Sony's tabletop Windows 8 slate, the VAIO Tap 20, made its debut at last year's IFA, so it's only fitting that we're back in Berlin to meet the successor. Dubbed the VAIO Tap 21, the follow-up packs a slightly larger, 21.5-inch display, and its design is more sophisticated, to boot.
In addition to boosting the PC's dimensions by an inch and a half, Sony's bumped up the touchscreen's resolution from 1,600 x 900 to a full 1,920 x 1,080. It's still an IPS panel, as the impressive viewing angles made clear in our hands-on time, and it still offers software programs such as Family Paint to take advantage of the 10-point multitouch. What's more, the company says it made the Tap 21 50 percent thinner than its predecessor, and we're looking at about eight pounds versus ten. Processor options include Core i5 and Core i7 Haswell chips, and the Tap 21 will be available with an SSD or hybrid hard drive.
Interestingly, though the Tap 21 is a far cry from "portable," Sony plans to sell a carrying bag. (Okay, an especially good packer could probably wedge this guy into a sizable carryon -- and the machine's internal battery does make it suitable for a trip away from the outlet.) On the price front, all we're getting is "comparable with the Tap 20." That mobile desktop launched with an $880 base price, so draw your own conclusions.
Sony VAIO Tap 21 hands-onSee all photos
Sony VAIO Tap 21See all photos
Dana Wollman contributed to this report.
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SONY INTRODUCES FALL LINEUP OF VAIO® PCs
New Line Features Full Range of Elegant Convertibles and the World's Thinnest Windows 8 Tablet PC With Intel® Core™ Processor Family
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, September 4, 2013 – Sony today introduced a bold new line for fall including a new form factor PC, VAIO® | Flip PC, featuring the flexibility of a convertible with the computing power of a traditional clamshell PC, the world's thinnest Windows 8 tablet with Intel® Core™ Processor family, the VAIO® Tap 11 Tablet PC*, and the next evolution of the mobile all-in-one PC, VAIO Tap 21, encompassing portability, power and beautiful design.
"Consumers want the portability and convenience of a tablet but don't want to sacrifice PC power, said Pedro LaFarga, SVP, Sony VAIO & Networked Products Division. "With Sony's new VAIO | Flip PC and VAIO Tap 11 form factors, they don't have to. Sony will continue to lead the fast changing PC industry, offering new experiences in both productivity and play while always incorporating the best technologies from our display, imaging and audio groups."
Drawing on Sony's TV heritage of delivering the best picture quality, the new VAIO | Flip PC and VAIO Tap models feature TV technology resulting in a sharp and gorgeous Full HD 1920 x 1080 display (select models with have a high resolution 2880 x 1620 display with 4K HDMI output ). The TRILUMINOS™ Display for mobile technology recreates incredibly rich natural colors. With a wider color range, the technology renders hard to reproduce reds, blues, and greens more accurately, giving mobile devices the ability to display intense colors better than ever before.
In addition to TRILUMINOS Display for mobile, the new VAIO PCs employ Sony's picture engine, X-Reality™ for mobile, which analyzes each image and reproduces lacking pixels to optimize quality for the sharpest videos. The combination of these technologies ensures that VAIO users experience a level of video quality that exceeds expectations.
The front-facing camera powered by Exmor R® for PC CMOS Sensor developed by Sony, captures sharp, clear images even in low light conditions. Fused with Sony's ClearAudio+ technology, the new PCs deliver a louder and clearer sound that is distinctly Sony. With unique sound processing technologies, listeners hear dynamic bass and soaring highs with ultimate clarity and presence with less distortion for an unmatched music or movie experience.
VAIO | Flip PC
The unique design of VAIO | Flip PC maintains the full functionality of a conventional notebook PC with the ability to switch between laptop, tablet and viewer modes – the perfect blend of productivity and entertainment. Utilizing a unique 2nd hinge, the display can flip, allowing the PC to change from laptop to tablet or viewer modes. Tablet mode is best for browsing the web, taking pictures and writing with the optional Active Pen. By flipping the display over, users can access viewer mode, a form that is the best for watching videos and movies or showing the screen to someone sitting opposite.
Available in 13-inch, 14-inch and 15-inch models, VAIO | Flip PC is beautifully crafted in both black and silver aluminum and features a full pitch backlit keyboard, gesture enabled touch pad and palm rest for comfortable typing. VAIO | Flip PC includes a USB 3.0 port capable of charging personal devices on the go even when the computer is powered down or in sleep mode. In addition, there is a USB charging port housed within the AC adapter (VAIO Fit 13A | Flip PC and VAIO Tap 11 models only). The VAIO Fit 13A | Flip PC weighs a mere 2.6 lbs. The 14" and 15" VAIO | Flip PC weigh 4.2 lbs., and 4.6 lbs., respectively.
