Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 Review
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Today we review a new entry in Lenovo’s IdeaPad lineup, the Y480 which is a midsize laptop that packs enough power under its hood to be considered a desktop replacement, featuring a third generation Intel Core processor and a dedicated graphics card. The following configuration will set you back $1,049 and you get instead a nicely featured 14-inch laptop good for gaming and multimedia.
At the heart of the Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 is an Intel Core i7-3610QM processor from the Ivy Bridge platform, a CPU that runs at 2.30 GHz. It has been configured with 8GB of DDR3 memory clocked at 1,600 MHz while in the storage department it has a spacious 750GB hard drive spinning at a speed of 5,400 rpm. The chipset is an Intel HM77 while in the graphics department we find the Intel HD4000 integrated chip along with a dedicated GPU in the form of an Nvidia GeForce GT 640M. The laptop runs on Windows 7 Home Premium, the 64-bit edition of Microsoft’s OS.
This Y480 from Lenovo’s IdeaPad lineup measures 13.6 x 9.4 x 1.3 inches and weighs 4.5 pounds, not counting the AC adapter. If we add that, the laptop tips the scales at 5.6 pounds. Much like most of the laptops from the company’s Y500 Series, this version adopts a funkier and more upscale appearance in comparison to the ThinkPad laptops. Its lid features a black brushed-metal cover, while the keyboard is similar to those we’ve seen on other Lenovo laptops, adopting the company’s variation of the island-style keyboard with flat-topped keys. The keys on this model curve a little bit at their bottom, which makes them easier to catch while you are typing fast.
Moving on to the touchpad, it has a large size and features a matte surface that seems to provide just about the right amount of finger resistance. Instead of the single rocker bar found in the 2011 Y Series laptops, you will now find buttons which have been built into the pad itself, just like the ones found on a MacBook. Performing multitouch gestures is easy to do but not as pleasant as on Apple’s laptops.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 has been fitted with a 14-inch screen that has a maximum resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels which as most of you know is the standard for laptops up to a size of 15 inches. However, given the price tag of this model, we would have expected that Lenovo installed a 1,600 x 900-pixel display. On the audio front, you will probably enjoy the sound coming out of those JBL-branded speakers, a nice solution for a laptop in this price range.
Moving on to the ports and connectivity features offered by the IdeaPad Y480, we notice that it has VGA out and an HDMI port, while for audio you get the usual headphone and microphone jacks. In the data area it comes with two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports and the regular SD card reader. On the networking front it packs an Ethernet port, Bluetooth and 802.11n Wi-Fi.
We would like to mention that on the company’s website you will find 6 different preconfigured versions of this model, with prices varying from $999 for the entry-level model to $1,199 for the high-end version. However, there aren’t a lot of differences between these models because the only things that change are the capacities of the hard drives and also the Blu-ray drive so we’re not talking about a major hardware improvement.
All of these six versions of the Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 come with a 2.30 GHz third-generation (Ivy Bridge) Intel Core i7-3610QM processor, a discrete Nvidia GeForce GT 640M GPU and 8GB of DDR3 RAM. The laptop performs just about the same as other laptops with quad core i7 processors from Intel’s newest Ivy Bridge family of CPUs. However, we have to say that the inclusion of such a powerful quad core i7 processor is overkill for an average 14-inch laptop since you probably won’t be doing more than media playback, some office work and web surfing, along with playing some games.
Even though the aforementioned GeForce 640M dedicated video card from Nvidia is a strong point of the laptop, we have to remind you that the display has only a 720p resolution. Due to the lower resolution, you won’t have any problems playing the latest games. The laptop is powerful enough to run an older game like Street Fighter IV at 59.8 fps, which might sound impressive but it pales when compared to the extremely expensive Origin EON17-S which runs the game at a whopping 216 fps. However, the Origin costs more than three thousand dollars.
It might not disappoint in other categories, but when talking about the battery department we have some bad news as the system will last for only four hours in a battery drain playback test which is not good for a 14-inch laptop, but it still is a decent number for a system that is powered by a quad core processor.
This IdeaPad Y480 model is sold by Lenovo with a one-year labor & parts warranty which is the standard nowadays in the laptop industry. You will have to pay an extra of $69 for upgrading to a three-year plan or even $104 if you want on-site service. We should mention that there are several other options available, while the support can be accessed via a 24/7 phone line (toll-free). We would like to add that not all the services provided by Lenovo are available in all countries so make sure that you find this out first before purchasing the laptop.
All things considered, this is an interesting IdeaPad model from Lenovo which comes with an impressive third-generation Intel Core i7 processor, a more than decent dedicated video card with 2GB of memory, some nice JBL-branded speakers and an overall good quality construction. In addition, it has one of the best keyboards out there, a feature we’ve learned to appreciate when dealing with laptops made by Lenovo in the last couple of years, including the ones from the business-oriented ThinkPad lineup. On the flip side, the display has only a 720p resolution while the performance of the battery might disappoint some people.