This diminuitive 20in Sony is a bit of a wild card. Is it a desktop? Is it a giant tablet? Is it, perhaps, both? That’s what Sony is going for with the Tap 20. It’s a PC with a 20in screen and a fold-away stand, allowing it to either be a standard desktop – or a knee-strainingly bulky slate.
The kickstand moves between 15-90°, or it folds back flush so the device can be used in ‘tablet’ mode – though it does resemble some sort of ubertech balance-board.
In a way, it makes sense: touch and tablets were made for each other, and the 10-point multitouch allows you to make the most of Windows 8 and that 1600x900 screen. The Tap 20 makes a further claim to tablet-ness thanks to an internal battery that will last long enough to watch a movie, although not much more than that.
Clearaudio tech plus a tiny but excellent subwoofer delivers better sound than you could reasonably expect from an all-in-one.
A white plastic case may not feel so premium, but it’s protection for a device that’ll get rougher handling than an average desktop.
The edges of the Tap 20’s screen may be nicely rounded, but on the inside a few corners have been cut. It’s common to use mobile versions of processors and graphics chips for compact devices, but the Tap really struggles with some aspects of Windows 8, mainly thanks to its underpowered internal graphics.
Connectivity isn’t great – there’s a scant selection of ports, but a dedicated SD/MemoryStick slot might please Sony fans. The lack of an optical drive could be a concern, however, if you’re still attached to your physical media.
Quirky and cumbersome, the Tap 20 is an interesting concept – but you might not want to fork out £1000 for the privilege.
As with all Vaio products, an Assist button brings up sage, context-specific help. Running Windows 8, you might find yourself needing it more than you expected.