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Sony VAIO Duo 13 Combines Haswell with Better Sliding Design

Of all the different types of Windows 8 hybrid designs, the slider is one of the more intriguing, if less successful, approaches to combining a touchscreen with a keyboard. But Sony is trying again with the VAIO Duo 13, a much improved follow-up to the VAIO Duo 11. Available June 9th for $1,399, consumers will get a 4th generation Intel Core i5 processor and a 128GB SSD. 

Here's a quick look at the other enhancements this slider has in store for Windows 8 PC shoppers.

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The VAIO Duo 13 is a replacement for the Duo 11 from last year. Despite featuring a larger 13-inch display, the Duo 13 weighs 2.93 pounds, not much heavier than the Duo 11's 2.8 pounds, and lighter than the Toshiba Satellite U925t (3.2 pounds), a 12.5-inch slider. In fact, due to a carbon fiber design and a smaller bezel, the Duo 13 has nearly the same footprint as the Duo 11.  This system will be available in Carbon Black and Carbon White.

Sony also improved the sliding mechanism on the Duo 13. We knocked the Duo 11 for having too many moving parts and exposed cables. The SurfSlider design, as Sony calls it, not only is a simpler design, but also makes the slider easier to open. Even better, the Duo 13 features a trackpad (albeit a small one), where the Duo 11 merely had a pointing stick. 

As with the Duo 11, the Duo 13 will also come with an active stylus. While the Duo 13 still lacks a slot for the stylus, a little holder on the side of the system lets you prop up the pen vertically. And, you can program the tablet so that your favorite note-taking app will launch automatically when the pen is removed. 

The 1080p Triluminous display--the same technology Sony uses in its TVs- is tilted back a little further than is normal for most notebooks, but the angle is set for an optimal experience when using the stylus. 

Other features include NFC, front- and rear-facing cameras(2 and 8MP, respectively) that use Sony's EXMOR sensors, and Active Sleep technology that Sony claims will boost battery life to up to 10 hours.