Performance, Battery Life and Conclusions
For some quick performance testing I decided to run basically the same tests on the Sony VAIO Tap 20 that I ran on the Intel NUC that we looked at a couple of months ago. With just SiSoft Sandra, 3DMark11 and the x264 Benchmark though we can get a general idea of how this hardware compares to other off the shelf systems.
The Tap 20 is definitely faster than the NUC and runs even with the original Intel Ultrabook platforms using the Ivy Bridge processor in our synthetic CPU testing. The full desktop implementation of the Core i3-2105 is still quite a bit faster so you can't expect the same level of responsiveness.
Obviously using the Tap 20 for encoding is a bit of a stretch of a use case, this benchmark gives you another comparison data point for relative performance. The hardware in this Sony machine is running about 20-27% faster than the NUC.
Gaming performance is not where any of these entry level Intel platforms excel and we find the Sony VAIO Tap 20 is towards the back of the pack.
In a more abstract testing manner, I have been using the Sony Tap 20 off and on throughout the past couple of weeks in our office and I found the system to perform quite well in every day tasks. As a frequent SSD user I can tell right away that this platform didn't include the SSD upgrade and that would be the first thing I would change if the machine made it into a full time usage scenario here or at home. For a computer that is meant to be used with the touch-based applications of the Windows Store I think the Sony VAIO Tap 20 has more than enough horsepower for the job.
Battery Life – Is it Mobile?
One of the most intriguing features of the Tap 20 is the idea of the included battery and using the machine as a sort of "mobile all-in-one". While running on our in-house battery test that stresses Wi-Fi usage for web browsing I was able get just under 2 hours of usage time with the Sony VAIO Tap 20, 1 hour and 54 minutes to be exact.
In my mind that doesn't make the machine "mobile" in any sense except inside the house but that is obviously the only goal that Sony had for it. I can envision this machine being taken from the kitchen to the couch for someone to play a game of Angry Birds or from the loft into the kitchen while preparing a meal without having to move the power cable along with it. If the idea of a computer in your kitchen or living room has been appealing to you for a while but you didn't like the idea of permanently putting a keyboard, mouse and power brink there, the Tap 20 is a great option.
This isn't the first all-in-one design with a touch screen and it isn't even the first one with a small embedded battery for slight mobile use but it is one of the first in a new generation of products enabled by Intel's Ivy Bridge architecture and with performance capability to appease most users in 2013. With what is essentially the same hardware that you would find inside of a Ultrabook laptop computer the Sony VAIO Tap 20 is able to keep up with Windows 8 without issue while powering a decent quality 1600×900 20-in display.
Performance was fantastic in general usage scenarios and the inclusion of the battery does make the Tap 20 more appealing for home integration with the ability to move from room to room for short periods of time without having to drag around a power cable. Starting at $879, the Sony VAIO Tap 20 would make a great computer for a family or office space that needs multi-user interaction full, or part time.