi-Fi we saw on the vo Pro 13.
Interesting that they use different things now the Broadcom has just been working just fine out of the box and I’ve had no range problems. I know some of you had problems with the duo eleven I actually didn’t have too much of a problem.
But even walking 30 feet away from our you know 211 n router I managed to get the same bandwidth download that I did standing three feet away from it which is the maximum rating of our connection 25 Meg’s down 25 Meg’s up. Work just fine works reliably doesn’t drop out. I like it it’s fine.
Now how about battery life. II you know this guy might be a little thicker than the VAIO Pro but still it’s pretty thin. Somehow Sony managed really increased battery life. Then the VAIO Duo 11 didn’t have the greatest battery life about four and a half hours while Haswell has a lot to do with actually helping and has improved battery life and beyond that.
They’ve also significantly increased the capacity of the battery. So inside here we have a six thousand three hundred and twenty milliamp per hour battery inside. It’s insane this thing in sunny claims up to 10 hours of use time and I’ve been easily getting nine hours and I keep the brightness at least 50% since it’s not a wildly bright display with Wi-Fi on and active at all times.
And that’s with some streaming video going on doing MS Office work and doing a whole lot of drawing and painting and a little bit of note-taking too. So yeah this guy is just an energizer bunny. It pretty much is an all-work day-long product. And that’s a screen on time I don’t mean I’m using it for a while then I let it go to sleep I mean actual 9 hours of usage time. Sony bundles ArtRage studio pro 3.5 of this.
We’ve tested that out I’ve also put my own ArtRage 4.0 copy on here and we’ll see how it does. One thing I’ve noticed I don’t know if this is just something going on with our unit or if this is a bug right now but the pencil tool is too light and faint.
You can just barely see that I have to press pretty hard and I have adjusted the pressure curve for the pencil to make it very heavy compared to my finger you can see how heavy that is. But other tools like the paintbrush are handled much better I don’t have it set to be very thick right now so that’s fine. And the airbrush is likewise not too bad.
You see it’s pretty usable as acne airbrushing but it’s a little on the lights compare that to finger input which is very heavy. But anyway it certainly gets the job done other than if you want the pencil – at least for our model right here. And one can draw with it just fine.
And here’s a drawing that’s a little bit further along and I’m using the ink pen since I can’t really use the pencil right now. And that’s working fairly well. Done it’s very accurate there’s no pen offset that sign that’s very nice. It also works right out to the edges of the screen.
We’ve bumped it up to the full screen so you can see just how close the edges I can get are still staying very accurate. Now that’s something that’s very much in favor of intrigue versus Wacom because we know that Wacom pens have had trouble lately with edge accuracy and edge detection. I can just scribble my way to heaven right here on the edges of this screen no problem whatsoever.
The drawback with intrigue is there are no wind tab drivers for Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter and it’s a paint tool. For those who who use those. Now before you blame intrigue they make their API available and it’s actually up to Adobe to develop those they’ve been trying for years to do that and they have something that’s early but not good enough still to send out to users to beta tests.
So my guess is we can keep on waiting for this and probably Adobe’s going to finally switch over to the windows API for pressure sensitivity before they actually have drivers ready for this for the wind tab but we’ll see. It’s still a possibility. Now for other applications that use the modern bin tab API like our trays you do get Photoshop right out of the box.
And then there’s a couple of other applications too. Sony includes there note anywhere and in fact note anytime. In fact, this can open up whenever you pull the pen out of the little holder on the side if you like. This Isetta balapan store is like the Galaxy Tab.
So here it is a note application and nice and smooth and the pen works great there is pressure no problem with it at all being too faint and light some. A built-in notetaking application comes with it. And if we go back to our desktop we’re going to take a look at OneNote next. And it works just fine we have the problem with the tracking circles and all that kind of thing.
Handwriting is pretty darn terrible but let’s see if we can try to convert that. Almost whole oh how are you but it’s pretty close. Works well very quick very smooth operation. So also good for you note-takers those you who need to draw diagrams equations all that kind of stuff good times.
Sony bundles a bunch of apps on here most of these are live tile apps some of them are even shortcuts just to internet services. Of course, we have their own music player which is a bad music player. So I’m not going to complain about that. Access to their services there they’re streaming video and music kind of stuff.
But I actually like that they have a cam scanner here you can kind of use this as a scanner and you can snap pictures of text pages and use some OCR on them to get stuff done. And we have an Arcsoft camera for Vaio which is better than the built-in Microsoft camera application in terms of both image quality that you’re going to get and features. So no complaints there whatsoever.
They have slacker radio where they have a couple of little games Evernote Touch is preloaded. As always anything you don’t want just get rid of it that’s not a problem. Not too much really in the way of heavy-duty bloatware on this. They have their own update tool which of course I really recommend that you keep and Biocare will help you do recovery and all that sort of stuff.
And this is what Sony’s music player looks like. A little jazzier than the Xbox music player will improve with Windows 8.1 released. And that’s what it looks like. And our volume is at 76% right now. Not wildly loud but pleasing sound. Not distorted not Hasina to tinea as something that’s 13 inches goes anyway. Nothing at all.
And certainly good enough for watching and moving if you don’t want to use headphones or speakers or Bluetooth speakers. And now we’ll test out video playback and we’ll use one of our own video reviews to see how that goes. And we’re using the metro version of ie right now. As ever you get two versions with Windows 8. And we’ll bring that to a full 1080p.
Review and today finally we’re going to look at the window screen windows convertibles absolutely fine pieces keyboard dock but this feels a lot like a real notebook when you talking together. Really it’s just a wonderful experience to actually watch movies on this. High quality really nice colors and great contrast levels it’s great for media consumption.
So that’s the Sony Vaio duo 13. It’s available now a little bit hard to find in stores but I’m sure I’ll start popping up more places soon. It’s certainly a very compelling convertible tablet and one of the first with has all. But besides that, we have to say we like it a lot awesome display usable keyboard much improved they’re really quiet really fast not bad. It might be a little pricey but at least you’re getting some good for your money.
Sony VAIO Duo 13