Heat and Noise
The VAIO YB benefits from the low-wattage AMD E-350 APU in terms of heat output as well as overall performance. The exterior temperature of the notebook barely increased after 30 minutes of serious activity. The bottom of the notebook barely reached a temperature of 91 degrees Fahrenheit. Under normal conditions at or near idle, the same spots were about 5-6 degrees cooler. The system fan works harder in this notebook when the graphics are being stressed, but it's similar to the fan volume we heard from the HP Pavilion dm1z and Acer Aspire 1830T -- it shouldn't be too annoying for most people in a typical school or office environment.
At the time of this writing the SonyStyle website claims that the new VAIO Y notebook delivers up to 6 hours of battery life with the standard battery. This is far more realistic than some of the battery life claims we've seen from various manufacturers over the years, but we still had to put this notebook through our own tests.
In our tests with the screen brightness set to 70%, wireless active while refreshing a website on regular 60-second intervals, and Windows 7 set to the Balanced profile, the Sony VAIO YB continued running for 4 hours and 32 minutes. That is significantly less than the battery life of the HP Pavilion dm1z or the Lenovo ThinkPad X120e which both have virtually identical configurations.
The lower battery life of the VAIO YB probably has to do with the fact this laptop uses a 38Wh battery compared to the 50+Wh batteries on the HP and Lenovo notebooks. I'm reasonably sure you can extend the battery life past the 5-hour mark if you lower the screen brightness and aren't actively loading pages every 60 seconds, but I don't see how the new Sony VAIO Y can deliver "6 hours" of battery life as described on the SonyStyle website.
Battery life test results (higher scores mean better battery life):
At the end of the day, the new Sony VAIO Y is a good netbook alternative that struggles a little bit among the variety of similarly-equipped 11-inch laptops. The new AMD E-350 processor and graphics are fantastic, but we're going to see a lot of small notebooks using this hardware in 2011 and that makes it tough for manufacturers to convince people to buy their product.
The VAIO YB doesn't provide as much battery power as other laptops using the E-350 APU and it costs roughly $50-$100 more depending on the configuration. That's a VERY tough sale in a market with so much competition. Sure, the new Sony VAIO Y is a good laptop, but I suspect many potential customers won't get past the price.
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