Sony VAIO YB Series (VPCYB16KG) laptop
Sony VAIO YB Series (VPCYB16KG) laptop review: A good looking 11.6in notebook with AMD Fusion technololgy
- Good looks, good graphics performance, doesn't get noticeably warm, HDMI output, excellent 11.6in screen, very small power adapter
- Hard drive produced slow results in our tests, bottom half of touchpad was sometimes unresponsive
The Sony VAIO YB Series is one of the best little laptops on the market. Its screen quality is excellent, it performs well, and it has good looks as well as plenty of useful features. We recommend it to anyone who wants a sub-$1000 ultraportable laptop that isn't a netbook. Perhaps go for a colour other than pink though.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
One thing is certain when reviewing a Sony VAIO laptop: lots of people will come up to us and tell us how nice it looks. And we're not going to argue. The Sony VAIO YB Series (VPCYB16KG) ultraportable laptop (or sub-notebook) sure does look good with its sloping style, subtle curves, isolated keys and coloured lid (although we hate pink), and it feels very comfortable to use, too. It's an 11.6in notebook that's light (only 1.42kg), and best of all, it also has a very small and light power adapter.
VAIO YB Series: Specifications
The Sony VAIO YB Series (VPCYB16KG) is based on the AMD Fusion platform, which houses processing and graphics capabilities in a single little chip, which AMD claims is around the size of an Australian five cent piece. It also has 2GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Gigabit Ethernet. The Fusion platform in this VAIO is composed of the dual-core, 1.6GHz AMD E-350 CPU and AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics, which give the notebook a decent dab of speed for office applications, Web and multimedia tasks.
The graphics processor, in particular, is very strong for such a small laptop. Not only does it drive a beautiful 11.6in LED-backlit LCD screen with a resolution of 1366x768 pixels, it can also drive a Full HD television through the notebook's HDMI port (there is also a VGA port for those of you who want to hook it up to monitor that doesn't have HDMI). Once connected to a TV, the graphics driver has options for adjusting the screen if the desktop ends up being too big or too small; this means you can fit the whole Windows 7 Home Premium desktop onto a TV. We couldn't do this with the 10.1in Toshiba NB550D, which runs a slightly slower Fusion platform comprising a 1GHz AMD C-50 CPU and AMD Radeon HD 6250 graphics. Movie playback on a 40in Full HD TV was clear and smooth, and if you buy yourself a remote control the VAIO YB Series can be used capably as a Media Centre.
VAIO YB Series: Performance
In our performance tests, the VAIO YB Series returned solid results. Our Blender 3D rendering test was completed in 2min 44sec, while our iTunes MP3 encoding test took 4min 4sec, and our hard drive transfer test recorded a rate of 15.82 megabytes per second. The hard drive result is a lot slower than we expected (we would have been happy with around 20-22MBps), while the Blender and MP3 results are much faster than a netbook with an Intel Atom CPU and a little slower than a laptop with an Intel ultra-low-voltage Core i3 CPU. The previous VAIO Y Series notebook we reviewed, the VPCYA15FGB, features an Intel Core i3-380UM CPU and recorded times of 1min 52sec in Blender and 3min 06sec in iTumes.
The overall feel of the YB Series isn't too sluggish when you use it for typical office tasks and Web browsing, but if you're used to a laptop with an Intel Core i5 CPU or similar, you will notice that it's a lot less responsive when launching applications and system windows. When it comes to processing graphics, though, the YB Series isn't a slouch, and large photos and videos will be displayed with ease. A result of 2229 in 3DMark06 reinforces just how much better than a typical laptop (let alone an entry-level netbook) the graphics processing of the Fusion platform is. For example, Intel HD graphics in a mainstream Core i5 notebook (such as the Toshiba Satellite C650) will record a score between 1000 and 1500 in this benchmark.
We love the overall style of the VAIO YB Series laptop and also think it's quite comfortable to use — especially on your lap. The notebook never really got warm at all during our tests, even after many hours of use. It will get warm, however, if you inadvertently block the air vent on the left side of the chassis, so you will need to keep this in mind. The notebook feels solidly built; its hinges are smooth and do a good job of holding the screen in place. The battery does rattle around a little though (we've also noticed in other VAIO laptops recently). It didn't cause any problems and the battery never fell out while we were using the laptop.
VAIO YB Series: Battery life
In our battery test, in which we disable power management, maximise screen brightness, enable Wi-Fi and loop an Xvid-encoded video file, the VAIO YB Series lasted 3hr 34min, which is 20min better than the VAIO Y Series notebook equipped with a Intel Core i3-380UM CPU and 21min better than the Toshiba NB550D. Its not as good as the time recorded by many netbooks, such as the HP Mini 5103 and Acer Aspire One Happy, but the VAIO YB Series has a lot more CPU and graphics processing power.
The one thing we don't like about the Sony VAIO YB Series laptop is its touchpad, which was sometimes unresponsive when we dragged our finger across its bottom half. Apart from that and the slow hard drive, we have few complaints. The screen's colour and clarity is among the best (if not the best) we've seen in a sub-$1000 laptop, the HDMI port allows you to plug in to a big-screen TV with ease, and the laptop's base barely gets warm even after prolonged periods of use. If you're after a small laptop for general use, watching videos and viewing photos, then you probably can't do any better than the VAIO YB Series (VPCYA15FGB). We recommend it.
Become a fan of PC World Australia on Facebook
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters
Join the PC World newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Huawei Mate 9
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 4 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 5 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
Latest News Articles
- Sleek new Galaxy S8 phones feature facial recognition, Bixby intelligent agent
- 5 Samsung Galaxy S8 features Apple should steal for iPhone 8
- Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro finally adds 4K video support for local files
- Samsung unveils Bixby voice assistant for upcoming Galaxy S8
- Sony's virtual reality suit is why people go to SXSW
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- CCDB2 System ProgrammerVIC
- FTTechnical Business Analyst- Systems & Network -Telco backgroundNSW
- CCBusiness Solutions AnalystNSW
- CCBusiness Implementation Manager - Wealth AdviceNSW
- FTJava Developer - Short team Contract @ CanberraVIC
- FTSOE Team LeaderNSW
- FTSenior Front End DeveloperNSW
- TPService Desk AnalystVIC
- TPSenior/Lead AEM DeveloperQLD
- FTBusiness Consultant - AccountingWA
- FTIT Security Team LeadNSW
- FTSenior Change ManagerNSW
- FTNV1 Cleared Software Engineer - Defence Projects - North Ryde areaNSW
- CCSenior Developer - Oracle - TelcoVIC
- FTLevel 2/3 Application Support SpecialistQLD
- TPBusiness Project Manager - DigitalNSW
- FTSales/Account Manager - Education SectorNSW
- CCNetwork Engineer (cisco)NSW
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTReporting Analyst - HR / PayrollNSW
- FTFull Stack Software DeveloperQLD
- TPSystem AdministratorQLD
- FTResponsive Design Developer, Frontend, PHP, WordpressNSW
- FTManager Portfolio PlanningQLD