Not wanting to be part of the separatist group who have introduced tablets that pop in and out of a keyboard dock, Sony has taken the sliding pat down Middle Earth - the region where they are neither ultrabooks nor all-out slates.
The 11.6-inch display can be lifted and slid into place to reveal a rather narrow QWERTY keyboard. Unlike hybrids that are powered by Intel Atom chips, this one is endowed with a third generation Core i5. Apart from this, the hardware configuration is respectable with 4GB RAM and 128GB solid slate storage. The main draw of the DUO 11 is the screen and the convertible nature of the system. The full HD resolution on this bright IPS LCD screen is a huge plus but makes browsing with the touchscreen tad bit difficult, what with smaller text and icons.
In tablet mode, it feels quite unwieldy even though it is made to be edgy for better handling. At 1.3kg, it can cause strain. Switching orientation seemed a bit laggy and wouldn't change when going from portrait in tab to landscape in laptop mode. The whole unit had to be tilted to make the screen flip back down. As an ultrabook the shrunken keyboard and cramped keys proved to be a challenge to use. It took us quite a while to get used to it. Al least the optical pointing device was useful.
Battery seemed to ebb faster than other hybrids we have reviewed. This one just about managed a 9 to 5 day, if you don't make it sweat it out on entertainment. The positive takeaways are that it can be hooked to an optional secondary battery, has a lovely screen, a back-lit keyboard, reasonable grunt and connectivity options on offer as an ultrabook. If this design is to your liking then consider it for the long haul.