Sony's VAIO Duo 11 Windows 8 slider goes on sale this month, starts at $1,100

@ 2012/10/12
At least in the beginning, most of the made-for-Windows-8 devices you're going to see will have a very similar form factor -- namely, a tablet that slots into a detachable keyboard dock. Sony, though, is taking a different tack: the outfit is ignoring the hybrid trend altogether and will instead sell the VAIO Duo 11, one of a select few slider PCs to hit the market. Though we already got hands-on, we're just now learning about pricing and availability: the company just announced that the Duo is coming out October 26th (the same day as Windows 8) and will start at $1,100.

That's a lofty price, to be sure, but with a spec sheet that includes Ultrabook guts, a backlit keyboard, NFC, GPS and a 1080p, IPS, Gorilla Glass display, we don't see how it could've cost much less. Take a gander at the design, and you'll see it's mostly made of magnesium alloy and, having handled it ourselves, we can attest to the sturdiness of the hinge mechanism. Compared to other sliders, which often make do with cramped keyboards, this offers a reasonably spacious layout, though it comes at the expense of a trackpad. Indeed, there's no touchpad here; just an optical pointing stick. (Thankfully, it seems pretty precise.) Additionally, the Duo 11 supports pen input, and comes with a dual digitizer pen that can recognize 256 levels of pressure sensitivity. As a tablet-like device, it has not one, but two cameras, both capturing at 2.4-megapixel resolution.

Continuing our tour of the device, the 2.84-pound system is home to a surprisingly robust collection of ports, including HDMI-out, two USB 3.0 sockets, an Ethernet jack (!), memory card slot, headphone jack and VGA. Yes, VGA. This might be a good time to clarify that Sony envisions this as a machine for road warriors, though it comes not with Windows 8 Professional, but Home Premium. That would also explain the battery situation: in addition to the built-in 4,960mAh cell, it will be offered with an optional slice battery that promises to double the runtime. Bonus: the spare has its own AC port, so you can plug it directly into the outlet. Again, the Duo 11 starts at $1,100 with a Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD (you can upgrade to a 256 drive and a Core i5 or 7 CPU if you wish). That's all she wrote for now, but check out our hands-on for more photos and a quick video.

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