Sony Vaio Duo 13 – Too Much Good Stuff To Fit In This Title

Posted on 05 June 2013 by

Vaio Duo 13 screen

The first reviews of the Sony Vaio Duo 13 are in, the first product pages are up and availability of this not-quite-an-Ultrabook is said to be 9th June. Battery life tests look fantastic and it looks like Connected Standby, aka Active Sleep is on board. Oh, and the TRILUMINOS screen is said to be awesome. There’s so much to talk about…

Before we move on, let’s give a thought to Ultrabook availability. Intel says Ultrabooks based on Haswell will be available at end of ‘back-to-school’ period and yet here’s an Ultrabook. Well actually it isn’t an Ultrabook. Apart from no mention of WiDi and a mono microphone, the GPU is a GT2 model. GT3, dual-slice graphics are said to be going into Ultrabooks so maybe that’s the reason for the delay? We’ll keep a close eye on this availability story as it develops.

Moving on to reviews…

Engadget loves the new ‘Surf Slider’ mechanism, says that the keyboard has a low error rate and is impressed by the pen-wake function. They report good 3D mark scores – well above what we see with today’s Ultrabooks.

Cnet have a basic review available and are adding benchmarks soon.

Let’s talk about battery life. It looks like Sony have but the battery pack behind the screen and although there’s no information on actual capacity the weight of the VGP-BPS36 is 279gm so it can’t be much more than your average 50Wh battery pack. To see a working battery life of nearly 10 hours in Engadget’s tests is very impressive indeed. (See another article on Haswell battery life here.)

What you also need to know is that under a JEITA test – one that would pull the best out of Haswell’s power architecture, Sony are claiming 18 hours which shows just how much of the background power usage has been removed from the Core platform.

The battery life is 15 hours based on MobileMark® 2007. This is equal to 18 hours in JEITA-BAT1.0, 11 hours in JEITA-BAT1.0 (a) and 10 hours in MobileMark® 2012. The actual battery run time will vary depending on the settings and usage condition. (Source)

There’s something else too…

Sony Active Sleep

I’m a big fan of Connected Standby because it requires the best mainboard engineering going. Microsoft have a fairly strict set of standards for it too so despite is sounding like an ‘always on’ feature you might not want, it’s the mark of an efficient system that you do want. Sony doesn’t mention Connected Standby but it looks like they’re re-branding the feature as Active Sleep.

“…constant connection to the internet, even while in sleep mode, gives it the ability to continue updating applications and receiving emails when it’s asleep”

That can only mean Connected Standby. It’s certainly not Intel’s Smart Connect system. The Skype background feature is the showcase Connected Standby app right now but audio streaming is also a good example…

We’ve got a few requests out for the required powerfg report.

 

The 8mp Exmor rear camera appears to be producing good shots and although you won’t use it for family snapshots (and watch-out anyone that tries to hold up a Duo in front of me at a concert) you’ll have the capability if you need it to scan a document. Estate agents are going to love it.

The digitizer layer has been retained from the Duo 11 and it’s still NTrig, not Wacom, which will upset those used to having Photoshop support. The screen stability in this design can’t be under-estimated for pen-lovers. Don’t worry too much about the lack of screen angle adjustment because the IPS wide-viewing-angle screen will help a lot.

Sony have found space for a Mini Touchpad, have included NFC and 3G and LTE options will be available in some area. (source.)

On the downside, it appears that Sony have dropped the Ethernet port. You also need to consider that this baby still weighs nearly 3lb. While that’s great for a 13-inch laptop, it’s not good as a portable tablet for long-term use.

Sony have included Anti-Theft capability (which requires GPS as far as we know) but there’s only a 90-day trial of that. You’ll need to buy a license. Amazon have these for $9.99 per year at the moment but the normal costs is $25-$30 per year.

In summary, what an amazing bit of technology we’re looking at here.  We’ll get a tracking page up for you in the database ASAP.

Sony Germany. Vaio Duo 13 technical specs.

  • Clio

    That battery figure is a pleasant surprise! I wonder if there would still be a sheet battery option?

    Also the dimensions (as seen from mobile geek’s article) seems to be just 1cm wider and 1cm longer than the Duo 11.

    I’m starting to like this machine, but I miss the VGA port, even more than Ethernet.

    It also makes me wonder if Sony could produce a revised Duo11 that is smaller and weights under 1Kg.

    • You won’t be the first person that’s though about a revised Duo 11! [Chippy]

    • Touko

      Iv’e tried the revised Duo 13 in the store…

      That hinge still doesn’t seem very stable. The screen sloppily strays from staying parallel to the base, and opening it was not smooth. Closing it is a little better, but has a tendency to slam shut.

      Do you think the model I tried in the store had been abused, or is it normal like that?

