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Sony Vaio VPC-YB3V1E review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £429
inc VAT

A high resolution screen and fantastic keyboard, but performance and battery life are underwhelming


12.1 in 1,366×768 display, 1.5kg, 1.65GHz AMD E-45, 4.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit

Sony’s latest take on the low-powered ultraportable form factor is the Sony Vaio YB3V1E, an update to the VPC-YB2M1E which was launched just six months ago. It weighs the same as the average netbook, but has a bigger, higher resolution screen.

Sony Vaio YB3V1E

The dual-core AMD E-45 processor runs at a lowly 1.65GHz (just 50MHz faster than the older model’s E-350 chip), and it’s paired with 4GB of RAM as before. However, Sony has stuck with the 32-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium, so you’ll be able to use around 3.2GB. This meant it could only manage a meagre 11 in our multimedia benchmarks – exactly the same as the YB2M1E.

The E-45 can’t beat an Intel Atom for speed, and unfortunately it doesn’t have the advantage when it comes to battery life either. In our light use test, the YB3 managed six hours away from the mains: commendable, but still several hours short of the longest-lasting netbooks.

As the processor is a Fusion chip, graphics are built-in. The Radeon HD 6320 is far more capable than Intel’s on-chip graphics, and the older Radeon HD 6310m. It might not show in our Dirt3 test, which only managed 12.7fps, but older titles will still be playable at reasonable detail settings. You’ll also be able to watch 720p video on the laptop, or 1080p content on an external display using the HDMI output.

Sony Vaio YB3V1E left side

The screen itself has a 1,366×768 resolution, which is about as high as we’ve seen in a 12in laptop. Both images and text looked crisp, and we had no trouble working on two documents at once. Colours were accurate, although slightly muted, but viewing angles were excellent. There’s not a lot of screen tilt, and the glossy finish could make light reflections a problem, but this is one of the best screens we’ve seen on a netbook-sized laptop.

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Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Processor AMD E-45
Processor clock speed 1.65GHz
Memory 4.00GB
Memory slots 1
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 4GB
Size 25x290x202mm
Weight 1.5kg
Sound Realtek HD Audio
Pointing device touchpad


Viewable size 12.1 in
Native resolution 1,366×768
Graphics Processor AMD Radeon HD 6320
Graphics/video ports HDMI, VGA
Graphics Memory 1,917MB


Total storage capacity 500GB
Optical drive type none

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots none
Supported memory cards SDXC, Memory stick Pro, MMC
Other ports minijack audio output, minijack microphone input


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £429

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