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Sony VAIO VPC-Y21S1E/SI review

A highly portable laptop with a sharp screen, but offers limited performance

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Attractive, slim and light
  • Sharp and bright widescreen display
  • Excellent battery life
  • Highly usable
  • Strong networking

Against

  • Flimsy lid
  • Stilted performance
  • Limited graphical capabilities
  • No DVD drive
  • Not much storage space

Sony's rather immense range of VAIO laptops can be more than a little daunting for first-time buyers. Although most high street retailers only stock a handful at any one time, there are actually a huge number of VAIO models, split into various skews depending on the components used.

From the tiny PDA-style VAIO P Series, to the powerhouse VAIO F Series, it can be tricky working out which VAIO laptop suits you best.

Sony's VAIO Y Series follows the mantra of 'everyday mobility', with the aim of packing decent multimedia performance into a slim and light chassis.

Sony already has a strong catalogue of ultraportable laptops, including the recently released VAIO VPCZ11Z9E/B which weighs just 1.4kg yet is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor. Performance is unbeatable at that weight, but the price – which tops the two grand mark – is well beyond most consumers.

This is where the VAIO VPCY VPCY21S1E/SI fits into the ultraportable picture. Sony has trimmed back on the cost of components, so while the VAIO Y-Series has considerably less power than the Z-Series, it also comes at a price that won't worry your wallet.

Build quality

First impressions are certainly promising, thanks to a solid plastic chassis that sports an attractive metallic look. The VAIO VPCY's power button has unusually been placed on the right hinge, and glows seductively when the laptop is turned on.

At a weight of 1.7kg, and with a thickness of just 30mm, this is an excellent laptop for slipping into a bag and carrying around all day.

However, although the VAIO VPCY's body is mostly well constructed, it does suffer from one potentially fatal flaw. The lid is surprisingly flimsy and buckles in the centre under even light pressure, so a hefty knock could easily damage the display and mean lights out for your laptop.

As long as you're careful there shouldn't be a problem, but accidents do happen and we'd recommend a sturdy padded case for transporting the VAIO VPCY.

Thankfully the keyboard has no such problems, as a firm and well-sized isolation-style board is in place. This is a popular keyboard design of late, with keys that protrude through individual holes cut in the laptop's chassis.

This increases the space between each key, making touch typing easier while reducing the amount of dust, crumbs and other rubbish that can settle beneath them. The VAIO VPCY's keys are well sized although the Return key has been squashed to just a single row, and there's no room on the compact chassis for a dedicated numeric pad.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Hard Drive Capacity320 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD Graphics
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Solid State Drive CapacityNo
FireWire/i.LINKYes
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Product FamilyVAIO Y
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor ModelU5400
ColourSilver
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameSony
Processor Speed1.20 GHz
Processor TypePentium
Screen Size33.8 cm (13.3")
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.78 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM55 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Memory StandardDDR3-800/PC3-6400
Height32 mm
Width326 mm
Depth226.5 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesY
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelVPCY21S1E/SI
Product NameVAIO VPCY21S1E/SI Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineVAIO
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberVPCY21S1E/SI.CEK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing InformationA truly individual notebook, VAIO Y Series lets you express your style with a choice of 6 bold and bright colours: green, blue, pink, violet, silver or black with colour-coordinated optional accessories. Looks good by your side and matches your own personal tastes.
Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • VAIO VPCY21S1E/SI Notebook
  • Lithium-Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Power Cord