Tag: Sony VAIO Tap 20 all-in-one tablet

Coming to your TV screens soon: A Microsoft ad pitching the Adaptive All-In-One at women


Microsoft: Finally, a PC for All Your Lady Stuff (Weddings, Pinterest) | Gizmodo

YouTube clip of commercial (click to play)

My Comments

Sony VAIO Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer

Sony VAIO Tap 20 – an example of an “Adaptive All-In-One” computer

Microsoft is becoming more aggressive at pitching the Windows-capable touchscreen-enabled computer at more user types. One user class that is being pitched at is the woman who is planning for that big occasion and they were pitching HP’s Envy Rove as an alternative to the Apple computing platform.

The HP Envy Rove is HP’s equivalent of the Sony VAIO Tap 20 which I previously reviewed and Microsoft pitched the large touchscreen size that this computer and its peers offer. This is more as being suitable for showing images amongst a group of friends who are sitting on the sofa, and the touch ability allows for that “pinch-to-zoom” gesture that allows one to detail in on an aspect.

This was similar through my experience with the VAIO Tap 20 when I was showing it to a close friend of mine and she liked “messing around” with the Google Earth view in front of me. It is more or less showing the different form factors that are being made available to Windows 8.1 users along with the fact that there is an increased likelihood of these computers having touch abilities/

Christmas Post 2013

Christmas treeHi everyone!

This year and every year, after Thanksgiving has passed and those of you in the US have had that big turkey and apple-pie dinner, the shopping frenzy will be underway. In some cases, the ClickFrenzy heat will become intense around this time while those of you who aren’t in North America will probably see the heat come alive around the beginning of December. This won’t even die after Christmas Day with the hectic Boxing Day sales and specials.

But how do you know what to get when you are thinking of computing and related technology gifts to give your family and friends.

Sony VAIO Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer as a desktop

Sony VAIO Tap 20 – an example of an “adaptive all-in-one” computer

If you are considering a family computer, you could consider the Sony VAIO Tap 20 which I reviewed and its peers like the HP Envy Rove as an alternative to a desktop-replacement laptop or a small “all-in-one” desktop. This is more so for something that may end up being used on the coffee table or kitchen table so that two people can brows over the one Web pave for example.

Sony VAIO Duo 11 slider-convertible tablet

Sony VAIO Duo 11

A “convertible” laptop-tablet computer like the HP x2 series or the Sony VAIO Duo 11 may have an appeal as a tablet or as a small content-creation notebook computer but the size can pre-determine the appeal in either of the roles. For example 13” variants may not appeal as a personal-tablet yet they appeal more as the “portable-typewriter” notebook computer whereas the 11” variants appeal more as the personal-tablet types.

For that matter, we are also seeing an increasing number of laptops and all-in-one computers that have the integrated touchscreen function. This is capitalsing on Windows 8 with its Modern user interface and some of us may see it as taking the touchscreen interface of the smartphone or tablet to the regular computer.

Increasingly other companies like HTC and Sony are offering the 5”-6” “phablet-class” large screen smartphones which can be described as a bridge between a smartphone and a tablet. These are comfortable for those of us who use or have used a “many-function” pocket calculator such as the scientific, statistical or financial calculators.

Denon UrbanRaver AH-D320 headphones

Denon UrbanRaver AH-D320 headphones

On this same theme of covering the mobile lifestyle, I have reviewed  more headphones like the Denon UrbanRaver AH-D320 headset. This is  alongside Bluetooth speakers like the Sony SRS-BTM8 and the Pure Jongo T6 speakers which can serve most mobile devices adequately wherever you are and they, like other Bluetooth speakers, can work with your laptop computer as a sound-output device.

Pure Jongo T6 wireless speaker

Pure Jongo T6 Bluetooth / Wi-Fi wireless speaker

I have refreshed most of the DLNA Home Media Network articles and have created some articles about linking Dropbox albums to your DLNA Home Media Network using your network-attached storage device. This is based around a Windows, Mac or Linux regular computer and uses basic file-system techniques alongside the use of Dropbox’s native client application. Similarly, I had drawn attention to FreeFileSync as a tool to allow you to use your regular computer’ media-management applications to organise your media and upload it to a NAS for sharing via DLNA.

This is alongside reviewing a few sets of wireless speakers that can connect to your home network and play from an AirPlay or DLNA audio setup as well as being an Internet radio in some cases. As far as buying these wireless speakers are concerned, I would look at what whether you need battery power so they can be used away from AC outlets or whether you need more sound power output say to cover a large listening area.

