The concept of tablet-as-desktop (or, tabletop PCs) has been growing a bit since Windows 8, and it's an enticing proposition if the price and design are right. The new Sony Vaio Tap 21 seems to hit on both fronts, offering up a very attractive, very portable touch-screen 21-inch PC. Hopefully it'll prove to be affordable, too.
Thecame out last year and was one of our early favorites in the tabletop PC world. The landscape's , but the Tap 21 has an aluminum chassis and easy-fold rear stand/hinge that give the PC all the appeal of a well-build monitor/tablet with a bit of the feel of a TV. It's also 30 percent lighter than last year's model at about 8 pounds, despite gaining in inch in overall screen size. It might be the first big-screen tabletop PC I've felt a longing toward: its crisp, solid design already feels like a winner. We got to see one up close, and its design improvements seem like a big step forward from the more plastic Tap 20 before it.
Like many other tabletop PCs, the Tap 21 has a built-in battery for a few hours of runtime before plugging into an outlet, which you can view as "tablet mode" or battery backup in case of a power outage, your pick. Most people will probably see the Tap 21 as a highly portable 8-pound PC rather than a true big-screen tablet: that rear stand doesn't fold down completely on its own, springing slowly back into place after being bent back. The Tap 21 can be outfitted with a Core i5 or 7 processor and either solid-state or hybrid hard drive storage, and comes with a fair amount of included software: Sony's Fingertapps touch organizer, a family calendar app, and a Sony Imagination Studio Vaio Edition software package (Movie Studio Platinum, Acid Music Studio, and Sound Forge Audio Studio).
The Tap 21 is far from the only tabletop PC out there; in fact, you can find a lot of options. But the Tap 21 could end up being one of the best.