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Sony Vaio Y Series (VPC-YB2M1E) review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £430
inc VAT

An excellent evolution of the netbook; Sony’s new Y series is a great looking ultraportable that has enough power for everyday tasks and it won’t balk at playing high definition video either


11.6 in 1,366×768 display, 1.5kg, 1.6GHz AMD E-350, 4.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit

Weighing less than 1.5kg, you’ll hardly notice the Y Series in your bag, but it’s also surprisingly usable for such a small laptop. Like Sony’s larger Vaios, it has Chiclet-style keys that are spaced apart. The only difference here is they’ve been reduced in size slightly in order to fit. Flat on a desk, we had no trouble typing at full speed. The touchpad is also on the small side, but the smooth surface made navigating the desktop very easy. The touchpad buttons are equally small, but they’re perfectly sprung with great tactile feedback.

Sony VAIO Y-series Top

We appreciated Sony’s decision to use a 1,366×768 screen resolution, rather than the lower 1,024×600 usually found in netbooks; it certainly made browsing the web easier as we had to do less scrolling per page. Overall image quality was average, with reasonable screen brightness and accurate enough colours. The glossy screen finish was very reflective, which is made worse by the limited amount of screen tilt available.

Unsurprisingly, sound quality isn’t one of the Y series’ strong points; the very small speakers produce quiet audio that lacks any presence. At maximum volume, high notes began to distort and there was no audible bass. If you want to watch a movie, listen to music or stream video from the internet, you’ll be better off with headphones.

Sony VAIO Y-series Ports 2

To look at, the Y Series’ fantastic design puts many other small laptops to shame. The bright pink lid might not be to everyone’s taste, but you can at least specify a different colour if you buy directly from Sony’s website. The side-mounted power button in particular looks great and also prevents accidental shut-downs when reaching for a shortcut key. With the exception of the two memory card readers at the front of the unit, the side panels also contain all the ports: three USB, HDMI, headphone and microphone jacks are all to be expected, but the VGA port is a nice inclusion for older displays – many laptops omit this port entirely now.

Sony VAIO Y-series Ports

At roughly £430, the Y series is around £100 more than the average netbook, but it’s clear why. The more powerful processor and extra memory make a huge difference in Windows and the increased screen resolution makes web browsing much easier. It’s just as portable and has a better than average battery life, which makes it ideal for working on the move. However, before you reach for your credit card, similar Intel-powered laptops are just around the corner and we’re sure these will be more powerful for the same price. Unless you’re desperate to buy a budget ultraportable right now, our advice is to wait.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor AMD E-350
Processor clock speed 1.6GHz
Memory 4.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 4GB
Size 27x289x202mm
Weight 1.5kg
Sound Realtek HD Audio
Pointing device touchpad


Viewable size 11.6 in
Native resolution 1,366×768
Graphics Processor AMD Radeon HD 6310
Graphics/video ports VGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory 384MB


Total storage capacity 320GB
Optical drive type none

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11b/g/n
PC Card slots none
Supported memory cards SDHC, Memory Stick Pro Duo
Other ports minijack audio output, minijack microphone input


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Operating system restore option backup and recovery software
Software included Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £430