SONY VAIO YB SERIES
Sony, $749 sony.com.au
★★★★ Sony’s latest version of the YB notebook is a solid workhorse. It’s about the same size as a MacBook Air, at 11.6-inches, but with a full-sized keyboard. The new YB runs an AMD processor that adds a graphics processor which turbo-charges its performance — especially when playing videos — and uses much less power. Expect to get about six hours, which is great considering its screen size and 1.6GHz grunt. Its fit and finish is also impressive and the addition of 64-bit Windows 7 helps. The YB takes a lot of its style cues from the Air — including the black matte keys on full-sized keyboard — but while its size is comparable, its battery life is longer. Add that to the $450 cheaper pricetag and this might be the best back-to-school laptop in the group.