Hands On Use
The Sony VAIO VPCY216FX/G was not a chart burner when it came to benchmarks, but in real world use the little notebook fares well enough. The machine is very light, thin and portable. You could certainly schlep this notebook with you all day with the reasonable expectation that the battery will last the whole time. The screen of the little notebook is very glossy, and as usual, that means lots of glare.
The screen isn't as up to streaming media as some of the other machines I have tried. The screen had noticeable pixilation in areas of high contrast like the borders of shadow and light on video. The pixilation was also noticeable when streaming video online as well. The Sony VAIO VPCY216FX/G can stream video from Hulu in windowed and in full screen modes. However, there was noticeable stuttering in windowed mode, which only worsened in full screen mode. The stuttering wasn't the worst I have seen, but it was irritating when trying to watch a show. The notebook lacks an optical drive so you can't watch DVDs on the machine. The optical drive is something many ultraportables give up in an effort to save weight.
The sound system Sony uses is like most onboard speakers that I have tested. The sound is flat and the volume is good enough to watch in a reasonably quiet room. If you are trying to hear in a noisy environment, you will want headphones or external speakers.
Sony uses a chicklet style keyboard on the Sony VAIO VPCY216FX/G that is an off-white color. The keyboard looks really cool, but I have to wonder if the color will be stained quickly with oil from skin, makeup and dirt. The keys are well spaced and all keys are where they should be. The right Shift key is a bit smaller than the left shift key, but the right key is large enough to use without any problems.
The trackpad is directly under the keyboard and offset to the left a bit from center. It is well defined from the wrist rest around it and offers the accuracy and sensitivity you expect to find. The buttons are easy to press and have nice feel to them.
As I spent my time with the Sony VAIO VPCY216FX/G, I inevitably compared the machine to the VAIO VPCZ125GX that I reviewed not long ago in my mind. The Sony VAIO VPCY216FX/G I am looking at today is no comparison to that other VAIO in performance or price. The VPCZ125GX sells for over $2000, whereas the Sony VAIO VPCY216FX/G today can be found for under $800. Consider the performance you are getting and the price of the Sony VAIO VPCY216FX/G has performance that isn't on par with its cost for many tasks.
The Sony VAIO VPCY216FX/G is really a bit of a step up from a netbook and is more of a step between a netbook and a full-blown notebook in performance. The Sony VAIO VPCY216FX/G can perform all those tasks that you expect of a notebook like general computer work, surfing the web, and watching video; it's just not the best at any of those tasks.
This machine is clearly aimed at the shopper on a budget that can live with performance that is considerably less than other machines out there. The real issue with the Sony VAIO VPCY216FX/G in my book is that you can get notebooks in its price range with considerably more performance if you shop around. Much of the cost of this machine is the Sony brand making it hard to recommend on a price for performance basis. A higher-end netbook will give you similar performance and many offer better multimedia streaming capabilities at the same time. The Sony VAIO VPCY216FX/G is best suited for the shopper who wants the style it offers, the Sony name, and a screen and keyboard larger than you find on netbooks today.
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