December 6, 2011
- Affordable price
- Ultraportable design
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Large capacity hard drive
- Keyboard & touchpad design flaws
- No USB 3.0
- Limited performance compared to other ultraportables
The Sony Vaio YB35KX/B is a very affordable, 11-inch laptop that doesn't skimp out on any features. It has decent performance for the price thanks to the AMD Fusion chipset and lots of hard drive space for all your multimedia files. It also has extra long battery life, but the ergonomics of the keyboard and touchpad aren't the best.
The Sony Vaio YB35KX/B has a gray-black plastic exterior that makes it look rather blaze, but it doesn't look bad in the end. It measures 11.4 x 8.0 x 1.3-inches (wdh) and weighs just over 3-pounds, so it's extremely portable and small enough to slip into a backpack or briefcase without much trouble.
One design flaw that we were actually quite embarrassed about is that we kept mistakenly pressing a rectangular button above the keyboard as the power button but wondered why it was booting into a diagnostic screen. Well, we soon discovered that the power button is on the side of the right hinge and the button we were pressing is the Vaio Assist button that boots the computer into a diagnostic mode. This is a rather strange design flaw that we're sure many others will feel embarrassed about.
The keyboard has rather small keys and an extremely undersized left Shift key, which made for many mispresses. We can understand that the keyboard has to be smaller than usual because of the laptop's overall side, but there are design tricks that can make this requirement invisible. Sony also made the keyboard inset into the deck, which some users may or may not like because of comfort reasons. The touchpad was also very small, mostly due to the two discrete buttons at the pad's bottom.
The display on the Sony Vaio YB35KX/B is a 11.6-inch glossy screen with a native resolution of 1366 x 768-pixels. It has really good quality with great brightness levels and is fairly crisp too. The viewing angles, however, were somewhat limited to our disappointment.
Sony's includes a standard selection of ports but with the absence of USB 3.0, which is a must for new computers to keep from becoming instantly outdated. They do include three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI-out, VGA-out, audio in/out jacks, Ethernet and an SD/Memory Stick card reader. It also has both 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. There is no optical drive in order to make the laptop as small as possible and the operating system installed is Windows 7 Home Premium, which is better than the cut-down Starter Edition that some ultraportables/netbooks use.
The internal specifications of this laptop include an AMD Fusion E-450 dual-core 1.6GHz CPU, 4GB of RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6320 graphics and a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive. We appreciate Sony including a large hard drive in this ultraportable, but we wished it was an SSD drive instead, which would have make the laptop even lighter in weight, speedier and requiring less power. However, some users will prefer the larger capacity over the usually limited SSD capacity. The AMD Fusion processor is an APU, which means it has its own graphics onboard to enhance performance.
Overall in terms of performance, the AMD E-450 Fusion processor is slower in general compared to Intel Core i5 processors, so keep that in mind. With this "lesser" processor, you get added battery life and a less expensive cost. We found performance to be decent, but did notice some rare choppiness while watching streaming HD video, so that's most likely due to the CPU not able to keep up with the onboard graphics.
Battery life with the included battery was about 5-hours, which is a little better than the typical 4.5-hours average for other ultraportables.