Monday, April 05

Geek

Sony Y Series Quick Review

Okay, I've had a day to play with Sae, so here's a quick review.  My model is the VPCY115FGS, which is silver and comes with 2GB of RAM and a 320GB disk drive.  The model sold in the US is black, comes with 4GB of RAM and either a 320GB or 500GB drive, but is otherwise identical.

Appearance: It's certainly a pretty little thing.  I think the silver model is better looking than the black version, but either way it's sleek and subtly curvy.  Appearance rates as excellent.

Build: Despite being a fairly lightweight unit (1.77Kg / 3.9 lbs) it's very solidly constructed.  It just feels well put-together.  The level of finish is also top-rate.  Build rates as excellent.

Display: The screen is very bright and sharp and the colours are very clear.  The horizontal viewing angle is reasonable, but the vertical viewing angle is very narrow.  You'll definitely find yourself adjusting the angle of the screen if you change positions.  It has a gloss finish, so if reflections bother you, well, it will bother you.  Display rates as good.

Performance: The processor is a Core 2 Duo SU7300 - a 1.3GHz chip, so it's not going to win any races.  Graphics are provided by an Intel 4500MHD IGP, which is not going to win any races either.  Compared to my old notebook - a 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo with GeForce 8400M graphics - it feels a little slow, but not significantly so.  However, while it can play HD video (at least, 720P), in my quick test it ran one of the cores flat out, so it's almost certainly skipping some frames.  It's still watchable, but it is at its limit (short of a multi-threaded video player).  Performance rates as fair.

Battery life: Not tested yet; I'll find out about that tomorrow.

Sound: Unless you're buying one of those monster 18" 10-pound notebooks, you don't expect to get much out of your notebook speakers, but even by those low standards the Y-series speakers fail to impress.  They're not muddy or distorted, but they are decidedly tinny.  The headphone jack works fine, but even that seems to lack volume.  Overall, sound rates as adequate.

Networking: The Y-series comes with gigabit ethernet, b/g/n Wifi - albeit only 2.4GHz, not dual-band - and Bluetooth.  All of them seem to work.  Networking rates as good.

Expansion: Up to 8GB of RAM (though that will cost you a bundle), separate SD and memory stick slots, and an ExpressCard/34 slot.  Three USB 2.0 ports, one 4-pin Firewire port.  That's about all you could ask for in a 13" notebook; there's not really any room for more expansion ports.  The only thing possibly missing is eSATA, and I expect eSATA to get stomped by USB 3 this year anyway.  Expansion rates as excellent.

Keyboard: As is becoming increasingly and annoyingly common, the Y-series has a chiclet keyboard rather than real keys.  That said, the feel of the keys is fairly good, and you can type on it.  I rate it as fair, however, I don't touch-type and can't rate it on that.

Overall: If the battery life holds up (Sony promises "up to" 6 to 8 hours; I'm expecting real-world use to deliver about half that), then it will make a great little lightweight notebook.  Right now, I'd rate it at very good overall; we'll see tomorrow how long the battery lasts (but it can't possibly be worse than my old notebook's 20 minutes...)

Update: Just tried playing HD video with the latest version of Zoom Player, and the CPU load did nudge down to around 40%, and it looked pretty smooth.  I wouldn't bother trying 1080P, though.

Update: Battery life so far is very good.  30 minutes of 720P video with the screen at full brightness used 14% of the battery.  If that's vaguely linear, that's 3h:30m for video playback.  15 minutes of light use prior to that only accounted for 2% of the battery, so it could last quite a while.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:15 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 M'lady has excellent results with her eee(e?(eeeee?))pc 100something something runing that ubunutuwutu stuff.  She gets a good solid 8 hours of actual work (making and formatting text documents in various languages).  Politically I won't support sony until the current management is lying dead on my front stoop, but good to know they still build decent equipment.  Maybe they'll actually do something for us open sourcies one day and I can forgive them.

Posted by: The Dread Pirate Neck Beard at Tuesday, April 06 2010 11:05 AM (wOtDN)

2 Dang it, for some reason I thought the SU7x00 processors were not compatible with the GS45/GM45 chipset... *shakes fist* Darn you Fujitsu (and practically every other laptop manufacturer), why didn't you give us something better than GMA950 graphics! (I've got the small and light Fujitsu P1620, also powered by an SU7300, but with a 945 core logic chipset, giving me hardly better than netbook level graphics performance)

Posted by: Kayle at Wednesday, April 07 2010 03:04 PM (a2DI7)

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