The multi-function smart TV may make for itself a plausible gift idea so you can have the ability to gain access to most of the online video services. But, on the other hand, a Blu-Ray player, home theatre system or network media player with integrated access to online video services can earn its keep by adding this functionality to an existing TV. This also includes the “big two” games consoles whether they come with the functionality out of the box or available through a software update. For that matter, upgrading to the PS4 or XBox One shouldn’t mean that you get rid of your existing PS3 or XBox 360 because these can also serve as secondary multimedia players for other locations.

A network-attached storage device can become a viable Cbristmas gift for anyone with a home network because these can end up not just as file backup or network-wide “file drop-off” destinations but can evolve to become a media library. As well, if you do upgrade to a higher-capacity NAS, you can spread the network storage load between both devices like purposing one specifically as a media library..

Of course, this article about what to set the “family house” up with may help with choosing the right technology for that location for this location where the whole family visits regularly. This includes even the computer equipment that is to be resident in that location. This is best read alongside my article about whether to run with full broadband at this location.

There are ways to assure that your recipients do get the gifts that are worth it and will see them through the ywars. One way would be for a group to pool resources towards the decent gift, but on the other hand, you could purchase a gift voucher or gift coupon which entitles them to buy goods to the value of that card. In some cases, if the recipient receives many of these cards for the same merchant, they could easily end up purchasing something bigger and better. To the same extent, prepaid payment cards that work with the VISA or MasterCard platform can also serve this same need and also allow them to choose their favourite merchants including the online merchants. These options can make sure that you are buying something that these recipients really want.

I wish you a very merry Christmas and a very happy New Year in 2014,

With regards,

Simon Mackay

Feature Article – Having the online life in that private space


Most of us have one or more private spaces in the home that aren’t really where we sleep in but want to retreat to when we want to spend time alone or with a few chosen people. This may, for men, be the classic “men’s shed” or “office-den” but is becoming the so-called “man-cave”. For women, it may be a private lounge area or study with some people purposing these spaces for personal religious activity amongst other activities.

HP Envy 4 Touchsmart Ultrabook at Intercontinental Melbourne On Rialto

HP Envy 4 Touchsmart Ultrabook – an example of a touch-enabled Ultrabook that can be moved around very easily

Some of these spaces may also be used as a reception space for one’s own group of friends such as a man’s “mates” or a woman’s own “lady friends”, as well as serving as the own space. This is more so if they want to meet with these people away from the rest of the crowd in the house.

In most of these areas, it may be appropriate to be able to engage in online life using the home network. It encompasses access to the resources available via the home network whether it be music and video content held on the NAS or the ability to print out documents on a network-capable printer. The activities may range from personal entertainment in these areas through researching information from the Internet to creating documents and Web content.

What can you use here?

Sony VAIO Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer

Sony VAIO Tap 20 – an example of an “Adaptive All-In-One” computer

You may want to use a portable computer device whether it be a laptop / notebook or tablet computer so you can take it between your private space and other spaces. For a fixed setup, you may go for an all-in-one or low-profile desktop computer. Some systems like the Sony VAIO Tap 20 may be able to bridge the gap between a large-screen desktop and a laptop computer and some of the regular all-in-one computers may be light enough to be transported from room to room.

The portable computer or easy-to-transport “all-in-one” computer would be more important if you are dealing with a space that is accessible directly from outside and doesn’t do well for security. This is because you can easily take the computer in to your home so it doesn’t tempt thieves when you have finished in that space.

Sony SA-NS510 Portable Wireless speaker

Sony SA-NS510 Portable Wireless Speaker

If you are thinking of online-capable audio or video equipment that can fit well in this space, there is a lot of the equipment that can suit your particular needs. For example, a small Internet radio could be the answer for a shed or garage like as I have seen with the Kogan Internet radio that I reviewed in this site’s early days. Here, a person who was living with me had this radio in the garage playing some content from BBC Radio 4’s Internet feed while he was doing a few repairs at the workbench. A small Blu-Ray-equipped home-theatre system of the same ilk as a Sony BDV-E2100 or Yamaha MCR-755 or a small hi-fi of the ilk of the Sony CMT-MX750Ni or Denon CEOL Series could play its part as an entertainment system for a den.

You can even use the home-theatre systems with an LCD computer monitor as the display device if the monitor has an HDMI input socket or DVI socket that is compliant with HDCP. This can mean that you don’t need to use a TV set with these devices especially if you use a DLNA-compliant broadcast-LAN tuner or just enjoy media held on optical disc or the home network.

Denon CEOL Piccolo music systemOn the other hand, you could use a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi wireless speaker system along with your smartphone, tablet or notebook to play audio content from more than the speaker built in to the computer device. Similarly, you could connect a Bluetooth audio adaptor or AirPlay/DLNA-compliant network media receiver to a pair of computer speakers or a small boombox that has a line input to achieve the same goal.

