Sony Vaio Y-series 11.6in review
When is a netbook not a netbook? When it’s designed by Sony and AMD. Alan Lu takes a look at the new 11.6in Vaio Y series laptop to see if it really does have all the advantages of a netbook without any of the limitations.
Sony has produced netbooks before, but we’ve been unimpressed with the cramped keyboards and poor battery life of the company’s previous attempts. Although Sony doesn’t call its new Vaio Y series laptop a netbook, it uses a new AMD E350 Fusion dual core processor which, in our application benchmarks, performs very similarly to Intel’s Atom netbook processors.
Paired with 4GB of RAM the Vaio Y feels very snappy and it’s fast enough for working in a couple of applications simultaneously or basic image editing, but we wouldn’t want to use it for more intensive work such as editing video.
One area where the E350 processor is superior to an Atom is graphics performance. Its on-board graphics chip, which shares system memory, is far quicker at rendering 3D graphics, managing around 12fps in a 3D game. We wouldn’t want to use it for strenuous work in a GPGPU-accelerated program, but it’s also capable of playing 720p high definition video so it’s not without its uses.
One oddity is that even though the Vaio Y has 4GB of RAM, it only comes with the 32-bit version of Windows 7.
One oddity is that even though the Vaio Y has 4GB of RAM, it only comes with the 32-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium. This means that only 3.5GB of RAM is actually available for use. It’s an annoying limitation as the operating system can’t be swapped out for a 64-bit version, or Windows 7 Professional for that matter, when ordering. Users still stuck with older applications that aren’t 64-bit compatible might be pleased though.
Even more oddly the memory can’t be upgraded past 4GB. Although this sounds limiting, the Vaio Y’s AMD processor isn’t designed for demanding applications so it’s more likely you’ll bump into its limitations first rather than a lack of memory.
Processor: AMD E350, 1.6GHz
Memory: 4GB 1,066MHz DDR3 RAM
Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6130
Hard disk: 320GB hard disk
Display: 11.6in 1,366x768, LED-backlit screen
Features: 0.3 megapixel camera, microphone, stereo speakers
Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
Ports: 3 x USB2, 1 x VGA, 1 x HDMI, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x SDHC card reader, 1x Memory Stick Pro Duo card reader, 3.5mm headphone and microphone audio sockets,
Dimensions: 290x203x25mm (WxDxH)
Warranty: 1 year Collect and Return warranty
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Part code: VPCYB2M1E
Image editing 21
Video encoding 11
Multiple apps 8
Light usage battery life – 6h45m