Sony VAIO Y Series (VPC-Y11M1E/S) - 13.3in Laptop - Keyboard, Touchpad & Audio-Visual

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



Our Score:


As previously mentioned, the Y Series has an isolation-style keyboard and Sony's experience with this kind of keyboard shows through. Despite the slight shallowness that’s typical of such keyboards, crisp and defined key actions ensure this is never a problem.

A textured, slightly curved wrist-rest also aids comfort while typing, a point helped by a layout that's very intuitive. Our only niggle is that, due to the large touchpad, we occasionally found ourselves jogging the cursor with our palm. This is obviously quite annoying, but adjusting the Palm Check feature in the touchpad driver improved matters noticeably and it's not a problem that will affect everyone.

On the plus side its large size makes the touchpad great to use. It's very smooth and responsive, and supports all the usual multi-touch goodness that can make Windows 7 easier to use from time to time. Its two buttons, meanwhile, are perfectly placed and nicely responsive.

Like most laptops the 13.3in screen on the Y11 is LED-backlit and has a 1,366 x 768 resolution. In a word it's 'average'. Vertical viewing angles are quite poor, but horizontal ones are good enough for a small laptop and there was no noticeable backlight bleed around the edges.

When watching video we found it didn't resolve some of the dark, fine detail, but this is fairly typical of mainstream laptops and HD material still looks as crisp as it's meant to. We also had no problems reading small text on this screen thanks to its sharp, well-defined text production.

Sonically, meanwhile, the Y Series is surprisingly accomplished. As is so often the case its speakers are weak where bass is concerned, but in every other regard they perform well, with clear audio at high volumes. Though a good pair of headphones will still give you a better experience, it's perfectly feasible to watch a film without them.


April 30, 2010, 7:28 pm

Just being ignorant, but when is multitouch useful?

Lee Moorhouse

April 30, 2010, 8:07 pm

Not sure if it applies with WIN7, but with OSX using two fingers to scroll websites etc is essential.


April 30, 2010, 8:25 pm

@HK:Just being ignorant, but when is multitouch useful?

It's one of those features you have to use to really appreciate it. As an example, when scrolling web documents use 2 fingers to push up & down, works really natural when your used to it. Pinch Zoom is another classic example. There are other example too. From a productivity point of view it means you can do more thing without having to move away from the touchpad.


April 30, 2010, 9:19 pm

Is the keyboard damaged in the top left corner? You can see it bow inwards.

Is it a build quality issue or just heavy handed testing? :D


April 30, 2010, 10:22 pm

What Keith said.


April 30, 2010, 10:27 pm

Wow, I just zoomed in and out with my mouse (I've a Sony E series with Windows 7). Nah sorry, wasn't too exciting. I suppose it's nice to have, but it hardly seems that essential. As for the scrolling thing, not sure I understand how you need two fingers for that, swipe up, swipe down, why two fingers? (Not giving two fingers to Mac users tempted as I am sometimes :-P)

I can see how it'd be more useful on an iPhone/iPad where it's a touchscreen device, seems a bit unnecessary for a mouse though.


April 30, 2010, 10:46 pm

on OSX you can do some pretty amazing stuff using multi-touch using Better Touch Tool.

e.g. on a browser you can can switch, close, open, reopen tabs, zoom, scroll, reload, open the sidebar, history bar, middle click links, switch to fullscreen, copy and delete, all by assigning keyboard shortcuts to gestures and corners of the trackpad...


April 30, 2010, 11:41 pm


Awesome - I'll check that out. I'm still annoyed that Safari still hasn't integrated the three finger top-bottom page gesture that Firefox has. Really handy.


May 1, 2010, 4:33 am

@HK: As for the scrolling thing, not sure I understand how you need two fingers for that, swipe up, swipe down, why two fingers?

Well if you use 1 finger it would be interpreted as a mouse move, not a mouse scroll. I used to have an old Sony Viao were the right hand side of the touchpad acted like a scrollbar, but it wasn't anyway as nice as just having to use 2 fingers anywhere on the touchpad. I must admit the pinch/zoom is something I don't really use that much on the Laptop and is more useful on the Iphone. But the 2 finger scrolling would be something I would miss. It's also not just limited to 1 or 2 fingers, on the Mac 4 fingers does something called Expose and 3 fingers back/fwd on web pages etc...


May 1, 2010, 1:56 pm

Indeed, the top left frame of the keyboard appears to be severely damaged!


May 4, 2010, 5:11 am


Sounds just like mouse gestures which have been available in Opera and Firefox for many many years.


May 4, 2010, 7:51 pm


Keitch has given a fairly good explanation. As a touchpad only offers two buttons compared to the three plus scroll-wheel on a mouse, multi-touch can help to even the difference, with features like pinch-to-zoom and two-finger flicking/scrolling being especially handy. It's a nice extra rather than essential, but is pretty much standard these days.

@Mik3yB and HH:

This review sample had been around quite a bit before coming to us, and what you see is indeed some damage to the keyboard area. Considering overall build quality was solid, I doubt this is an issue the average consumer will come across under normal conditions.


May 4, 2010, 8:10 pm


I used FireGestures on Firefox for years, but the point about BetterTouchTool is that it works with all apps, not just browsers. So for example on Word, I can pinch to zoom, paste, cut/copy/paste undo/redo, switch views, open/close the formatting palette all with the touchpad. Basically any function in an app for which you can set a keyboard shortcut (as mac keyboard preferences let you do this when the app doesn't). It also allows you to use other system-wide functions like changing volume/screen brightness/putting the computer to sleep, resizing windows etc. It's a big time-saver...

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