by Dragan Petric
Apart from many new smartphones from the Xperia series or the new Xperia tablet, the most interesting thing at Sony’s IFA exhibition area were devices with Windows 8: especially their wild new all-in-one desktop, the Sony Vaio Tap 20. Among just a few all-in-one device announcements with Microsoft’s new Windows 8 OS, this is one of the first I’ve seen with a manufacturer-installed copy of Windows 8 on board.
Here is my final impression: Microsoft has really done an amazing job when it comes to adjusting the new Windows to all types of touchscreen computers and truly, as promised, this is a platform which works equally well on tablets, notebooks and desktops.
Sony’s Vaio Tap 20 looks like a huge tablet (and can be used as one – sort of) with a 16:9 ratio 20-inch IPS screen and a 1600 x 900 pixel resolution. Its relatively small mass for such a computer helps it in the mission of being used as a tablet – it weighs 5.25 kilograms (just under 12 pounds). This ‘desktablet’ can be connected to a keyboard and mouse just like every other all-in-one, but this is not strictly necessary.
The screen has a 10-point multitouch display, which did not feel as precise as those on Sony’s smartphones and tablets; in reality, this was only a shortcoming in situations when the Windows 8 menu had to be dragged from the edge of the display.
What some will find an advantage and others a flaw is the display’s glossy surface that enables an exceptionally wider viewing angle, greater sharpness and color vivacity than other displays. Regrettably, it also offers a great reflection and a mirror finish. The users can even see themselves in the screen while using dark desktop wallpaper.
The computer offers excellent performance, but again, more thanks to Windows 8 and not its hardware specs. Sony didn’t exactly pack the Tap 20 full of high-end components, but outside of hardcore gaming, it’ll be able to hold its own just fine. With a preliminary price point of around USD $1400, there’s an Intel Core i5 3317U processor, a 1 TB hard disk (only 5400RPM!), and 4 GB of RAM.
Sony designed the Tap 20 to lay down and be used with just the touch display, but don’t be fooled into thinking that this new all-in-one is just a very large tablet. It’s true: there is a built-in battery within the Tap 20’s confines, though Sony isn’t looking to give you hours of life with it. Instead, it’s included solely to make moving the Tap 20 around the house without having to power it down. It’s a little odd, but then again, it’s also Sony.
This is an above average all-in-one computer with the OS being one of its most attractive components. Time will tell if Sony finds success with the new Tap 20, but if so, the company has left itself ample room for new models with better specifications, like full HD screens, solid state drives, and more.