What needs to be done

Network connectivity

Here, I would make sure that you have reliable access to the home network from this space. If the space is located in another building, I would suggest that you pay attention to my article on multiple-building home networks.

Western Digital LiveWire HomePlug AV Ethernet switch connected

The WD LiveWire HomePlug AV switch that fills in the network gap

In some cases, I would make sure there is an Ethernet connection in that area if your place is being wired for Ethernet and you can afford it. On the other hand, you could use a HomePlug AV powerline connection to that space. This is important for detached buildings or rooms with direct outdoor access where they may not be secure because you can take the HomePlug adaptor in to your home. It is also important if you don’t get good Wi-Fi wireless-network reception from your router in that area and this situation can be remedied using an access point connected to the wired backbone.

Access to live TV content

As for access to TV content, if your space doesn’t have a connection for a TV aerial (antenna) or cable / satellite TV, you could use the home network to gain access to TV content. This is facilitated with a broadcast-LAN tuner like HDHomeRun or Devolo dLAN Sat which is connected to the TV aerial, cable or satellite TV depending on the device and transmits your chosen broadcast signal down the home network. Then you use software on the computer or tablet to “tune in” to the broadcasts. For that matter, the HDHomeRun Prime offers access to antenna or US cable TV you subscribe to via DLNA-capable video devices and software.

On the other hand, if you have pay TV, you could benefit from the provider’s “TV Everywhere” solution which works with regular or mobile computer devices to show live or on-demand pay-TV on these devices using your home network.

Access to your network-hosted content library

For audio, photo and video content, you can use DLNA-capable software media players like Windows Media Player 12, or TwonkyMedia to play the content on your portable computer or mobile device. If you use any of the Apple platforms, you could set your NAS up as an iTunes server for the audio content and have the iTunes music player software on your device pull up this content.

As I have mentioned before, devices with network-media-playback functionality would have to work to DLNA and/or AirPlay standards if you want to use these as your media player for your small space.

Printing from your private space

You may not need to worry about having a printer installed in that “man cave” or similar space if you are using a network-accessible printer. This means that you don’t have to worry about factoring in space for the printer. The only exception to the rule is if you see this space as a home office and you may want to have a heavy-duty machine for turning out work related to your business or similar effort.


Here, you can set up a reliable personal computing and entertainment environment that you can use in your small personal space, with the equipment being more suited to that space.

Adaptive All-In-One Computers–Where do I see them fit in?


Sony VAIO Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer as a desktop

Sony VAIO Tap 20 – an example of an “adaptive all-in-one” computer

As I have covered in this Website before, there is a new class of computer that is bridging the gap between the clamshell laptop and the all-in-one desktop. These are known as the “Adaptive All-In-One” computers but are also called “desktop tablets” or “mobile all-in-one” computers.

What are these computers?

This class of computer is  an 18”-21” tablet computer that has “regular computer” credentials such as using computing horsepower typically used in a desktop or laptop computer rather than what would be used in a tablet like the Apple iPad. They are able to be set up as a tablet which is primarily touch operated or, through the use of a kickstand integrated in the tablet and a wireless keyboard and mouse, or a detachable pedestal which has a keyboard and mouse connected to it, they can he used as a conventional all-in-one desktop computer.

As for software, they can run on “regular-computer” operating systems like Windows 8 or a desktop Linux distribution. Users can then run the applications and games that they are able to run on a regular computer. This is being augmented through the Windows Store which is filling up with many applications and games that take advantage of the touchscreen.

The best example of this class of computer and one I have reviewed on HomeNetworking01.info is the Sony VAIO Tap 20. But other manufacturers are showing up with similar computers like the Dell XPS 18 and the HP Envy Rove 20 which is on the verge of being released as I write this article.

Where do these computers belong in the computing market?

Typically they are positioned between a 17” desktop-replacement laptop computer and a 21” all-in-one desktop or a low-profile desktop that works with a 21” screen. They also are pitched to stand between a convertible laptop or large tablet and a touchscreen-capable laptop, desktop or all-in-one when it comes to touch computing. So they end up being marketed as a hybrid class of computer which stands between a tablet, laptop or desktop form factor.

How will they benefit users in the home or small-business

I primarily see these computers fulfilling the demands of a transportable lifestyle computer. Here, it would be seen as a highly-capable large-screen alternative to a 10” tablet like an iPad or Android tablet.

