Sony Vaio YA is similar to the Vaio YB that we reviewed earlier. Like the latter, this Vaio has a similar 11.6-inch display but is instead powered by Intel Core i3-380UM processor (or Core i5-470UM) chip. Despite all that power, it still manages a respectable battery runtime while still being light. Read the full review to find out why I loved reviewing this sub-notebook from Sony!
The build quality is amazing and I expect nothing less from Sony. However, unlike other, more expensive Vaios, the lid is not metallic but is very solid and should hold well for the coming years. The power button is integrated into the cylindrical hinge which also gives an idea to the user about the battery juice remaining inside. For example: If you 50 percent battery, it would turn orange. The display measures 11.6-inches and packs the standard 1366 x 768 pixel resolution. This is much higher than most of the netbooks you see around which pack a not-so-comfortable 1024 x 600 pixels in their 10.1-inch display frame. The display is glossy and has weak contrast ratio of 170:1. This is something you do not get in Sony notebooks but since this costs so much less than the entry level Macbook Air, I can spare Sony for equipping it with a poor display. Nevertheless, it is good enough for watching YouTube videos and office work.
The keyboard is amazing and I had absolutely no problems using it. The chiclet keys are similar to the ones found on Macbook-lineup. I do have a complain however – right shift key which has been shrunken down considerably. This is the same mistake Sony did with their previous 11.6-incher, Vaio X. Fortunately, there are problems with its touchpad. All multi touch gestures on this Synaptics touchpad worked like a charm.
As mentioned earlier in the review, the Sony Vaio YA comes in two configurations – Core i3-380UM or Core i5-470UM. The one which MobilityUpdate got for review came with Core i3 and it completely blew away every single Atom powered netbook which to me, is no surprise.
Core i3-380UM Benchmark results – The processor has two cores and is made for ultra portable notebooks, ie, something about the size of a netbook but packing the power of 15-inchers. Since it is an i3 CPU, there is no Intel’s Turbo boost and is limited to 1.33GHz clock speed. It has TDP of 18 watts and can execute 4 threads at the same time. The CPU is backed by GMA 300 graphics and 4GB of DDR3 RAM which is accessible by unscrewing few screws located at the bottom. Here is the WEI (windows experience index):
- Processor: 4.8
- Memory: 5
- Graphics: 3.8
- Gaming Graphics: 4.8
- Hard Disk: 5.9
Here is how it compares to other processors:
AMD E350 is used in the Sony Vaio YB and many new 12.1-inch netbooks like the Asus 1215B which although delivers great performance is nothing when compared to the Core i3 processor that comes in the Sony Vaio YA. However, this notebook disappoints in the graphics department where its GMA 3000 HD graphics scored a pitiful 1135 in the 3D Mark 06 test.
The Sony Vaio YA comes equipped with a 2500mAh battery which magically was able to give me around 4 hours of runtime on a single charge. I believe the processor plays a major role as it goes as low as 7.6 watts when idle and up to 18 watts when on full load. Sony can claim whatever unreal battery runtimes, but I was able to get 4 hours when doing web surfing over Wi-Fi.
Verdict – Sony Vaio YA is even more powerful than Vaio YB, all packed into a compact netbook-ish form factor. If you are planning to travel on the road, make sure to get a bigger battery to get better runtimes.
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March 2, 2011