You'd think that there wouldn't be much difference between the Sony Vaio Flip 13 and the Flip 15. Two inches sets them apart and they share the same convertible design and casing materials. Surprise: they're quite different. We reviewed the Flip 13 a few months back and now we're reviewing the Flip 15 simply because it is such a different animal. While the Flip 13 is an Ultrabook convertible with a 13.3" design and the usual Haswell 4th generation Ultrabook internals that aren't terribly upgradable, the Flip 15 is a slim 15.5" model with delicious options like dedicated graphics, two display resolution options and lots of upgradable internals. Sony has more space to work with, and that's why you get all this goodness.
The Vaio Flip 15 runs on standard Ultrabook 15 watt Intel Core CPUs, as do the smaller Flip 13 and Flip 14. We'd love to see an even faster 28 watt CPU option, like that in the Asus Zenbook UX301, but alas that rare CPU doesn't make an appearance here. The Flip 15 has a full HD IPS Triluminos display and there's a $300 option for a 2880 x 1620 display. Like the smaller Flip models, it has a dual digitizer that supports 10 points of multi-touch and an N-Trig digital pen (Sony sells the pen separately with most configurations). That means the Flip 15 is one of the few really big screen digital canvases on the market for art types, and it's certainly less expensive that adding a Wacom Cintiq to your arsenal.
The Vaio Flip 15 weighs 5.05 lbs. so you'll likely use the tablet mode on a desk or perhaps on your lap. It also works in presentation or easel mode, with the display facing you and the keyboard behind (facing away from you). The flip mechanism is intelligently designed and unlike Lenovo Yoga models, the keyboard's keys never rest on the table or your legs. This is a big and heavy panel to flip compared to the Flip 13, and the very stiff hinge also requires more muscle power to move.
In our review we look at the $1,249 configuration that Sony and Best Buy feature. This is a nicely configured model with the full HD display, Intel Core i7-4500U CPU, 8 gigs of RAM, a terabyte HDD with 16 gigs of NAND flash cache and switchable Intel HD 4400 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 735M graphics with 2 gigs VRAM. The machine has two RAM slots, a standard 2.5" SATA drive bay and a socketed wireless card, making it much more upgradable than the 13" model. The base Core i3 model with HD 4400 graphics only and a full HD display is a reasonable $799.
For those who are interested in buying this model, Best Buy has it on sale for $200 off today and tomorrow ($1,049 on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1).
Here's our Sony Vaio Flip 15 video review. Our full written review and game demo and inking demos will follow.