One application would be large-area reading and viewing. This would range from surfing the Web through browsing email, Facebook or Twitter to reading electronic-newspaper apps or watching catch-up TV in your favourite armchair or couch. It would also underscore “second-screen” functionality while watching TV, such as use of scoreboard apps during sportscasts, engaging in online voting or using IMDB or Wikipedia to check a fact relating to what you are watching (to settle that argument).

Sony VAIO Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer right-hand-side connections - distinctive U-shaped kickstand that doubles as a carrying handle

The U-shaped kickstand on the Sony VAIO Tap 20 doubles as a carrying handle

In the kitchen, the integrated kickstand that most of these computers have would make them highly relevant for referring to online recipes while cooking. This avoids the need to rest the computer precariously on that bowl of fruit and fearing an accident would happen or the touchscreen would be covered with flour.

Of course, two or more people could comfortably pore over the same information such as an email, Facebook News Feed or photo album. Some of these units like the upcoming HP Envy Rove 20 have a manual switch which spins the display 90 degrees to allow another person to see the screen without you having to swivel the computer.

Another highly-promoted activity is group gaming. This will come in to play with computer-based “takes” of the classic board, card and casino games where these games will allow two or more human players to play on the one machine. In some cases, the machine may be able to play as one or more of the players, and / or simply represent one or more online players while preserving the rules of the game and, where applicable, rolling dice or shuffling a deck of cards.

Of course, some games like “old-school” arcade games, pinball games and strategy games will gain a level of freshness when you play them on these computers. For example, a person who grew up in the 80s may find that playing a Windows 8 version of PacMan or Galaga may remind them of playing the game on one of those “table-style” arcade games that were popular then; or a game like Civilization V takes so well to you literally moving the characters or teams over the large playfield created on the large screen.

In the small business, the “Adaptive All-In-One” could become useful in the customer-service space. Here, you could have point-of-sale terminals or similar terminals that use the increased space to show more items or options for the sales assistant to use while completing the sale.

These computers could also come in to their own when showing information to colleagues, partners or clients, whether it be certain cells of interest in a spreadsheet or a PDF file or a presentation that you can easily flick through to get to the salient parts.

The main feature that I have noticed with this class of computer when I reviewed the Sony VAIO Tap 20 was that fact that they offer the balance between a desktop-replacement laptop that you can easily take around the house or put away when not needed and a desktop, especially an all-in-one desktop, that has the large screen area. This is made much easier with those “adaptive all-in-one” computers that use U-shaped metal kickstands like what the VAIO Tap 20 is equipped with. Here, these kickstand can easily double as a carrying handle for the computer in the same manner as the carrying handle integrated in to a boombox, portable TV set or small sewing machine.

Who would buy these computers?

These could be bought by most people as  an alternative to a laptop that is used primarily at the home and taken out and about on rare occasions. It is more so when the user values a large screen while valuing an easily-portable computer.

The memory and hard disk capacities would show up the Adaptive All-In-One computers as being credible for a sole computer or primary-use computer for most people rather than the secondary computer.that you may think of typically.with this device class.

My recommendations about buying these computers

If you do buy an “Adaptive All-In-One” computer, I would recommend that you purchase an accessory optical drive if you expect the computer to be your “sole” computer. This will be of importance if you still like to share data on the low-cost optical disks or buy music and video content on optical disks.

Some of the optical drives may be available as an “expansion module” / docking-station accessory with Ethernet connectivity, extra USB ports, a sound module and other functions. Here this can come in handy if you think of using extra peripherals with your Adaptive All-In-One computer.


The Adaptive All-In-One computer will definitely show up as a computer type that will please a lot of users who want something to fill the gap between a transportable regular computer and a large screen. It doesn’t matter whether you use these computers as your main or sole computer or as an additional computer and will earn their keep as a “lifestyle” computer.

HP announces an answer to the Sony VAIO Tap 20 computer


HP Reveals ENVY Rove20 Specs; Available Sunday

From the horse’s mouth


Envy Rove 20 Product Page

“The Next Bench” blog post

My Comments

Just a short while ago, I had reviewed the Sony VAIO Tap 20 “adaptive all-in-one” computer which is a large 20” tablet that runs Windows 8. But it can be purposed as a desktop computer by folding out a kickstand and using a wireless keyboard and mouse for text entry and finer navigation.

As well, Dell had fielded an 18” tablet computer with a similar design. Now HP who have become the behemoth on the consumer and small-business computing space have answered Sony by releasing the Envy Rove 20 which is of a similar design.

Here, the Envy Rove 20 has some gaming credentials with the implementation of 10-point highly-responsive touchscreen behaviour. It also implements “Beats Audio” sound-reproduction tuning like a lot of their Envy portable-computer collection and some of the Pavilion portable-computer collection.

