Sony Reaches the Windows 8 Finish Line First with Two Quirky Tablets
One is an all-in-one desktop that doubles as a gigantic tablet. The other is an 11.6-inch tablet with a nifty slide-out keyboard.
Fri, October 12, 2012
PC World — Windows 8 launches in exactly two weeks on October 26. The big day is imminent. The anticipation is palpable. Yet until two quirky devices from Sony arrived a few days ago, we hadn't yet put our hands on final, reviewable Windows 8 hardware.
Slideshow: Winning Windows 8 Tablets for Travel
Is the PC industry ready for this OS launch? For Sony, the question is moot: It wins the trophy for the earliest Windows 8 hardware delivery (well, not including a preproduction tablet we received from Acer). Now the onus falls on usjust what do we think of Sony's interpretations of what a Windows 8 device can be?
The PCWorld Labs techs have been busy building a new version of WorldBench designed to run on Windows 8 systems. Our WorldBench 8 benchmarking suite isn't fully complete with new Windows 8-oriented tests, precisely because we haven't had enough Windows 8 hardware to work with. Nonetheless, for these reviews, our available lab results still provide a good idea of how Windows 8 systems perform.
The two Sony systems presented here are cool examples of the endless possibilities that Windows 8 enables. One is an unusual all-in-one PC, while the other is a convertible laptop that's heavily imbued with tablet DNA. Neither is a cookie-cutter system, and both push the envelope of what we define as PCs.
With that in mind, let's dive into our first official Windows 8 hardware reviews.
Sony Tap 20: An all-in-one or a humongous tablet?
As you might guess, this new Windows 8-based Sony all-in-one isn't your average AIO. Inside the modest exterior beats the heart of an Ultrabook, along with a ten-point multitouch screen and a built-in battery. So you can either think of the Tap 20 (also known by the sexy name SVJ20215CXW) as a smallish AIO or a really big tablet. In reality, it's a little of both.
In putting the Tap 20 through its paces, I started with a little photo editing on its decidedly smallish (at least for an AIO) 20-inch, 1600-by-900-pixel display. It was a constraining experience, compared with the more expansive displays I'm used to working with. Then I unplugged it, took it upstairs, laid it flat on my dining-room table, and played Pinball FX 2.
Notice the smudges on the Sony system in the photo above. Fingerprints on the screens of Windows 8 PCs will become a way of lifean indignity we already experience with normal tablets. As more touch-enabled PCs arrive, you can expect cleaning cloths to become ubiquitous accessories.