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Sony Vaio Tap 20
Sony Vaio Tap 20

Tech Reviews | Sony Vaio Tap 20 Vs Kobo Glo

A new desktop-tablet hybrid and an e-reader that look goodbut both have drawbacks

A fresh take

Computers and e-readers have pretty much peaked in most people’s eyes, with mobile phones and tablets getting all the attention, but things aren’t over yet. Sony’s new desktop takes its cues from the tablet market, while Kobo is making an effort to take on the Kindle. Both are betting heavily on design, but it’s hard to predict if they’re going to be hits.

Sony Vaio Tap 20

Sony traditionally makes well-designed products that look good, and it’s the same story with this desktop-tablet hybrid. The 20-inch-wide frame of the Sony Vaio Tap 20 has a thin bezel and nice finish.

Its two-toned black and white finish looks great, and when viewed from the front, the Sony Vaio Tap 20 resembles a giant Windows 8 tablet.

Having said that, there’s no doubt that the 5kg Sony Vaio Tap 20 is a bit too big and heavy to be used as a tablet constantly while you’re slouched on a sofa. The 10-finger multitouch screen is quite responsive, and there’s no navigational nag to talk about. Though it’s not an IPS display, the Sony Vaio Tap 20’s viewing angles are good, with little or no colour shift.

The machine handles regular PC-related work, like surfing the Net, working on productivity tools, or listening to music, quite well and multitasks efficiently. In terms of its multimedia potential, watching movies and videos was a pleasant experience.

The Tap 20’s onboard stereo speakers, which come equipped with a subwoofer (situated at the top on the back panel), are quite pleasant to listen to, and are suitable for watching movies when sitting in front of the computer.

The built-in battery of the Sony Vaio Tap barely lasts the full length of 2 hours, just enough to let you watch a Hollywood movie, we reckon.

As an idea, this Sony desktop-tablet hybrid isn’t without its merits, but it’s still far from perfection. It has great looks and design, decent hardware that performs well, and offers good multimedia potential. However, it’s large for a tablet when it comes to personal use and is quite cumbersome.

RATINGS*

Features: 65

Performance: 60

Value: 55

Design: 75

Total: 64

SPECIFICATIONS

Resolution: 1,600x900 pixels

Screen: 20 inches

CPU: Intel Core i5 @ 1.8 GHz

RAM: 4 GB

GPU: Intel HD 4000

HDD: 500 GB

Weight: 5.2 kg

Price: 69,990

Kobo Glo

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The Kobo Glo is lit much the same way as the Paperwhite, but is a bit brighter. Reading books is a breeze and so is the ability to customize reading settings (fonts, tap to forward, etc.). It also adds gamification to your reading statistics, giving you points for reading more. Unlike the Paperwhite, the Glo supports the Epub format, allowing you to read books you didn’t buy through its store. It also has a microSD card slot that allows you to expand the storage capacity. The battery life of the Glo is pretty good: After 10 days of reading, with intermittent Wi-Fi browsing, the Glo still had 49% of juice left.

As a piece of hardware, we have no complaints. In many ways, it’s better than the Kindle Paperwhite. However, Kobo still can’t match Amazon’s might with the variety of books offered for purchase and until they ramp up their e-book offering, the Kindle remains the clear winner in this e-reader war. At least for now.

RATINGS*

Features: 85

Performance: 70

Build: 80

Value: 70

Total: 76

SPECIFICATIONS

Resolution: 1,024x768 pixels

Screen: 6 inches

Storage: 2 GB plus microSD

Format support: Epub, PDF, Jpeg, Gif, PNG, Tiff, TXT, XHTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR

Weight: 185g

Price: 10,999

* Ratings out of 100

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