VAIO Duo 13 Convertible Ultrabook
I love it!
I've been studying convertible / touch screen laptops for a long time, and had been eyeing the Sony Duo since it first came out. The initial reviews were great, saw some issues with wifi which Sony eventually resolved (read from prior posts and Sony technical support site). My experience has been nothing short of amazing.
The Sony VAIO is very responsive (fast). The image quality on the display is so crisp, really really clear!!! It's light weight but sturdy. While the innovative mechanism that connects the display to the keyboard / base looks curiously thin, it really does the trick. My wifi connection has been strong at home, office, starbucks, airports (no issues).
While I didn't buy it to be an attention magnet, it is. If you don't want something that clearly makes people forget they are strangers and ask about this amazing looking laptop, then don't get it. If you don't mind it, and you'd love a great great laptop / tablet convertible, then this is a great choice!
I couldn't be happier!
November 19, 2013
Defective Product Design
I am returning my computer tomorrow, and I will be furious if the Sony Store does not back their product.
My brand new laptop from Sony (less than 1 week old) already has a bad LCD. It looks like a pressure spot on the screen, like a circle, taking up 3-5 millimeters of the screen, except I have never dropped my laptop and there are no scratches or signs of damage on the computer or screen. In addition, the screen has LCD bleeding on the edges (an unusual, unnatural white tone on the edges of the screen, against a black background--Google Image Search "LCD screen bleeding", if you are unfamiliar).
I am pretty sure that due to the location of the "pressure spot" on my LCD, that Sony has a design flaw with this particular model of computer. It is a slider/hybrid/tablet/convertible PC, and on the casing on the backside of the LCD there is an intentional protrusion of the plastic, designed by the industrial design team. Anyways, the "spot" is flush with this protrusion on the backside of the LCD.
With my experience working as a computer repair technician, servicing a wide variety of notebooks over 2.5 years, I am sure that the LCD was defective by default, due to the screen bleeding. The "pressure spot" was likely due to an actual defect in design of the laptop, which ultimately caused damage to the already defective LCD.
Other than these issues, the computer is overall just ok. There is a WiFi issue due to the Intel Haswell chipset, that should be resolved with driver updates, eventually.
The mouse trackpad is pure awkward, although adjusting the trackpad's responsiveness in the Windows control panel makes the experience significantly better. Even when I am not using the computer as a tablet, I do still typically need to use the touchscreen aspects of the computer, using a combination of my hands and the stylus.
For handwriting input, Sony should have used a Wacom digitizer instead of an N-trig digitizer, which has much better support and is a much more accurate and a high quality digitizer than the one supplied. Due to the computer having an N-trig digitizer, you will get no pressure support whatsoever with Adobe products, at this time. You will get significant variance from software to software with handwriting input, due to less support of the N-trig digitizer. Using handwriting input on OneNote is phenomenally good and accurate, and if you are a student, like me, you can use this computer to replace paper.
Windows 8 has issues with touchscreen support in particular, and the Windows 8 experience is just not as optimal as Windows 7. Sony should have gave the option to downgrade.
The sliding mechanism is kind of flimsy feeling.
There have been complaints about the WiDi (wireless secondary screen support). I have never used WiDi, but based on experience, the issues that individuals are facing are likely due to drivers or software issues.
October 24, 2013
It's what I was aiting for
This is a review of the stock version with 8gb RAM and 256gb HDD.
My needs include grading and commenting on papers and exams for graduate school students. I wanted a convertible tablet with digital ink capabilities, that was larger than the typical 11.6 inch tablet. I needed something that could handle very large PDF files, so I could read and mark-up coursebooks in PDF form. Ideally, I would be able to replace my iPad and Macbook Air with one device.
Along the way, I tried the Asus Transformerbook TX300. It was too heavy, lacked the digital pen capability, and too slow in handling large pdf files. (It also had defective keyboard unit). I tried the Samsung ATIV 700t. The ATIV 700t had digital ink, but was as sluggish as the Transformerbook with large PDF files, and the screen was too small at 11.6 inches.
I thought a long time before going with this Sony -- not sure I liked the slider form; concerned about the Wifi problems people seemed to have. But, I went with it, and find it to be extremely useable, and a great fit for my purposes.
The slider format, I've discovered, is far superior to the detachable tablet approach in the Transformerbook and the ATIV 700t. For marking papers in MS WORD, I can easily change from typed comments to handwritten comments, just by sliding from notebook to tablet. It's quick, and simple. Durability may be an issue, but I plan to get Square Trade or some other kind of extended protection.
The unit is light enough that I can and do take it with me to work on a daily basis, as I did with the iPad. It boots up very quickly. Easy to use it to get work done in the subway, or wherever.
I have not had any significant Wifi problems. It gets a signal (though weak# two floors below where the router is, and a strong signal on the floor where the router is. I had considered the version with ATT broadband, but decided I could use the mobile hotspot function of my phone. The Sony connected with that Wifi from my phone just fine as well.
Battery life is great. It's reassuring not to have to worry about the computer losing its charge before I lose interest in doing more work.
I've seen that many observers are questioning whether this Sony has any real market. From my perspective, this Vaio Duo 13 has a great design and set of features for students and teachers.
Of course, some things could be better. The key travel is too shallow. As is true with almost all Windows machines these days, the aspect ratio is not right for reading in portrait mode #something that students and faculty would likely want to do#. Windows programs for marking up PDF files are far more cumbersome than is Goodreader for the iPad -- hopefully someone can create a program like Goodreader for Windows 8. #This is not a Sony problem, but something that a person switching from iPad to this might want to consider).
But, again, having a real computer, with real computing power, with a sufficiently large screen, in such a light form, with all my Office and PDF programs, able to handle multiple programs simultaneously without getting bogged down, easily convertible from notebook to tablet, and with the active digitizer -- it's really a great package.
October 19, 2013
Poor Wifi and WiDi
I am very desappointed in finding a problem so serious in conection Wifi on a computer so expensive as vaio duo 13. For the price this ultrabook should at least work perfectly.
The signal is very weak (as the internet speed) even if the computer being in places where other computers presents connection with strong signal. I read in forums that everyone is having the same problem with their Vaios. I hope sony presents a solution to this problem fast.
The widi also not functional when used with the device for the netgear PTV3000. When I can make the connection lag is so great that it is feasible to use. I do not know if it could be a driver problem or something but I hope that sony presents a solution to this problem also.
September 9, 2013