It is driven by the Intel “Haswell” i3 processor and has 4Gb RAM under the hood. As well, it has 1Tb capacity on its solid-state hard disk which is twice that if the Tap 20 and also implements 3 USB 3.0 connections with one able to charge a portable device when the computer is in sleep mode. As for the Wi-Fi network, the Envy Rove 20 has native support for wireless segments that work on the 802.11ac draft standard as well as the 802.11n standard for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

As expected for this class of computer, it would be able to run for 3 hours on its own battery and also implements a manual rotate button so you can show others who are poring over the computer from the other side of the bench the image that is on the display.

But what I see of this, along with Intel defining the “Adaptive All-In-One” name for this class of computers is that the playing filed will become very full. What we would have to see is the Windows Store becoming full of quality software that exploits what these computers are all about. This could include the ability to make best use of the large display and the touchscreen user interface such as through semantic zooming and making use of the “pinch-to-zoom” gesture.

For games, some of the online board games that have been written for the iOS and Android platforms and have performed well on the tablet devices based on these platforms could be ported to Windows 8 and made to exploit the abilities of these computers.

I would personally see these “Adaptive All-In-One” computers as something to look forward to as an easily-transportable “lifestyle” computer device.

Product Review–Sony VAIO Tap 20 desktop-tablet computer


Previously, I have given the Sony VAIO Tap 20 “adaptive all-in-one” computer a fair bit of coverage on HomeNetworking01.info as a bridge between a tablet computer and a desktop computer. This included commenting on a Microsoft article where it was presented to the article author’s parents at their house to assess its prowess with different computing skill levels.

Now I have the chance to review this computer and see for myself what it is like as a representative of this new class of computer, especially as a “lifestyle computer”.

Sony VAIO Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer as a desktop

Sony VAIO Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer as a tablet

– this configuration
Form factor Adaptive All-in-one
Processor i5-3317u
RAM 4 Gb shared with graphics
Secondary Storage 500 Gb hard disk SDXC and MemoryStick card readers
Display Subsystem Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics
Screen 20” widescreen (1600 x 900) LED-backlit LCD
Sensors Touchscreen
Near-field communications
Audio Subsystem Intel HD Audio
Network Wi-Fi 802.11g/n
Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0 Smart Ready
Connections USB 2 x USB 3.0
Audio 3.5mm audio input jack, 3.5mm audio output jack
Operating System on supplied unit Microsoft Windows 8
Windows Experience Index – this configuration Overall: 4.8 Graphics: 4.8
Advanced Graphics: 6.2

The computer itself


Sony VAI Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer with its kickstand

The VAIO Tap 20 using a simple kickstand for desktop use

The Sony VAIO Tap 20 can be set up to work as a desktop computer with its supplied wireless keyboard and mouse or it can be laid flat to work as a touchscreen-driven tablet computer. This appeals for a range of activities like game-playing or Web-browsing at the kitchen table to regular content creation at a desk.

Aesthetics and Build quality

The Sony VAIO Tap 20 has a style that can be described as being a large tablet computer or a large picture frame. There is the Windows button located at the bottom and a group of status lights located at the top of the screen.

The unit rests on a very sturdy aluminium kickstand which doesn’t slip but can double as a handle when you take the VAIO Tap 20 from room to room. This comes in to play even if you use the computer as a tablet in order to provide a useable operating angle when it is rested on a table or similar surface.

When I was watching an on-demand video throigh the VAIO Tap 20, I had not noticed any overheating. This is due to the use of venting on back of the computer to avoid heat build-up. There also wasn’t any heat build-up through regular use.

User interface

The supplied keyboard has a full numeric keypad plus access to system functions like volume control. It is able to sustain touch-typing comfortably nut you may find that a regular desktop keyboard may work better for this activity. It also has that hard feel which gives the proper feedback for when you type away on it.

The suppled wireless mouse works properly as expected for a three-button thumbwheel mouse and comes in handy for detailed navigation as would be expected.

The touchscreen works as expected for a large touchscreen and can serve well for coarse navigation of a desktop user interface or proper navigation of touch-optimised software like Windows 8’s “Modern” user interface. The large screen size can even allow you to type on the on-screen keyboard for longer periods, which can be useful if the wireless keyboard’s batteries died or you didn’t want to bother carrying the keyboard with you for a short bit of typing.

The VAIO Tap 20 has integrated NFC “touch-and-go” support but the sensor is located on the rear of the tablet unit. It does support what Windows 8 can do for NFC applications, especially the ability to transfer vCard contact data and Web-page URLs between this unit and Android devices. It may be able to do NFC data transfer for more data with Windows devices.

