Since the hardware in ultrabooks, and tablets for that matter, stopped exhibiting any sort of variety (from company to company) months ago, Sony, like everyone else, has to place all its bets on design.
The VAIO Duo 11 convertible PC is about as unusual in that regard as the Battery-Powered VAIO Tap 20 PC all-in-one, though its design quirks are in a different area: convertibility.
We suppose we could call it a convertible tablet, but that would make people think about those notebooks with a special hinge that can spin the display around and then lay it on top of the keyboard.
For Sony VAIO Duo 11, the display on top of the keyboard is the default state, and the transformation isn't similar to that of normal convertible notebooks, just like Dell and Lenovo both have their own peculiar methods.
Instead, the screen gets to slide back on something similar to rail tracks, and it rises up at around 60 degree angle (max), until the keyboard beneath is fully accessible. Sony names it the Surf Slider mechanism.
Spec-wise, VAIO Duo 11 has an 11.6-inch display (IPS with wide viewing angles, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution), Gorilla Glass protection, a backlit keyboard, NFC and GPS chips, a Core Series Intel CPU, 4GB of RAM, 128/256 GB SSD and extensive I/O support, including two 2.4 megapixel cameras.
Furthermore, the product ships with a dual digitizer stylus capable of recognizing 256 levels of pressure and swappable pen tips.
All in all, the Sony creation weighs 2.84 lbs, or 1.28 kilograms, which should make it easy enough to carry around in a bag or backpack.
Needless to say, the Sony VAIO Duo 11 is loaded with Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system, as well as a bunch of applications that buyers may or may not find a use for. The price is of $1,100, or 850-1,100 Euro and shipments will begin on October 26. Steep, but that seems to be par for the course with Windows 8 devices.