Sony Vaio Pro 13 vs. Sony Vaio Duo 13 Comparison Smackdown
Either way Sony wins in today's smackdown, but we want to make sure you win and choose the best Ultrabook for your needs. This may be an easier decision than you realize. Yes, they're both Intel fourth generation Haswell Windows 8 ultraportables with Intel graphics, DDR3 RAM and fast SSD drives. They both have full HD Triluminos IPS displays that are some of the most pleasing on the market and they're light and portable. Both have dual band WiFi with WiDi wireless display, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, backlit keyboards and front cameras. Both are available in Carbon Black or White (white bezel with silver body).
What do you Want: Laptop, Tablet or Both?
But the important consideration is how you actually want to use your machine. The Sony Vaio Pro 13 has a standard notebook form factor and a touch screen. It's one of the lightest and thinnest laptops and it's great for those who want to travel as light as possible. The Sony Vaio Duo 13 is a convertible slider: you can use it like a laptop or as a tablet, albeit a large 13.3" tablet that weighs 2.86 pounds. The convertible design puts the screen closer to you for easier touch interaction, even when in laptop mode and it offers tablet use, which the Vaio Pro does not. You'll pay $150 extra for the Duo 13's more complex slider design, dual digitizer with digital pen and the 8MP rear camera.
If you want a digital pen for note taking, diagramming or artwork, you're looking at tablets and convertibles. The feature isn't available on the Duo Pro or any other traditional notebook since it would be hard to use the pen with a distant, upright display. If you want or need the precise N-Trig digital pen, the Vaio Duo 13 is for you.
The two use the same excellent Triluminos IPS display with wide color gamut and hearty viewing angles. Both are gloss and support touch, and as gloss screens go, aren't overly glare-prone. They're equally good in terms of brightness, colors and contrast. It's a tie.
This isn't as straightforward as you might think. The Sony Vaio Duo 13 has significantly longer runtimes and a bigger battery. It averages 9 hours vs. 6 for the Vaio Pro 13. But if you purchase the Pro's optional $149 sheet battery, you can double runtimes to 12 hours. For just the laptops, the Duo 13 wins. But for laptop plus optional sheet battery, the Vaio Pro 13 wins.
The Vaio Duo 13 has come a long way from the cramped keyboard and annoying pointer stick of the Duo 11. The keyboard is much larger (about the same size as the Pro 13), works well for touch-typing and it has a half high Synaptics trackpad. But travel is low and a bit jarring and backlighting is surprisingly uneven for a premium machine. It's not a bad keyboard but it's not a great keyboard.
The Sony Vaio Pro 13 has a great keyboard, and we're impressed Sony crammed this much tactile feel and travel into a wafer-thin Ultrabook. Backlighting is perfectly uniform and it's easy to type at full speed without getting fatigue from low travel.
There are plenty more points of comparison to cover, so pull up a chair and watch our Sony Vaio Pro 13 vs. Sony Vaio Duo 13 Comparison Smackdown video: