Core i5 2-in-1’s. Sony Vaio Tap 11, Dell Venue Pro 11 or Microsoft Surface 2 Pro?

Posted on 08 November 2013, Last updated on 08 March 2020 by


These three very interesting products define the new PC. Highly dynamic, lightweight, touch-enabled, long battery life 2-in-1’s. Many of you have these three on your list. They are the #1, #2 and #3 most viewed Ultrabook alternatives and ride high in the Ultrabook and Ultra-Mobile PC category. The Sony Vaio Tap 11, Dell Venue Pro 11 and Surface Pro 2 are all excellent products and it’s tough to choose between them but there are definite differences. Read on…

Sony Vaio Tap 11 - 2Sony Vaio Tap 11 – 11.6-inches. $1049 for Core i5 (Y) + 4GB.

The Tap 11 has the biggest screen and the overall biggest size but it weighs only 780 grams / 1.72 pounds which is lighter than the Surface Pro 2. The reason for that is because it’s got a 30Wh battery (some reports say 28.5Wh) which is small compared to the 42Wh battery in the Surface Pro 2. Expect 5-6 hours life though and because of the smaller battery, a more useable tablet in casual situations. The Sony Vaio Tap 11 is available with Pentium, Core i3 and Core i5 versions but note that the Core i3 and Core i5 are part of the low-power Y-Series. The Tap 11 will not be as powerful as the Surface Pro 2 but will definitely be good enough for all daily activities and as an average office desktop.

N-Trig Digitizer.  HD4200 graphics, NFC, Exmor RS 8MP rear cam, wireless keyboard 1.1mm stroke, Full USB3.0, MicroSD, Micro HDMI, Intel WiFi and WiDiwith 2.4 and 5Ghz.

Min. tablet and keyboard weight: 1.72 + 0.7 pounds (estimated) = 2.42 pounds / 1097 grams (est.)

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dlpro11_travel_keyboard_081300xx_hands00376_ALTDell Venue Pro 11 – 10.8 inches. $849 for Core i5 (Y) + 4GB,  $129 for keyboard ($159 for keyboard with 28Wh battery) (Min $978 for tablet and keyboard) Digitizer pen is not included in standard retail packages. ($35 extra)

If you want the lightest tablet, the Dell Venue 11 Pro is the one, if you’re prepared to take an Atom-based version. The Core i5 versions we’re looking at here are 834 gram / 1.84 pounds. There’s a 32Wh battery inside which isn’t as big as the one you get with the Surface 2 Pro but it is replaceable. $79 buys you a second battery. $159 buys you a keyboard with a battery too.  The Y-Series Core i5 won’t be as powerful as the Core i5 on the Surface 2 Pro but as with the Tap 11, should be fine for the average PC user and should work well as a desktop replacement.

Synaptics Digitizer. HD4200 graphics,  NFC, 8Mp rear cam, connected keyboard options, Full USB3.0, Micro HDMI, Dell WiFi (2.4 + 5Ghz support)

Min tablet and keyboard weight: 1.84 + 0.69 pounds = 2.53 pounds / 1147 grams

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Microsoft Surface Pro 2 – 10.6 inches. $999 for Core i5, 4Gb, 128GB. Keyboard $119 ($129 for mechanical keyboard, power keyboard price unknown)

More power and more battery life comes with a slight weight gain. 907 grams / 2 pounds is going to be noticeably more than Sony Vaio Tap 11. It’s slightly smaller in total size but comes with a smaller screen. The U-series Core i5 will be significantly faster than the Y-Series of the Dell and Sony under some conditions. Price, today, is a little higher than the Tap 11 and about $150 more than the Dell Venue Pro 11 although they’re all in the same ballpark. One advantage of the Surface is the ecosystem of accessories and community which does a lot to improve the after-sales experience. There’s 200GB SkyDrive storage for 2 years ($100 per year) and 1 year of Skype minutes and WiFi access included.  Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT is also included.

Wacom Digitizer, HD4200 graphics, 2Mp rear cam, keyboard options, Full USB3.0, Micro SD, Mini DisplayPort, Marvell WiFi. (2.4Ghz + 5Ghz.)

Min tablet and keyboard weight: 2 pounds + 0.41 = 2.41  pounds / 1095 grams.

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Compare all three side-by-side.


Current information indicates that none of the solutions support Connected Standby although that can only be confirmed for the Surface Pro 2 right now.

Availability (USA)

  • Surface Pro 2: Now
  • Dell Venue 11 Pro: Indicated early Dec
  • Sony Vaio Tap 11: Indicated Mid Nov



Here’s a summary of the unique features of each device.

The Surface Pro 2 clearly offers better battery life and more CPU power. It’s the most expensive and the heaviest solution with the smallest screen. The Wacom Digitizer could be better for creative types.

The Dell Venue 11 Pro offers some truly interesting options in the removable battery, battery keyboard and dock. It’s also the cheapest for tablet+keyboard at current prices and offers a tablet-only entry point at $849

The Sony Vaio Tap 11 offers the best casual tablet experience based on the light weight. On the desktop, that Tap 11 screen could be the most productive. Only one keyboard option is available and it’s not optional.


  • HP Split X2 – Heavy but cheaper with more connections. $949 gets you the complete package with Core i5-4202Y but with a 13-inch screen at 1920×1080. No digitizer. $60 buys an add-on battery. Total weight of tablet 2.2 pounds. Total weight of tablet+keyboard: 4.39 pounds.
  • Lenovo Yoga 11 – Non detachable convertible at 2.97 pounds / 1.35KG is $1000 (expected price.)
  • Dell XPS 11 – Non detachable rotating screen at 2.5 pounds / 1.13kg is $1199

Note: All prices based on best found.

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Your Opinion

As always, welcome in the comments below.

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