I have little nice to say about the Sony Vaio Y. Its best traits, like the keyboard, are only on par with what the competition has to offer. Its worst traits, like the battery and the touchpad, are outstandingly bad. I don’t understand how a company can ship a modern ultraportable with a touchpad this bad or a battery this small and think that it’ll be okay. 

The biggest problem, however, is the price. The Sony Vaio Y has an MSRP of $549.99. To put that into perspective, that’s more expensive than most of the AMD Nile-platform ultraportables on the market, and also more expensive than several Intel Core i3 CULV powered laptops, such as the 11.6” Acer TravelMate Timeline. Even when on sale, the Sony Vaio Y is usually $60 more than its competition. 

So the Sony Vaio Y is a no-go, and now we must render a verdict on the AMD E-350 that powers it. After benchmarking the E-240 in the Toshiba Satellite, which disappointed me, I received the Sony Vaio Y with fingers crossed. My conclusion, however, isn’t much different from the one I reached when I tested the single-core version APU. The good news is that AMD’s Fusion processors are better than Atom – but the bad news is that they’re only slightly better, and almost all of the advantage stems from the integrated graphics. 

The E-350 simply isn’t powerful enough to offer what I think can be considered “mainstream” performance. Although the integrated graphics is quicker than what is offered on many ultraportables, the processor isn’t even as quick as what was offered in previous dual-core AMD thin-and-light such as the Toshiba Satellite T235D. The Intel Core series is in an entirely different league. 

Still, with that said, I don’t want you to think the E-350 is bad. Unlike the single-core E-240, which was too slow to offer performance that felt responsive even when performing basics tasks like web browsing, the E-350 has some kick to it. As a processor for netbooks and budget ultraportables, the E-350 has legs. It just isn’t worthwhile at Sony’s price.

When crammed into a netbook with a $450 price tag – as is being done by several other manufacturers including ASUS, HP and Acer – AMD’s E-350 looks to be an excellent choice, offering performance that is well above your typical netbook at a price that keeps Fusion out of direct competition with more powerful Intel Core processors. If you want a netbook with reasonable power and the ability to play some 3D games and watch some HD video, an AMD E-350 may well be in your future. 


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