The 13.3-inch Sony Vaio Y-series VPCY11M1E/S is the thinner, lighter brother of thelaptops. It doesn't purport to be very fast, but it does claim to offer a good combination of usability, performance and portability. It's available to buy now for around £670.
Although it has a 13.3-inch screen -- generally seen on fairly compact machines -- this laptop's 326mm-wide chassis gives it a broader footprint than others in its class, meaning it looks fairly hefty in the flesh. But the machine is just 32mm thick. This helps keep the weight down to 1.8kg, but means there isn't room for a disc drive, a conspicuous omission in such a physically imposing laptop.
The upshot of this machine's extra width is that there's plenty of room to accommodate a very comfortable keyboard. It has large, isolated keys, each of which has a good amount of space between itself and its neighbours. This facilitates high-speed typing, lowers the likelihood of making typographical errors and ultimately improves productivity.
The laptop's relative slenderness doesn't limit its connectivity. The right side has a pair of USB ports, an Ethernet jack and an ExpressCard/34 slot. The left side is home to both analogue D-Sub and digital HDMI video outputs, a third USB socket, a 4-pin FireWire port, and mic and headphone jacks.
The VPCY11M1E/S isn't going to win any performance accolades with its middle-of-the-road specification. The system ships with an ample 4GB of DDR3, 800MHz memory, but its 1.3GHz Intel Pentium SU4100 CPU is designed for balanced, rather than blistering, performance.
Likewise, its Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD graphics card is more suited to running basic 2D applications and standard-definition video than high-definition flicks and 3D games.