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Sony Vaio Duo 13 Slider Convertible Review

vaio duo 13I was recently in the market for a new laptop to replace my aging Sony Vaio Z series laptop. I have always been partial to the Sony Z series and have been using them as my mobile workhorse for years. So I was disappointed when I saw that they were no longer offering that model anymore.

What was I to do then? I started researching every similar spec’d machine I could find and after a couple months of research I keep coming back to the Vaio Duo 13.

I started searching for reviews on the Vaio Duo 13 and saw that a lot of the reviewers were professionals; not IT professionals who would be carrying it around all day, but professional reviewers who get a demo unit for a couple of weeks so they can play with it and write a review. So, they basically had nothing to lose because they didn’t have to buy it and didn’t appreciate the form factor because it wasn’t their primary machine.

After reading every review I could find on it and constantly talking to my wife about it; she’d finally heard enough and dragged me to a Sony store in one of the malls near my work so I could look at it, touch it, and grill the sales staff.

While playing around with it, I noticed how surprisingly sturdy the hinge felt, and how wide the viewing angle was regardless of the fixed angle of the display when it was in laptop mode. Still, I decided I needed to think about it a little more because everything most of the reviewers listed as cons were not really cons in my eyes.

Was I missing something they had seen? I had to be sure for a purchase like this. Nevertheless, a week later I ordered the Vaio Duo 13 from Sony’s website.

You may ask why I ordered it online from Sony instead of buying it at the store. Well, unfortunately none of the preconfigured laptops at the store had the specs I was looking for. I wanted the I7-4650, the Intel HD 5000 graphics and the broadband modem with the 256GB SSD drive. None of the store units had all of this, so as per my usual MO I ordered it from Sony’s website so I could get exactly what I wanted rather than settle for what they had in the store.

I have now had the machine for over a month and I can honestly say that I have not been disappointed. I can genuinely say that I am an extreme power user. I not only run an eCommerce site, but I also handle all of the IT administration and support as well as custom programming for 2 different companies.

So, on any given day, I can be creating banners and graphics for our site, creating an email campaign in Photoshop, maintaining and updating various custom programs in Visual Studio, researching and compiling offers for inventory purchases, or managing our inventory in any one of our 3 warehouses. So I need something that is powerful, portable and flexible. I can honestly say the Vaio Duo 13 fits the bill.

The graphics on the unit are excellent and the stylus, even though it is not a Wacom digitizer, works well for the basic Photoshop functionality that I need. It would probably not be good enough for a graphic artist, but for my needs it is perfect.

I have read a lot of posts complaining about the WIFI issues and can tell you that after you update to the latest drivers it is a non-issue. Boot up times on the unit are extremely fast, plus the touch screen is very responsive and accurate whether it is in laptop or tablet mode.

Regarding battery life on the Vaio Duo 13, I consistently get 8 to 9.5 hours of use out of a charge. I have had days where I have spent the whole day working in one of our warehouses without plugging it in and still had 25% battery life left when I went home.

Also, the tablet mode comes in handy when you are in a meeting or need to look up something while on the move. I’ve really enjoyed the convenience of the tablet mode since I’m often in the warehouse moving between cartons and boxes, too.

Summary:

If you are a power user and you are looking for an ultraportable workhorse; the Sony Vaio Duo 13 definitely fits the bill. The unit has plenty of power to spare, all day battery life, and you basically get 2 systems (a laptop and a tablet) in one. I can honestly say that I do not use the table mode all that often, but when it is not convenient to use in laptop mode, the tablet functionality is a god send.

Would I buy one again: Yes.

Would I suggest one to a friend: Yes.

 

By Al LaPeter

Al LaPeter on Google+

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