Sony Vaio YB is one of the newest additions to the Vaio Y series which is powered by the new AMD Fusion (AMD E350) processor family. Although Sony does not want to call it a netbook, I would still refer to it as a netbook since it sports a display smaller than 12-inches.
Display, Build quality
The Sony Vaio YB has a 11.6-inch LED backlit display which is the standard size for the Fusion based netbooks. The display is glossy-type and packs a standard 1366 x 768 pixel resolution. Even though the body is not made from carbon fiber, I have found the plastic to be of extremely high quality. There are quite a lot of ports on YB – 3x USB 2.0 ports (1x on left side and 2x on other side), mini D-Sub, HDMI, LAN port, memory stick reader, and an SD card reader. Measuring 290 × 202.8 × 25, it just weighs 1.46 kg with the battery installed.
Sony has equipped it with a great chiclet keyboard. Its 1.6mm key stroke is very satisfactory and was very comfortable to my digits. I did not notice any flex or bounce which is a good thing. Like other compact VAIOs, the right shift key has been shrunken down.
The touchpad is amazing for a Windows computer. The texture has dots on the palm rest and works smoothly , but I do wish it was as big as the one found on the Macbook Air 11.6″. The dedicated mouse buttons are big enough and don’t require a lot of pressure to register a mouse click action.
Storage, RAM, Expandability
Just by removing three screws, you can get access to RAM modules. There are 2x RAM slots and the netbook comes with a 2GB module. Maximum RAM supported is 4GB. The included 320GB hard disk is standard 2.5 inch and can be swapped easily for a bigger one too. For the first time in a long time, Sony has made upgrading HDD and RAM so easy for the end user.
The Vaio YB netbook is powerful enough for the demands of daily basic computing. Compared to Atom D525 processor found in Asus 1215N, the AMD E350 (dual core) is faster and speedier. Here is a chart showing PCMark Vantage benchmark:
AMD E350 APU has a TDP of 18W and runs Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit OS like a champ. 1080p videos ran without a problem with 65 percent CPU consumption.
I ran the BBench benchmark with the standard battery (VGP-BPS21A), I was able to get 5 hours of runtime. In real world tests (balanced mode), I got 4-5 hours while doing web surfing, watching few YouTube videos and editing few docs in MS Word. Sony also offers a larger battery (VGP-VPS21A) with which Sony claims you will be able to get around 11 hours of use. The AC adapter is similar to the ones used in Sony Vaio P netbooks – small and very compact. I like it more than my white Macbook’s brick.
Bottom Line – Sony Vaio YB is an affordable, powerful netbook that would be a good companion of any student or somewhere who wishes to have a powerful computer for blogging or eating spreadsheets.
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