The Sony VAIO Y Series notebook proved to be a very well built laptop with superb image quality, a flex free keyboard and impressive audio for a notebook that is just 11.6-inches. The graphics horse power under the hood was amazing as the AMD E-350 APU with AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics was able to play mainstream games at low resolutions without any issues. We tested with some graphics intensive DX10 game titles and saw respectable scores for a laptop in this class. When playing less graphics intensive games like StarCraft II we found this notebook could hit over 30FPS with ease.
This notebook is the perfect solution for travelers that need a small yet powerful PC. The Sony VAIO Y Series laptop could easily do office work and surf the web. It’s also small enough to not get crushed when the person that is sitting in front of you throws the seat back into recline mode on an airplane. Not only does the small size and light weight of this notebook help its portability, but the 1366×768 screen resolution is great as you can get that whole spreadsheet on the display rather than having to scroll all day to see the proper cells like on some notebooks that have 1024×768 or 1280×800 resolutions. The battery life was also decent as we were able to stretch it out to four hours, which is longer than the average flight length.
The two weak points of this notebook would have to be the sluggish 5400-RPM hard drive and the low 1.6GHz clock speed of the AMD Fusion APU. This notebook is based on the AMD Brazos platform and we had the pleasure of benchmarking that system last year. We found the Zacate E-350 APU to do pretty well, but that was in a system with a Crucial C300 SSD and let me tell you the difference was huge. For example the Sony VAIO Y series notebook had an overall score of ~2,100 with a hard drive score of ~2,400 in the PCMark Vantage benchmark. The AMD Brazos platform we tested last year with the SSD scored ~3,300 in PCMark Vantage and the hard drive score was ~14,000. So, a solid-state drive helped overall system performance by roughly 57%. Nothing that you can’t fix down the road though by upgrading to an SSD. We have seen some Kingston SSDNow 96GB drives selling for under $100 after rebate on Newegg, so it wouldn’t be too much more to add one.
The Sony VAIO Y series has an MSRP $599.99 and this exact model can be found for $549.99 online at Office Depot. If you do some looking around you might be able to find them for less as we were shocked to see Sony selling the VPCYB15KX/S direct for $499.99. For under $500 this notebook does offer a ton of features at and still should leave some money in your wallet. We highly suggest using that extra money to buy an SSD as if you do it will transform this notebook into a whole new machine and it’s well worth it in our opinion. Using this laptop as it comes right out of the box isn’t bad, but we are used to running systems where you can download a file, install a file and browse the web without getting hesitations. We don’t like to feel hesitations and we are sure you don’t want that on a brand new PC as well. If you are a one thing at a time person then ignore what we just said.
Legit Bottom Line: The Sony VAIO Y Series is a very portable notebook that packs some serious performance in a notebook that is just 11.6-inches, but the slow 5400-RPM hard drive appears to be holding back the true potential of this notebook.