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Sony VAIO Y Series review

Verdict

A gorgeous, light and long-lasting ultraportable, but it's far pricier than the competition

Review Date: 3 Jun 2010

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £596 (£700 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

Intel refreshed its low-voltage mobile processor range last month, and manufacturers have been quick to take advantage. Sony's take on the CULV laptop blueprint, the VAIO Y Series, is one of the first to upgrade.

The original version launched early this year, it's a 13.3in ultraportable that combines light weight, good looks and some typically fine attention to detail, and it's getting the full Intel treatment for summer.

Sony VAIO Y Series

Don't be fooled by the Pentium logo on the outside, the Y Series' U5400 processor is based on the same technology that powers Intel's lightning-fast Core i3, i5 and i7 processors. It's one of the new 32nm CULV breed promising a TDP of just 18W, and the reason for its Pentium branding is that the most exciting features of the full Core architecture, such as Turbo Boost, come disabled.

It's still more than a match for the processors it replaces, though. Compare it to its Core 2-based predecessor, the 1.3GHz SU4100, and despite sacrificing 100MHz on each of its two cores, the 1.2GHz Pentium U5400 stays neck-and-neck with an overall score of 0.67 in our benchmarks.

The processor also features on-chip Intel HD graphics, and it marks a subtle improvement on the previous generation. As ever, 1080p high definition video plays back without a hitch, and lightweight gaming titles such as TrackMania Nations Forever gave noticeably more playable framerates, even at the panel's native 1,366 x 768 pixel resolution. It also managed 13fps in Crysis at Low settings, up from 5fps on the old Y Series.

So the processor means as much (or more) power, with supposedly lower power consumption, but don't expect a portable revolution. We clocked the VAIO lasting for 9hrs 25mins during our light-usage test, while pushing it flat-out reduced that to 3hrs 17mins. It's still highly impressive for any laptop, granted, but we had hoped that the arrival of Intel's new breed would have more of an impact.

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User comments

Why do Intel insist on holding onto the Pentium name?

It serves only to confuse.

Granted this may have some of the features disabled, but it's still Core i technology. A long way from the 586 processors that originally sported the name.

By Grunthos on 3 Jun 2010

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