Y510 200



Keywords: y510 200
Description: When Lenovo bought IBM’s computer division it went from ‘big in China’ to household name. Up until now, we’ve associated Lenovo with business PCs – primarily the ThinkPad – but now it’s aiming for a

When Lenovo bought IBM’s computer division it went from ‘big in China’ to household name. Up until now, we’ve associated Lenovo with business PCs – primarily the ThinkPad – but now it’s aiming for a (big) slice of the consumer market. Welcome, the IdeaPad.

The first launch of the new range is the 15.4in Y510 and first impressions are good. Not everyone will warm to the lid with its mottled ‘woven linen’ texture, but it adds character and protection against scratches from showing it in and out of bags.

Open the lid and the design touches leap out. The glossy ‘frameless’ screen has no bezel and looks very smart. The extended ‘kinked’ hinge cleverly makes the rear battery status LEDs visible through reflection and moves the screen further back than normal which is good for ergonomics. The keyboard is wonderfully crisp and comfortable to type on – just like a ThinkPad’s velveteen action. The trackpad is one of the best we’ve used and you can usefully turn it off with a function key combination. One gripe is that the wrist rest can get a little warm.

But the overall appearance is gorgeous with the brushed metal surround, glossy ‘touch’ shortcut buttons and orange volume keys all looking great. All-round build quality is excellent and it feels almost bomb proof. We also like the covers to the ExpressCard/54 and media card slots which feel specially tailored for the chassis.

It oozes quality and style but adds well-thought-out ergonomics, great usability and top engineering to the mix. And there’s more. Lenovo has squeezed in four speakers plus a subwoofer. Sound is very well rounded and crisp, for both bass and treble-rich songs. But we feel it could have got louder. Audio is tied in with Dolby Home Theatre features and you can use shortcut buttons to quickly tweak and configure playback or add effects. The crisp, glossy 1280 x 800 screen may cause some distracting reflections when working but it enriches colours. It rendered our HD movies very well with only minimal lag evident. Lenovo’s aims to make this a great multimedia notebook have been successful.

Under the bonnet is a 2.4GHz T8300 Core 2 Duo chip which comes from Intel’s 45nm fabrication process. Flanked by 2GB of RAM and a decent-sized 250GB hard disk it scored an impressive 1.15 in our benchmarks. This makes it the second-fastest sub-17in desktop replacement notebook we’ve tested – behind the Asus M50SV. It will be great for most multimedia encoding work.

However, the 8400M graphics chip is only suited to playing old games. There are three flavours of the Y510 with this being in the middle. The Y510-300 model sports an 8600M graphics chip which will allow gaming to some degree.

At 3kg it’s modestly portable – you’ll feel sore if you carry it around a lot. But considering the power and build quality within, it’s quite a feat packing in so much without tipping the scales more. Battery life is average, though. It lasted only 1hr 10mins in our intensive use test and 3hrs 23mins under light use.

A key feature Lenovo is pushing is the VeriFace face recognition software. It works with the 1.3 megapixel webcam and means you can log on just by looking at the laptop. A Realtime monitor means you can step away from the laptop and have it lock automatically, it will then automatically unlock when you return. It also stores snap shots of all log in attempts and so you’ll have a record of anyone who looks at the screen. It works very well.

Connectivity includes three USB ports, mini FireWire, 802.11a/g/n WiFi, BlueTooth and 10/100 ethernet. Unfortunately, despite the multimedia focus, there’s no DVI or HDMI out – just VGA and S-Video. Other features include a slot-loading all-format DVD writer and a useful switch for turning WiFi on and off.

A ‘Novo’ key seems to support functions similar to a ThinkPad’s ThinkVantage key but no: when in Windows it switches between power states but pressing it when booting it simply gives you the option to restore the C drive to its default state and wipe all your data (too easily if you ask us).

The warranty is a little short at one year Collect and Return but that can’t stop us Recommending the Y510. Asus’ M50SV may offer better power, features and warranty but we’d rather own the Y510 which is more of a joy to behold and a joy to use. At $1999 it’s good value too.






Photogallery Y510 200:


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