The Sony VAIO YB Series VPCYB33KX/B 11.6 inch laptop is Sony’s latest offering to the market of low cost high performance mini laptops. Sony claim it is ideal as a lightweight laptop for travelers or as a handy computer to keep around the house that won’t take up space. The market is fairly saturated with mini laptops that claim to be the perfect balance between size and performance, but few can back up the claims. Is the Sony VAIO YB Series VPCYB33KX/B a genuine contender, or does it get left behind by other more powerful notebooks?
Release Year: 2011
Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium
Dimensions: 11.4 x 1.2 x 8 inches
Screen Size: 11.6
Battery Life: 5.45 hours
Storage Space: 320 GB
RAM: 2 GB
Sony VAIO YB Series VPCYB33KX/B 11.6-Inch Laptop: The Pros
HDMI: The Sony VAIO YB Series VPCYB33KX/B features a HDMI output that allows you to play HD content on your HDMI compatible HDTV. Many mini laptops and netbooks don’t have a HDMI output, and it is very much welcome here. Although the single HDMI cable is not included, most people who have a HDMI compatible HDTV will already be in possession of the right cables. This is a very clever addition from Sony, as many of the potential buyers of the Sony VAIO YB Series VPCYB33KX/B will be students who will thoroughly enjoy the proposition of hooking their laptop up the HD TV.
Weight: Sony market the Sony VAIO YB Series VPCYB33KX/B as a lightweight laptop, and they aren’t kidding. Weighing in at just over 3.2 pounds, this is comfortably one of the lightest mini laptops on the market today. The device measures 11.4 inches wide, 7.99 inches long and 1.25 inches deep. When Sony talk about slimline, they mean it. The light weight and compact design make this perfect for traveling and transporting, and despite being lighter than many netbooks you still retain the processing power of a full sized laptop.
Screen: The 11.6 inch screen is an LED-backlit display that boasts a 1366 x 768 resolution. The screen accommodates native HD 720p viewing, and it’s instantly noticeable. The clarity is sharp and striking without being overly bright or blinding. Sony claim that the screen is optimized to lower battery consumption without compromising on image quality, but due to the relatively poor battery performance that statement is questionable. Regardless, there is no doubting that Sony have produced a fantastic display screen here.
Sony VAIO YB Series VPCYB33KX/B 11.6-Inch Laptop: The Cons
Battery Life: The battery life on the Sony VAIO YB Series VPCYB33KX/B is advertised at 5.75 hours. A word of warning – when a company goes down to the quarter hour when talking about battery performance, you should be wary. That advice rings true here. A battery performance of 5.75 hours would be acceptable, if a little disappointing, on an 11.6 inch mini laptop. Unfortunately, you will get much closer to 4 than 6 hours out of the Sony VAIO YB Series VPCYB33KX/B.
Quite simply, there are far superior battery performances for similar, and indeed cheaper, mini laptops. It is difficult to take Sony seriously when they suggest this as the ideal business traveller’s computer when the battery performance is so poor. For the Sony VAIO YB Series VPCYB33KX/B to be given due consideration, it has to be competitive in battery performance. It’s not.
Memory: The Sony VAIO YB Series VPCYB33KX/B has 2GB of DDR3 RAM. This is not enough for a computer that Sony claim can be a convenient and cheap replacement for your computer at home. Even if you choose to install additional RAM, that is limited to 4GB. This limit is a result of the operating system being used – the 32 bit version of Windows 7. The 32 bit version of Windows 7 limits RAM to a max of 4GB.
For comparison, 4GB is what you would expect to get in a mini laptop that claims to be as small as a netbook and as powerful as a full sized laptop. Even at that, many mini laptops can be upgraded to 8GB of RAM; excessive for light use but necessary for heavy home use. Through this 4GB limit, Sony have effectively limited themselves out of the home computer market. A massive oversight.
Sony VAIO YB Series VPCYB33KX/B 11.6-Inch Laptop Worth Buying?
The Sony VAIO YB Series VPCYB33KX/B claims to be ideal for business travelers, students, or just for general use around the home. It is certainly affordable, and the HMDI capability is a welcome addition. The screen is also quite nice, providing vivid images. Unfortunately, these aren’t the big issues. The battery on the Sony VAIO YB Series VPCYB33KX/B is just not good enough to compete with other 11.6 inch laptops. Similarly, running the 32 bit version of Windows 7 limits the RAM to a max of 4GB. Again, this cannot compete with the mini laptops currently on the market.
While this will inevitably sell well, there are superior, more powerful 11.6 inch laptops that will comfortably outperform the Sony VAIO YB Series VPCYB33KX/B, and they don’t cost any more. It promised so much, but like many before it, the Sony VAIO YB Series VPCYB33KX/B doesn’t deliver.