It's almost as if Sony reads our laptop reviews! After testing out the VAIO Flip 15 convertible, we concluded that while the design was innovative, but didn't quite make sense for a machine that large. At the time, the smallest machine in the line was the 13-inch model, but that came with a different trade-off: At $1,100, it was the most expensive of the bunch. Now, Sony's going even smaller, and it's lowering the price of entry too: The company just announced the 11-inch Flip 11A, which starts at a more reasonable $799.
Like its big siblings, the 11A has a 1080p screen that can flip back so that the display is facing away from the keyboard (yep, sort of like the Dell XPS 12). Speaking of the screen, this too uses Sony's Triluminos color-reproduction technology, which first made its debut on the company's Bravia televisions. All told, though, it might make more sense to compare the Flip 11 not to the bigger Flips, but to the VAIO Tap 11, Sony's first Windows 8 tablet. Both have 8-megapixel cameras using Sony's Exmor imaging technology, and both have an N-trig digitizer allowing for pressure-sensitive pen input. Also, both start around $800, which means you can expect similar specs on the inside, too. In this case, that means a quad-core Bay Trail (Pentium) CPU to start, though if you wanted, you could go all the way up to a Core i7 chip instead.
Sony VAIO Fit 11A
Sony VAIO Flip 11A hands-on
One other important (but perhaps obvious) difference: Having a built-in keyboard makes the Flip 11 quite a bit heavier (2.82 pounds versus 1.7). Then again, the typing experience will surely be better than what you'd otherwise get on Sony's flimsy wireless keyboard, so keep that in mind if you plan on using this to get real work done. Look for this guy to ship sometime next month, though odds are, we'll be getting hands-on before then (read: in a few moments).
Finally, in less headline-grabbing news, Sony also announced that its existing Flip 13, 14 and 15; Tap 11; Tap 21; Duo 13; and Fit 14E and 15E will ship with Windows 8.1, along with Adobe Photoshop Elements 12. Additionally, the Pro 11, Pro 13 and Tap 21 are getting upgraded with faster 802.11ac WiFi. If you're interested in buying, you'll want to mark your calendars: The Fit 14E/15E are coming later this month; the Flip laptops, Tap 11 and Tap 21 will ship in February; and the Pro 11, Pro 13 and Duo 13 will go on sale sometime in April.