      I know Chippy doesn’t mind slamming, I saw him slap Dell’s 12″ convertible display panel around like he was getting paid for it! WhamBam! That seemed to hold up rather well to the treatment, didn’t skip a beat ;-)

  • Stamos

    Ya, hope to see a smaller and lighter Duo 11.

    As for non adjustable screen angle, I think the biggest issue would being unable to adjust the front camera’s line of sight. All too often, I’ve Skyped with tablet users and I can only see the ceiling, the top of their head or their chest because of the lack of positioning options.

    • JohnCz

      Good point about the potential issues with the front camera’s line of sight. Hopefully they have it mounted at an angle to minimize that.

  • When it says available on 6.9.13, does that mean we should be able to order from Sony on that date? Seems like the only reason this isn’t an ultrabook is that its not an “Ultrabook” am I missing something bad on this?

  • scoobie

    This chip i5 4200 U only comes with HD 4000 graphics though (not 5000), a disappointment??

    • Given the good 3DMark scores, it seems not! It’s better than an Ultrabook, but not an Ultrabook, until the new Ultrabooks come! Ah, even i’m confused!

    • Matt

      I ordered mine and for a hefty price ($270 upgrade price) got the i7-4650u processor with HD 5000 graphics.

      On a side note: Oddly enough, the Vaio Duo 11 came with dual-channel DDR3 memory, while the Duo 13 only has single-channel but it’s LPDDR3 memory…I’ve seen in past tests that dual-channel can provide upwards of 10-25% increase in graphics performance. Though LPDDR3 is suppose to have higher bandwidth, so maybe that is the difference. So while the upgrade to the HD 5000 is supposedly 50%+ graphics performance, I’m curious what the impact will be from the memory itself.*shrug*

      I’ll have to find out in a few weeks (estimated ship date is 6/28, but I got a customized one).

      • The LPDDR is a sign of Connected Standby. I wish someone would actually demo it though. I haven’t been able to get a demo device yet.

      • Martin

        @Chippy
        AnandTech is saying Connected Standby won’t be supported on Haswell until Windows 8.1. Can you confirm this? Could be why it’s not being demoed.

      • @martin. This could explain why it wasn’t mentioned but then why are Sony advertising the capability today? “VAIO® Duo 13’s constant connection to the internet, even while in sleep mode, gives it the ability to continue updating applications and receiving emails when it’s asleep” We’ll have to wait for @matt (above) to test his when he gets it.
        A simple test is outlined here and I can’t understand why no-one has done it yet.
        http://ultrabooknews.com/2013/05/15/see-average-battery-life-and-check-for-connected-standby-on-windows-8/

  • ascariss

    The highest end GPU is the 4400, rumour has it some US models will feature the 5000 but I think engadget made a mistake there.

    There is a hdmi to vga convertor and an adapter to the AC that adds an ethernet ports that doubles as a portable router.

    I really hope that some drivers are updated to get better photoshop support for the pen.

    • Touko

      Its not a mistake.

      Sony USA online store offers it with the i7-4650U, which includes an IRIS 5000 GT3 GPU.

      If you have $1,969 USD laying around that you don’t know what else to do with.

  • DavidC1

    The battery life is said by Engadget review to be equal to previous generation’s original + slice. That’s more than 70WHr.

    • I don’t believe that. I read that too and wonder if Sony said that the battery *life* is equivalent to previous generation’s original + slice.(78Wh) That would weigh more that 290gm and would not fit in the chassis.

  • Me

    Hoping to see a smaller Duo 11 refresh. Even then, an 11.6″ is still awkward to use as a tablet let alone a 13.3″ one and I feel a slider type device emphasizes tablet use more than notebook use. Kind of like getting a keyboard cover for a tablet.

    Even better would be if an OEM comes out with a 10″ slider with a trackpoint (left, scroll and right buttons too) using a Haswell Y series chip.

    • DavidC1

      I’m hoping we’ll see updated Yoga 11S with Haswell and 2.5lb or lighter weight. Basically, Dell XPS 11, but made by Lenovo.

      XPS 11 hardware is compelling, the company that makes it and the support is not.

      • JohnCz

        Unfortunately the Yoga 11S is 3.1lbs … so that would require considerable redesign. Also there is no active digitizer on Yoga which is glaring omission in my opinion.

      • Mark

        @JohnCz

        I’m actually glad there’s no active digitizer because I don’t write (I’d type) and I’m not an artist. I’d rather not pay for something I’d never use.

        For tablet only devices then I’d want an active stylus for mouse hover and pointing accuracy but then I’d rather have a thumb mouse built into the bezel like the Viliv X70 for the same reasons above.

        Anyway, I’d prefer a slider form factor over the Yoga. It just seems awkward. Hoping for a Duo 11 update.

    • Martin

      I want to see some tablet hybrids with emphasis on tablet use. The main thing is that they need to have a max screen size of 10″ or 11″ with bezels just big enough for holding. Beyond that, I feel tablet usage is just too awkward no matter how light the device is.