Audio and Video

Sony VAIO Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer right-hand-side connections - Gigabit Ethernet socket and power socket

Right-hand-side connections – Gigabit Ethernet socket and power socket

The touchscreen display works well for regular computing activities including Google Maps browsing. But it was able to perform smoothly and yield a good colour display for video playback as I observed with SBS On-Demand.

There is the glossy display surface which can be a problem under some lighting conditions and also can harbour fingermarks through regular use. But this is common with consumer-grade equipment.

The sound from the integrated speakers does sound “full” rather than “tinny” for most applications. But it has the volume that is good enough for close listening and wouldn’t be described as “room-filling”. I noticed this when I used TuneIn Radio to listen to Heart 106.2 London through the VAIO’s speakers while preparing the copy for this review.

The supplied VAIO Pictures and Music media browsers, available through the Windows 8 “Modern” user interface work properly as media browsers whether the media is on local storage or on a DLNA-compliant network-attached storage device.

Battery life

Sony VAIO Tap 20 adaptive all-in-one computer left-hand-side connections - Memory-card reader, 2 USB 3.0 connections, 3.5mm audio input jack and 3.5mm audio output jack

Left-hand-side connections – Memory-card reader, 2 USB 3.0 connections, 3.5mm audio input jack and 3.5mm audio output jack

I wouldn’t expect the battery in the Sony VAIO Tap 20 to run for more than four hours with regular work because of the large screen area. Even watching an hour-long on-demand TV show had the Tap 20 register half battery capacity even when I started watching it on full capacity. Here, the battery can serve as continuity when you move it between different areas or for short amounts of use away from AC power.

It is something that will be expected out of this class of “adaptive all-in-one” computer as these are pitched simply as transportable computers.

Connectivity and Expansion

The Sony VAIO Tap 20 has 2 USB 3.0 ports and a pair of 3.5mm stereo jacks for audio input and output. Unlike most other computers, it doesn’t have the ability to connect to an external video display, which may not be of concern for its role as a home “lifestyle” computer. If you wanted to use an external display, you would need to use a USB DisplayLink adaptor or network display link such as one based on Intel WiDi technology.

As for a network, it can connect to an 802.11g or n Wi-Fi segment or a Gigabit Ethernet wired segment, which is typical for most of these computers. It can also connect to Bluetooth wireless peripherals and even supports the Bluetooth 4.0 Smart Ready connection specification, which can allow for sensor devices, keyboards, mice and similar devices to be designed for battery economy.

Other experience notes

I had shown this computer to the lady of the house who has some elementary computer skills and she was impressed with the large screen and its substantial weight but saw it as a different kettle of fish to her Apple iPad tablet. She reckoned that it may work well as a transportable desktop computer for an application we were talking about where this unit may be used on a dining table and be easy to clear up when when it comes time to set the table for dinner.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

The NFC sensor could be duplicated on the front of the VAIO Tap 20 so you can easily use it with smaller devices like Android smartphones or when using NFC to set up wireless peripherals. As well, the kickstand could benefit from a rubber grip along the long edge so as to avoid the risk of good furniture being scratched.

I would recommend that Sony provide an optional expansion module / docking station similar to what was available for the VAIO Z Series notebooks for this unit. This is where it had an optical drive and extra USB ports for use at the main desktop computing location. A USB digital-TV tuner module could come in handy as an option, making it work well as the supplementary kitchen TV. Similarly, Sony could also offer a bag or caddy to make it easier to transport the keyboard and mouse with the computer.

Sony could also provide a “performance” variant which uses an Intel i7 CPU, extra RAM and discrete graphics for those who value higher system performance. This could be used as a way to develop the product line further.


The Sony VAIO Tap 20 fits in between a 17” desktop-replacement laptop computer and a tyical “all-in-one” desktop computer as a regular computer that can be easily taken around the house or stored away when not needed.

Here this would work well where you want a large-screen tablet computer that can be stood up or laid flat on a bench or table for Web browsing and similar tasks; or a computer that can be used in the conventional form with a keyboard for content creation. It would underscore the VAIO Tap 20’s role as an alternative to the iPad or regular laptop for a common transportable “casual-use” computer and could fit the bill as a “lifestyle computer”.

Gift List–Mother’s Day

Sometimes you may be stuck for technological gifts to give Mum on her special day. Here, I have assembled a list of ideas to get you going, especially when it comes to high-value gifts where you can pool resources together to fund these gifts rather than buying many low-value gifts.


