Sony Vaio VPC-SB1V9E/B review

Barry de la Rosa
29 May 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

The functional design may not appeal to everyone, but this ultra-portable has it all, including an optical drive


Sony is a company that's always excelled at creating stylish and small laptops packed with the latest kit, so it's no surprise to find that the new Vaio manages to fit in an optical drive, a full-power 2nd Generation Core i5 processor, a 500GB hard disk and a dedicated graphics card, into a case that's only 26mm thick and weighs just 1.8kg.

Sony Vaio VPCSB1V9E/B

The SB1 has a pedestrian, functional design from the outside, with a dark grey, matt-finish magnesium alloy lid. Apart from a headphone port hidden on the rear left corner, all the ports are strung along the right-hand side - a bit inconvenient if you want to use an external, right-handed mouse. The left side holds the optical drive tray, but its Eject button is placed above the keyboard where it's more easily accessible.

Opening the lid reveals a minimalist design, with both screen bezel and keyboard panel made from aluminium to keep weight down - and the cool metal is pleasant on your wrists while you type. The keyboard sits in a shallow, concave recess in the metal panel: its keys are isolated and have a comfortable, light action with good feedback for touch-typists.

Sony Vaio VPCSB1V9E/B keyboard

A large touchpad sits underneath. It's smooth and responsive, and includes both vertical and horizontal scroll areas, as well as supporting some gestures such as rotation and zooming. Its two large buttons are a bit stiff, but sit right on the edge of the case where your thumb naturally rests, and there's a fingerprint reader between them.