The Bottom Line
- Durable Magnesium Case
- Larger Hard Drive
- ExpressCard Slot
- More Expensive Than Competition
- Below Average Battery Life
- Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-6400 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 13.3" WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel GMA 4500MHD Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Three USB 2.0, FireWire, HDMI, VGA, ExpressCard/34, Memory Stick/SD Card Slots
- 12.8" x 8.9" x 1.3" @ 3.9 lbs.
- Windows 7 Professional, Works, VAIO Suite, Norton Internet Security
Guide Review - Sony VAIO VPC-Y118GX/BI 13.3-inch Ultraportable Laptop PC
Mar 24 2010 - Sony's VAIO Y series ultraportable is a new lower cost option from a company that specializes in making many high priced compact laptops. It is based around the Intel CULV platform that puts battery life and cost ahead of performance. The system isn't going to be a trailblazer but it has sufficient performance for most general applications and consumers. The dual core Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 with 4GB of DDR3 helps handle multitasking without much of an issue.
One area where the Sony VAIO Y is a bit different than the competition is the materials used in the laptop. Most laptops in this price range and class tend to use a fair amount of plastics and aluminum to keep costs and weights down. Sony has decided to have their primary case be made from magnesium. This gives the system a very solid feel with no flex at all.
Most of the ultraportables tend to sacrifice peripheral ports due to the limited space within them. Sony has managed to provide a wide range of options including some that are rarely found amoung ultraportables. The two notable items are a FireWire port for use with digital camcorders and some high speed external storage and an ExpressCard/34 slot. The ExpressCard slot is the real highlight of the ports. This allows easy expansion of networking functions for items such as cellular WWAN or WiMAX connections.
Like almost all ultraportables, Sony has decided not to include an optical drive with the VAIO Y series. What they do include is a large 500GB hard drive that provides roughly 50 percent more storage for applications and data than the typical 320GB drive used by the competition. The downside is that the drive seems to perform slower especially when booting up the system.
Sony has always had some great screens in their laptops and the VAIO Y is no different. The 13.3-inch screen provides a colorful and bright picture. The integrated Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics won't allow the system to be used for any sort of gaming but it can handle streaming HD video.
Sony claims that the VAIO Y laptop can achieve eight hours of running time which isn't uncommon for ultra-low voltage platform laptops. In my video streaming test, the system was able to run for roughly four and three-quarter hours before going into standby mode. This translates to roughly six hours or so of more typical usage. This puts it below its claims and many similar competing models from Acer, ASUS and HP but it probably will be plenty for many users.
Sony's other issue is the price. At just under $1000, the VAIO Y is several hundred more than similarly equipped laptops from the competition. Sony can justify the cost somewhat by a few added features and the extra durability of the frame but this may not matter to some.