Small size for the purse

Toshiba Thrive AT1S0 7" tablet

Toshiba AT1S0 7″ Android tablet

The small 7” tablet computers come in to their own if the main goal is to have it on hand in your coat pocket. They can also fit comfortably even it to mid-sized handbags to use as an electronic notebook or electronic reference book.

To keep in the handbag, at home or the office

Toshiba AT300 10" Android tabletA 10” tablet may come in to its own if the main goal is to read or view online content while relaxing in that armchair or in bed. Similarly, they could come in to their own with a larger handbag or shoulder bag.

No tablet computer is complete without a matching accessory cover or wrap that suits Mum’s taste. If she owns a tablet computer, you may offer her a newer cover or wrap, perhaps to replace that tired old one that she has on that tablet.


Small ultraportables

HP Envy X2 detachable-screen hybrid tablet-notebook computer

HP Envy X2 detachable-screen hybrid tablet-notebook computer

Small ultraportable computers that range from 11” to 14” can earn their keep for “on-the-go” computing tasks. This is more so if Mum wants to create a lot of content like typing up many email letters, writing memoirs or simply working a blog.

Larger laptops

Toshiba Satellite P870 desktop-replacement laptopOn the other hand, a standard-size laptop or “desktop tablet” computer may come in handy if the goal is a computer that is mainly used at home and the desire is to store it away neatly when not in use.


The “all-in-one” desktop computer, with the computing power, screen and storage in one slender box, can become an alternative computer option if you want an elegant desktop computer. They are also becoming increasingly capable rather than glorified “kitchen kiosks”.


HP Photosmart 7510 multifunction inkjet printer

HP Photosmart 7510 multifunction inkjet printer – predecessor to the Photosmart 7520

As for printers, it may be worth looking towards a durable network printer that is cost-effective to run. Be careful of the printers that are cheap to buy because these units will be expensive to run due to short-capacity inks and toners, with situations where the cost of replacing ink or toner is as much as buying a printer of the same standard.

HP Photosmart 6520 or Photosmart 7520 desktop printers

HP Envy 120 – a neat aesthetically-pleasing printer for low-demand applications such as being a secondary printer

Brother MFC-J825DW or DCP-J725DW / DCP-J925DW

Small music system

1-piece including speaker docks and wireless speakers

Marantz Audio Consolette speaker dock (Photo courtesy of Marantz / Gap Marketing)

Marantz Audio Consolette speaker dock

These single-piece systems, including speaker docks and wireless speaker systems, typically have a small footprint and can fit well on the kitchen bench or on the sideboard. Some of these may offer a “full” sound that encompasses te bass notes and the treble notes properly.


Sony CMT-MX750Ni Internet-enabled micro music system

Sony CMT-MX750Ni – an example of a DLNA-compliant music system for a hotel room or serviced apartment

A three-piece system with separate speakers has increased flexibility. Here, you can keep the main unit on the sideboard and position the speakers further away, including mounting them on the wall or having them flank a fireplace or feature window.

Earphones and headphones

Creative Labs MA930 in-ear mobile-phone headset

Creative Labs MA930 in-ear headset

I would suggest that you look towards a few sets of headphones that suit different activities. For example, a pair of lightweight supra-aural headphones can work well for jogging or walking with good examples being provided by B&O (Form 2review), Bose, Denon, Sennheiser and Sony.

Earphones can also work well for public transport and other noisy environments especially where discreet use is required. Similarly a pair of good circum-aural headphones can go a long way for detailed music listening at home or in noisy environments.

It is worth having a look at this buying guide to be sure that the headphones fit yours and Mum’s desires.

Gaining the most out of the Internet experience

Internet setup

If there isn’t a broadband Internet service at Mum’s home, it could be a good gift idea to set up one there and install a good-quality router for the network as in the article that I had done about the “family house”.

To the same extent, optimising the home network with at least 802.11n dual stream coverage everywhere, preferably simultaneous dual-band 802.11n dual-stream Wi-Fi. As well, I would make sure that there is a HomePlug AV powerline segment in that network even if there is Ethernet in the house. This is to cater for ad-hoc wired-network setups.

The reason I would think of this is that you may be dealing with increased use of multimedia from online sources at the TV, laptop or mobile devices and you want reliable operation from these services.


Similarly, you may pool resources together to give Mum access to IT education and support programs/ This is more so if she hasn’t got much in the way of computer skills.

Online content

As well, pooling resources to an online content service such as Spotify, Netflix, Hulu or QuickFlix may be a way to give her access to the music and movies that these services provide. In the case of Spotify, this may be about using it as an online music library or as a “music tryout” service that can be part of her complete music experience.

These services are not about replacing the existing content library but about hunting for new content that may be of interest.