VAIO | Flip PC models are equipped with fourth generation Intel® Core™ processors with up to Core™ i7, Solid State Drive (standard on 13") and Hybrid Hard Drive (standard on 15", optional on 14") as well as optional NVIDIA® graphics -- up to 2GB -- (VAIO Fit 14A | Flip PC and VAIO Fit 15A | Flip PC), delivering maximized performance that masters the most demanding tasks, whether you're watching a movie, creating a multimedia presentation or gaming, all with great battery life.
VAIO Tap 11
Available in both black and white options, the new VAIO Tap 11 Tablet PC is the world's thinnest (0.39") Windows 8 Tablet PC with Intel® Core™ Processor family. * Featuring an aluminum magnetic full pitch keyboard/cover with a touch pad, users can be as productive as they are on a traditional notebook PC. In addition, the keyboard uses magnets to easily attach to the display when it is not being used, providing a cover and charging the keyboard in this position. VAIO Tap 11 models are also equipped with fourth generation Intel Core processors with up to Core i7 and Solid State Drives for powerful performance.
Users can stay productive and entertained throughout the day on the new VAIO Tap 11 model with up to 6 hours of battery life , an SD card reader, USB 3.0 and micro HDMI as well as Intel® Wireless Display (WiDi), which easily streams the computer screen directly to your compatible HDTV.
Camera and Pen solutions
The 8-megapixel rear-facing camera on VAIO Fit 13A | Flip PC and VAIO Tap 11* features the Exmor RS for PC image sensor and makes it possible to take images of documents that are clear enough for the computer to recognize and process text. The Exmor RS for PC image sensor technology combined with the CamScanner application enables users to take crisp images of documents using the computer's camera as if it were a scanner and edit and organize multiple documents. CamScanner has the ability to straighten images of documents and photos taken at odd angles, allowing individuals to focus on taking photos of important material instead of lining up the perfect shot. CamScanner also uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to convert the words in an image to text.
The accurate pressure sensitive Active Pen allows for an even more accurate and natural writing experience. Users can take notes in the memo taking application, VAIO Paper, or easily crop an image with VAIO Clip using intelligent edge detection technology.
In addition, VAIO is collaborating with Adobe to offer the best environment for creatives. Users will be able to enjoy Active Pen in the update of Adobe Illustrator® Creative Cloud (sold separately) and Adobe Photoshop® Creative Cloud (sold separately).
VAIO Tap 21
Sony was first to market with the portable all-in-one segment with VAIO Tap 20. Its successor, VAIO Tap 21, is about 30 percent lighter. Now encased in aluminum with clean edges and a diamond cut VAIO logo, VAIO Tap is sleeker than ever.
The new tabletop PC now features a freestyle stand which allows users to easily change the angle of the screen with one hand. Thanks to the internal battery, VAIO Tap 21 can be carried around the home or laid flat on a coffee table for the whole family to play games on the large screen.
Users can also stand VAIO Tap 21 upright and use it as a fully-functioning desktop PC to work on documents, surf the web and check emails or use the device to display a presentation with the supplied wireless keyboard and mouse.
VAIO Tap 21 comes with applications that are optimized for responsive 10-point multi-touch operation, including Fingertapps™ Organizer, and a calendar app for family members to communicate digitally via posted to-do lists and recorded messages and videos. VAIO Tap 21 will be available with a Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and can be configured with a Solid State Drive or Hybrid Hard Drive.
High Level of Standard Features
With NFC (Near Field Communication) one-touch technology, users can quickly stream music, download photos, and enable Bluetooth® connections by simply tapping a compatible Android or Windows Phone smart phone or a wireless speaker to the new VAIO | Flip PC and VAIO Tap models.
The new PCs also make great partners for your TV and home entertainment system. With the TV SideView app (available for free via the Windows Store) users can search for detailed information about the movies or programs they are currently watching as well as related content. By using an optional USB IR adapter (IR built into VAIO Tap 11), users can change the channel or control the volume via the app in the same way that one would use a universal remote control. Using VAIO Remote control application, users can operate other devices that communicate via infra-red technology, such as BluRay Disc™ players and home theaters, from their PC.
Also included with both VAIO | Flip PC and VAIO Tap models is ArtRage® Studio, the premiere digital arts software. ArtRage Studio offers natural painting tools such as oil paints and watercolors, along with utilities to make painting easier for anyone who wants to paint or draw on their computer regardless of skill level.
For those who want to try their hand at video creation and music recording, VAIO | Flip PC and VAIO Tap 21 models include a pre-installed version of Sony Imagination Studio™ VAIO® Edition software, about a $200 value, including four powerful Sony applications: Movie Studio Platinum, ACID™ Music Studio, Sound Forge™ Audio Studio software.