Sony VAIO YB Series

The Sony VAIO YB ropes in AMD’s new Fusion platform that unites low-voltage processor and strong Radeon graphics. This new gen, budget-oriented 11inch ultraportable isn’t the cheapest in its class but bestows powerful performance, good battery life and attractive software.

Configuration

You get the model in 3 colors: metallic pink, light green and silver. The notebook is equipped with AMD E-350 processor that runs at 1.6GHz and AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics card with 384MB dedicated memory. To nosh up the CPU there’s 4GB of RAM and 500GB 5,400rpm SATA hard drive.

Design

Though the model comes under budget-friendly ultraportable category, it doesn’t hold back on style. It integrates the best design components from Sony’s store. The metallic fuchsia colored closure, the chrome deck and the neat ooze classiness shows up in the crowd. The curved metal pivots ignites green to show power on and orange to show sleep mode and provide an innovative look and feel for the YB model. The metallic surfaced palm rest concludes the modern aesthetic.

The body measures 11.4inch wide, 8inch deep and 1.25inch tall and weighs about 3.2pounds, lighter than the other 11inch ultraportables.

Display

The 11inch glossy display supports 1366X768 pixel resolution and wide range of hues. The images look sharp and bright enough with vibrant colors. Though having glossy surface, you can see surprisingly very less reflection. The viewing angles are of course not supported in broad scope. Pictures get washed out beyond 45deg on both left and right sides. The 11inch laptops are not actually meant for group viewing.

  • CPU : 1.6-GHz AMD E-350 processor
  • OS : Windows 7 Home Premium
  • RAM : 4GB
  • Graphics Card : AMD Radeon HD 6310
  • Display : 11.6inch glossy LCD display
  • Webcam : 0.3MP
  • Dimension : 11.42 X 8 X 1.25 inches
  • Weight : 3.2 pounds
  • Price : $599.99

Keyboard and Touchpad

The island-style keyboard is pleasing and supplies a sensible amount of tactile feedback. On the other hand, keyboard is smaller compared to those on competitors and the right Shift key is tiny. Also the keys are totally flat so it’s hard to find out their boundaries with feel alone. You can type as speedily as usual but you do tend to make errors especially involving punctuation and Shift keys. However coming to palm rest, it has nice texture, won’t get hot very soon and it slopes downward.

The 2.5X1.4inch touchpad is bit on the smaller side; however the smooth theme surface gives precise navigation all around the desktop. It supports multitouch gestures like pinch-to-zoom. The 2 discrete mouse buttons offer correct amount of feedback.

Audio and Webcam

The audio quality puts down something to be preferred. The heavy bass tunes sound tinny. The louder guitar songs are disappointing. The speakers cannot handle high-pitch audio.

The 0.3MP webcam captures the decent pictures. While on Skype call, you get to see the face details properly. Under the proper lighting condition you can see sharp images with color clarity.

Ports and Connectivity

The YB carries quite standard set of ports. The right spine houses audio in & out jacks, 2 USB ports, Ethernet port and a Kensington lock. The left spine houses HDMI out, VGA port and one more USB port. As a surprise, the front edge holds 2 different card readers where one for the SD cards and another for Sony’s proprietary Memory Sticks.

It supports 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connection as well as Bluetooth v2.1+EDR.

Software

VAIO Gate has easy shortcuts to all VAIO YB’s previously loaded applications. Sony Media Gallery lets you arrange and view photos, play music and video files. A unique feature coming with the photo viewer is face detection software. Sony’s SenseMe feature helps in sorting out songs into thematic playlists. The lime light of media player is its support for the gesture control. Along with media player there’s Sony’s Picture Motion Browser, photo & video organizer. Other software like VAIO Media Player plus, VAIO Transfer Support, Remote Play with PlayStation 3, Remote Keyboard, Arcsoft Webcam Companion and Sony VAIO Care are also brought in.

Performance

The system bestows solid performance which is more than enough for most of the tasks. The hard drive takes about 43secs to boot into OS. It copies 4.97GB of mixed media files in 3mins 30 secs with a rate of 24.2Mbps, a bit less than category average.

Using Oxelon Media Encoder the YB transcodes a 114MB MP4 video to AVI format taking 2mins 47secs, in fact very slow when compared to category average.

Although the YB is not as quick as normal ultraportable on CPU-intensive tasks, the integrated graphics offer impressive video playback and also some gaming muscle. It is capable of delivering high frame rates for any of the video you throw at it. Handles the playback smoothly and gives sharp images.

Coming to gaming, YB is not suitable for it. When you play World of Warcraft turning down the special effects it can supply 29fps, slightly lower than category average. But with the effects on you get only 13fps.

The battery can endure up to 4 hours 58 mins that involves constant usage. The Atheros AR9285 802.11n Wi-Fi card delivers a decent throughput. The system stays cool even after using for hours together. The company offers 1 year of warranty.

Conclusion

The Sony VAIO YB has lot going for it, starting from elegant design to its superior media player software. It is the most attractive 11inch model available under $600 in the current market.

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