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Lenovo IdeaPad Y480

Posted by in Laptops | Comments Off on Lenovo IdeaPad Y480
Lenovo IdeaPad Y480


The 1.3 by 13.6 by 9.4-inch (HWD) Y480 combines a silver-gray brushed aluminum lid and keyboard deck/palm rest with black plastic sides and bottom. The slightly scalloped keys have a firm but precise feel, with just the right amount of give for comfortable typing. The keyboard is brightly backlit (toggled by the Fn key and space bar), and the layout includes dedicated Home, End, PgUp, and PgDn keys as well as Ctrl and Delete in their proper lower left and top right corners, respectively.


A button next to the power button launches Lenovo’s emergency antivirus and system recovery functions when the computer won’t boot Windows, which is handy. The good-sized touchpad below the space bar (no ThinkPad-style pointing stick here) has slightly stiff, clickable lower corners instead of dedicated mouse buttons, but scrolling and gestures—including four-finger flicks left and right to open a pair of Lenovo pop-up apps, a wallpaper picker and a sticky-note scratch pad—work smoothly.

The glossy 14-inch display offers the usual 1,366 by 768 resolution that’s marginal for would-be image editors but fine for watching 720p videos or multitasking with a couple of overlapping application windows. It’s bright and colorful, with sharp contrast and decent viewing angles. Two speakers above the keyboard (“JBL Brand Speaker,” boasts a sticker on the palm rest) put out above-average audio, without tons of bass but with more than enough volume to fill a room.



An SD/MMC card slot decorates the Y480’s front edge, while microphone and headphone jacks and two USB 2.0 ports join the DVD±RW burner on its right side. Two USB 3.0 ports, VGA, HDMI, and Ethernet are on the left. Wireless connectivity includes 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) for beaming a video, DVD, or presentation to a big-screen TV outfitted with a third-party WiDi adapter.

The IdeaPad’s 750GB hard drive has ample space for programs and files (622GB available out of the box), though its 5,400-rpm speed is a step behind the 7,200 rpm of the drive in the Lenovo IdeaPad U400 ($899.99 direct, 4 stars). There’s a fair amount of preinstalled software, but most of it is bloatware-free (although the 30-day trial of McAfee Internet Security is woefully short); titles range from Microsoft Office Starter 2010 to CyberLink Power2Go, Google Chrome, and ooVoo video chat. An Enhanced Experience Boot Optimizer utility cycled through several reboots to whittle startup time from 60 to 48 seconds. Lenovo provides a one-year parts and labor warranty for the Y480.



The IdeaPad Y480’s $1,016.99 at ElectronicsShowplace quad-core, eight-thread processor and 8GB of DDR3 memory powered it to a Cinebench score that swept us off our feet—6.26, versus 4.78 for the Alienware M14x R3 and 3.16 for the Dell XPS 14z ($1,299 direct, 4 stars). Its Handbrakevideo encoding time of 1 minute 17 seconds and Photoshop CS5 image editing time of 3:20 easily outstripped the Alienware gaming laptop (1:30 and 3:39, respectively) and left the Dell Inspiron 14z (Core i5)  in the dust, though the M14x eked out a win in the PCMark 7benchmark (2,749 to 2,610).