Sony Vaio Tap 20 review
The 20in screen seems massive, at least when compared to the laptops most people tout around their homes. The display resolution of 1,600x900 is sufficient for its size, and though not Full HD, such high-quality video looks great on it.
We particularly liked being able to flip the PC into portrait mode when working on text documents or reading long web articles. This mode meant that we were able to comfortably fill our screen with text, without all the usual wasted space on each side. If you're using the PC in its more conventional landscape orientation, you can fold the PC down to flat just by pushing firmly at the top of the screen with one finger. Laid flat on a table, the Tap 20's big enough for several people to view and use at once. It even comes with some multi-touch family drawing games to show this off.
The most annoying characteristic of the display is its extremely glossy finish. In portrait mode, it was particularly prone to blinding reflections of ceiling lights across the upper part of the screen. Meanwhile, the characteristically darker tones of games and movies means that you'll get to see a lot of your own reflection if you watch in a brightly lit room. The high-gloss finish also picks up fingerprints quite easily, but these aren't too noticeable except on very dark screens and they clean up well. It's also pleasingly tough, standing up well to our attempts at drawing and tapping at games.
The ten-point touchscreen is brilliantly sensitive, whether you're trying to control a casual game or flip through Windows 8's Start Screen, and the display has none of the grittiness that we've seen from some cheaper touchscreens. Image quality is also fantastic, with very even lighting and bright, rich colour reproduction. Colours are perhaps a little artificial in their intensity, but the overall effect is flattering and even skin tones - always a challenge - looked natural. While the PC's glossy reflectivity can be annoying if you've got awkwardly positioned lights, we can't imagine the Tap without said gloss finish, either.
Although the stand at the back lets you choose between landscape and portrait orientations, there's not much flexibility in terms of what angle you have it at, particularly in portrait mode. We'd love to see a wall-mounting dock for the Tap, allowing it to be clipped in and out of place, but there are no integrated mounting options.
Typically for a Sony device, the Tab comes installed with a lot of trial software that you're not going to need, register or use, including a copy of Microsoft Office 2010 with a time-limited free trial (as opposed to the free Starter edition). There's also a casual games portal and a trial edition of McAfee Internet Security. You're best off removing the vast majority of the pre-installed software before doing anything else.
The Tap 20 feels like a genuine step forward in all-in-one PC design: lighter, better looking and more portable than anything else on the market. It's all rather futuristic, even compared to other all-in-ones, let alone regular desktop machines. At £999, it's rather expensive, but there's nothing quite like it on the market. We can see it finding a home in a style-conscious sitting room or front office or as a family entertainment PC. It's brilliant to use, very tactile and we'd love to have one.
Feature or menace?
You state the Vaio has a built-in battery as if this is a good thing!
What it *actually* means is that if/when the battery develops a fault you have to buy a whole new PC or send it back to the factory. Also you can't just carry a spare battery around in case it runs down away from an electrical source, because you can't swap them out.
Also being able to move a *LAPTOP* around from room to room without plugging it in is hardly new nor is it a unique feature. You can do that with *every* mobile device since the first laptops were invented. That's the *whole point* of batteries.
By CeltiKaos on 3 Dec 2012
Or instead of sending it back...
...to the factory if you need to replace the battery, you could actually read owners manual to discover you could change the battery yourself.
By Ignorance_is_bliss on 5 Feb 2013
We probably should have included a photo of this
Ignorance_is_bliss is correct. As we mentioned in the review, the rectangular plastic panel on the back with 'Vaio' written on it comes off to reveal a standard Sony laptop battery, which is entirely user-replaceable.
By kat_orphanides on 5 Feb 2013
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