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Sony VAIO Y Series (VPC-Y11M1E/S) - 13.3in Laptop review

Ardjuna Seghers




  • Recommended by TR

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Sony VAIO Y Series (VPC-Y11M1E/S) - 13.3in Laptop
  • Sony VAIO Y Series (VPC-Y11M1E/S) - 13.3in Laptop
  • Sony VAIO Y Series (VPC-Y11M1E/S) - 13.3in Laptop
  • Sony VAIO Y Series (VPC-Y11M1E/S) - 13.3in Laptop
  • Sony VAIO Y Series (VPC-Y11M1E/S) - 13.3in Laptop
  • Sony VAIO Y Series (VPC-Y11M1E/S) - 13.3in Laptop
  • Sony VAIO Y Series (VPC-Y11M1E/S) - 13.3in Laptop
  • Sony VAIO Y Series (VPC-Y11M1E/S) - 13.3in Laptop
  • Sony VAIO Y Series (VPC-Y11M1E/S) - 13.3in Laptop
  • Sony VAIO Y Series (VPC-Y11M1E/S) - 13.3in Laptop


Our Score:


Sony has always prided itself on producing market leading, premium ultra-portable laptops. One such example was the Sony VAIO VGN-Z11WN/B, whose portable 13.1in chassis and outstanding performance won it many admirers when it was first released in 2008. In the VAIO Y Series Sony has produced another 13in laptop, but this time it's a bit more affordable.

Our review model, the Y11M1E/S, is the only model currently on sale and it'll set you back in the region of £650. Considering Sony is rarely averse to demanding a premium for its laptops, its specification is nothing to sniff at. At its heart is a low-voltage Intel Pentium SU4100, which has two cores running at 1.3GHz. It's backed by 4GB of DDR3 RAM and a 320GB hard drive, with Wireless-N Wi-Fi and Bluetooth also included. That's a decent base-line, especially for a system claiming nine hours of battery life, but the need to keep the weight and price down means there's no integrated optical drive.

Sony hasn't cut corners with the design of the Y Series, though. Its neatly tapered lid and silver, non-gloss finish give it an air of class and simplicity missing from so many competing laptops, while also avoiding unsightly smears and fingerprints. Sony's signature VAIO logo and hinge mounted power button, which glows green when the machine is on and orange when in standby, merely add to its elegance.

This silver finish is continued on the inside and is nicely complemented by the black, isolation-style keyboard. At first we wondered whether the silver plastic finish might scratch easily, but a little experimentation revealed this not to be the case - it would take serious negligence to do lasting damage.

Connectivity on the Y Series is pretty standard, with three USB 2.0 ports, a mini-FireWire connection, headphone and microphone jacks (the former of which doubles as a digital audio output), VGA for analogue video, and HDMI for digital video and audio. At the front are memory card readers for SD and Sony's Memory Stick cards, as well as the welcome addition of a hardware wireless switch. Also included, on the right, is a Gigabit Ethernet port and a 34mm ExpressCard slot.


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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