Sony already has one of the thinnest Android tablets around in the water-resistant Xperia Tablet Z, and now the company has introduced the world’s thinnest Windows tablet PC. Measuring a mere .39 inches thick, the Tap 11 is going right after the Surface Pro with a detachable battery-powered keyboard that magnetically attaches to the front of the tablet.
We went hands-on with the Tap 11 to see what this ultra-thin slate has to offer.
True to form, Sony has made sure that its VAIO Tap 11 is every bit as aesthetically pleasing as its laptop counterparts. The keyboard’s backing, which serves as the slate’s lid, is available in an attractive brushed aluminum silver or black. To use the slate, you simply slide the keyboard cover off the tablet, place the keyboard on a flat surface and begin typing. We found the magnetics used to keep the keyboard attached to the slate to be somewhat lacking during our hands-on, though Sony said it is still fine tuning the design.
Similar to the Surface, a foldable kickstand on the rear of the Tap 11 allows you to prop up the Tap 11 while using the keyboard. This plastic stand doesn’t feel as sturdy as the Surface’s but the keyboard has a better feel than either of Microsoft’s too options. You’ll also find a decent size touchpad built in.
Sony equipped the Tap 11 with a 1920 x 1080p Tri-Luminous IPS display, complete with the company’s X-Reality driver. The result is a bright display that offers beautifully vibrant colors.
To further increase the Tap 11’s functionality, the slate’s includes an active stylus, which can be used to write or draw on the tablet’s screen. Unfortunately, the Tap 11 does not have a built-in slot to hold your stylus. Instead, you have to attach an optional stylus holder to the rear of the slate.
Sony did, however, equip the Tap 11 with a built-in IR blaster, giving users the ability to control their TVs and entertainment centers using the slate. An included TV Side View app gives you the ability to look up information on shows and movies, including the names of actors and other interesting tidbits. You can also search your locally stored content and stream it to your TV over WiDi.
To keep costs down–and put the heat on Microsoft–Sony is offering a base version of the Tap 11 with one of Intel’s Haswell-based Pentium CPUs. If, however, you’re looking for something with more power, you can opt for one of Intel’s latest Core i7 processors. The Tap 11 also comes with a 128GB SSD and 4GB of RAM standard, both of which can be upgraded depending on your individual needs.
Ports include a full-size USB 3.0 port on the slate, as well as a micro HDMI slot, microSD Card slot and headphone jack. The keyboard doesn’t include any I/O ports to help keep its weight down.
Sony has not yet disclosed pricing or availability information for the Tap 11, but we look forward to bringing you our full review of the tablet this fall.