      I think that the slider form factor is the best for this kind of targeted use and then the traditional twist design is second. I’m not a fan of the Yoga type design at all for tablet use and, of course, slapping a touch panel on a clamshell is last.

      I hope a version 2 of the Duo 11 or one from some other company comes out that’s smaller, replaces the optical trackpoint with a regular trackpoint with a middle button for scrolling and has an adjustable screen angle for better camera alignment. For me, there’s no need for an active digitizer since I’m not an inker nor an artist so that should keep the price down.

  • Pingback: Sony Vaio Duo 13 - specs, prices and quick comparison to the Vaio Duo 11()

  • hkckoo

    Sony Vaio Pro 13 will as first ultrabook have PCIe SDD drive.. any ideas if we can see this in Vaio Duo 13? i would love to see some ADATA SSD from Sandforce in these new ultrabooks. 1.8GB/s read/write, 200 000 IOPS.. just wow.

  • hkckoo

    no :/ i really loved the design of duo 11.. that backplate that covered the cables.. it looked amazing.. duo 13 is.. tinner and more “futuristic”, ok.. but it looks a bit weird (imho) with that plate at back being so small

    • hkckoo

      also, 16GB RAM.. will i live to see a convertible with 16GB RAM option?

      • Alan

        What do you do to need that fast of an SSD and that much RAM on such a slow notebook? The things I do that require fast disk access and that much RAM also require fast 8 core or more Xeons.

  • Osiris

    I dont think this is portable enough to be considered a tablet but its a great looking device none the less. I would say the exciting part is using a little extrapolation and looking at the Haswell battery life on the 6320Mha battery.

    Using rough numbers (assuming 9hrs from engadgets second test) that would equate to around 8.1hrs on a 4900Mhz 11″ screen. Using the first test of 11hrs would equate to around 9.3hrs.

  • DavidC1

    Osiris :
    I dont think this is portable enough to be considered a tablet but its a great looking device none the less. I would say the exciting part is using a little extrapolation and looking at the Haswell battery life on the 6320Mha battery.
    Using rough numbers (assuming 9hrs from engadgets second test) that would equate to around 8.1hrs on a 4900Mhz 11? screen. Using the first test of 11hrs would equate to around 9.3hrs.

    Osiris, mAH numbers are a BAD way to judge battery life, because voltage differs significantly. Only Whr is a relevant number.

    • It looks like a 4 cell battery in some pics I saw today so probably 2S2P design at 7.2v – 45wh.

  • valrond

    The prices in Europe are up.
    Starting at 1500€ or 1300 pounds, it’s VERY expensive. I was waiting for this one to come, but it’ll stay at Sony Store.

  • Touko

    I’d like a Duo 13 where I can adjust the display angle to suit my seating position.

    This single angle just doesn’t cut it. Seems Acer kinda understood that when they made the R7

    • JohnCz

      Similiar sliders from MSI & Toshiba do that but from what I can tell .. those mechanisms didn’t look very robust. I agree it should be adjustable somehow. Besides cost another reason they might have gone with a fixed angle display is they might have wanted to enable pen usage in the open mode and not have the display move all around. For me, I want to use the digitizer for take notes while in tablet mode.

      • Touko

        Yes, for me, it would also be enough to use the digitizer in tablet mode.

        I’d do terrible at hand writing or drawing on a steeply slanted surface.

        These hinge and slide mechanisms can’t exactly be cheap either. Two displays like in Asus’ Taichi might be the better way to go after all.

  • DavidC1

    Steve Chippy Paine :
    It looks like a 4 cell battery in some pics I saw today so probably 2S2P design at 7.2v – 45wh.

    Check your message. :)

  • $2600 for the top-end ready-to-ship! Yikes! I’ll have to wait until competition brings it down (I hope). Has everything I’ve been waiting for though.

  • scoobie

    I thought Sony were in a rush to get this device out and get some orders in and I was right – the Samsung convertible that has just be launched pretty much beats it on features in every respect. They must have known Samsung was coming out with a hawell convertible.

    • Matt

      I still don’t see anything outside of resolution that really convinces me the Samsung Ativ Q is better. And the display on my Duo 11 looks better than my wifes iPad 4, or even my Catleap at 2560×1440 for color and still looks very crisp.

      With the design and specs of the Duo 13 I configured I still prefer it. Unless the Samsung was much lighter with longer battery life, I’d still go with the Duo. The Android apps is a cool feature but I wouldn’t say that’s a huge benefit except from the compatibility aspect.

      • Touko

        How about if the Samsung is much sturdier and easier to access for service, upgrades or fan cleaning?

    • Matt

      Oh, and with the trackpad they’ve added on the Duo 13 over the 11…which for some reason Samsung went with the optical nub with this new device, I like the options Sony offers between the two.

      • Touko

        While I don’t normally use neither trackpad nor thinkpad nub, I much I prefer the nub for emergency use.

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