I wish you all a very happy and prosperous Mother’s Day with lots of fun, with you using this as a way to choose the right gift that will be value for money.

Intel gives a product-class name to the likes of the VAIO Tap 20


Intel Developing an Adaptive All-In-One PC Standard | Tom’s Hardware

My Comments

Windows 8 has added another product class to its list of computer product classes. This has been brought on by the likes of the Sony VAIO Tap 20 and the Dell XPS 18, where the computer can be set up to work as an all-in-one desktop or a tablet.

Intel have defined this class as the “Adaptive All-In-One” and they specify that the computer be equipped with a touchscreen that is between 18.4 inches and 27 inches. It would have an industrial design that allows the computer to be operated lying flat or standing up. Here, this could be in the form of a foldable kickstand or a detachable pedestal as well as being light enough to carry around or rest on your knees. The computers would be expected to be able to work from Lithium-polymer batteries thus allowing them to be used around the home without the need to be plugged in.

Typically these computers would implement a wireless (preferably Bluetooth) keyboard and mouse or, if they implement a detachable pedestal, they would have a wired keyboard and mouse that connects to the pedestal.

The goal eventually is to create software that exploits this design, mainly in the form of a multi-user touch environment. Typical usage classes could be games such as electronic versions of classic multi-player card and board games; or art-type applications.

As this Microsoft blog article and my comments on that article highlighted, this was about a computer product class that worked well with different comfort zones and skill levels. The article highlighted the children sitting on the couch and playing puzzle games on the VAIO Tap 20 with one playing and the other watching with interest.

Of course, it would be interesting to know who else would front up with a computer of this class in their product range.

On the other hand, there may be issues about particular chipsets or thickness limitations which may require manufacturers to use a different name for their computers of this kind. Similarly, manufacturers may want to use a different marketing name for these computers.

The Sony VAIO Tap 20 being used in a family with different computing skill levels

Article – From the horse’s mouth (Microsoft)

The Sony VAIO Tap 20 at Home with my Family

My Comments

I had just read this article which was part of Microsoft’s Windows blog and had noticed how the Sony VAIO Tap 20 tablet computer had fitted in with a household where there were different computing skill levels and desires. Here the computer was being brought around by Leigha Anderson, the author of the article I am citing, to her parents’ home which is what I would describe as a “family house”.

The article had highlighted situations like 13-year-old children sitting on the sofa in the lounge room and watching each other play a jigsaw puzzle game on the Tap 20 along with adult members of the family having it lying flat on the kitchen bench in order to read articles they had come across on the Internet. An example of this was taken further was when Leigha showed her father how the computer could be positioned and he was impressed with the different angles.

Even the concept of implementing different logins for each user appealed because it allowed the computer to be set up for each person’s own “comfort zone”. In my opinion this would help with bridging the gap for older people who aren’t all that comfortable with using the home computer.

Of course, if you are setting this or other similar equipment up for your parents or others with limited computer skills, you may need to work through the Windows Store yourself to choose the right software. This is so you don’t have the computer swamped with “rubbish” software that can slow down its performance.

Sony Vaio Tap 20–a new class of personal computer


Sony Vaio Tap 20 Review – Watch CNET’s Video Review

My Comments

We have seen the desktop-replacement laptops with the 17” displays as the pinnacle of the laptop computer class but Sony has introduced a new computer device class that bridges two other computer classes. This is part of an increased run of touch-enabled computers that take advantage of the Windows 8 touch shell.

This computer, known as the VAIO Tap 20 is a bridge between the tablet computer and the all-in-one desktop computer of the ilk of the VAIO J Series that I reviewed. Here, it is a Windows 8 tablet with the multi-touch user interface, but it can rest on a stand which links to a keyboard and mouse for regular all-in-one use.

It has 4Gb RAM and 750Gb on the hard disk but doesn’t have an integrated optical drive or HDMI video input. The screen comes in at 20” with a 1600×900 resolution while it is powered by an Intel i5 third-generation processor.

The CNET article still found this computer to have what they considered as dubious performance abilities of the all-in-one class and they found that, although it runs the Windows 8 operating system and has the NFC abilities, it is not worth the money. This is although the HP Z1 Workstation and the Malmgear Alpha 24 Super are showing up as highly-capable all-in-one computers that can handle advanced graphics for work and play.

But what I see of this is that it could be a proving ground for this computer class as more of the all-in-one computers come on the market in response to Windows 8. This is in the form a a large tablet computer which can work as a desk-based computer. Once Sony or someone else issue a “follow-up” model that has the better specifications and features, this could be a chance to legitimise the “all-in-one” tablet hybrid computer as a credible computing device.