May 16, 2012
- Attractive design for a Lenovo laptop
- Intel's new quad-core third-gen CPU
- Very good overall performance
- Lower-resolution display
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 is an all-new 14-inch mid-size laptop that features Intel's latest third-generation quad-core CPU and discrete graphics. It also has a solid construction and good overall performance. The display, however, has a lower-resolution compared to other similar laptops, which is a downside.
This Lenovo laptop doesn't follow the typical business-like style that usually accompanies Lenovo's other laptops. The updated internals provide enough power for most users without costing too much either. Instead, the style of this Y480 includes a brushed-metal, black finish on the lid that fits in at the office, at school or anywhere else.
Measuring 13.6 x 9.4 x 1.3-inches (wdh) and weighing 4.5-pounds, it is definitely not an ultraportable but also not overwhelming either for users that want some portability. The keyboard is the common island-style design with the keys having a slight curvature at the bottom. The keys offer a good amount of feedback, but they are noisier than most laptops. We noticed zero flex and made minimal typing errors. The multitouch touchpad has a matte finish that provides a good amount of frictionless movement. There are also no discrete buttons, instead the buttons are built-into the pad, just like the Apple MacBook Pros.
The 14-inch display has a native resolution of 1366 x 768-pixels, which is lesser than we would've expected for a ~$1000 higher-end mid-size notebook. Typically, the category average for this type of computer is 1600 x 900-pixels, which is one step higher than this model. The inclusion of a higher resolution display would have allowed the discrete graphics to provide a better image.
The port selection on the Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 includes two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, , HDMI-out, VGA-out, Ethernet, the usual audio ports and an SD card reader. Wireless connectivity includes both 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There is also a DVD+/-RW optical drive with an upgrade to a Blu-ray player available.
Lenovo includes a third-generation Ivy Bridge Intel Core i7-3610QM (2.3GHz) CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 750GB 5400RPM hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M graphics. It's not all that common to find a discrete graphics system in a notebook of this size and price, so that's a definite selling point. However, the lower-resolution display puts a limit on the graphics, so they almost cancel each other out unfortunately.
In our testing, the performance of the Y480 was on-par with the other third-gen Intel Core i7 CPUs that we've seen so far. Performance is definitely improved also when compared to the second-generation Intel processors. The discrete graphics provides enough power for current (and future) 3D games, so if you want a cheap gaming laptop, this is a decent choice.
Battery life with this Lenovo system clocks in at around 4-hours, which is definitely less than other 14-inch laptops, but when you consider the power this one has, it's not so bad.