Lenovo recently updated the Y-series notebook lineup, adding the 14-inch Y460 and 15.6-inch Y560 to the mix. These new models offer faster graphics options than their predecessors, with an ATI Radeon 5650 crammed into the Y460 and ATI Radeon 5730 inside the Y560. In this review we take a look at the smaller of the two notebooks—the IdeaPad Y460—to see how well it stacks up against the competition.
Our Lenovo IdeaPad Y460 Specifications:
The new Lenovo IdeaPad Y460 looks completely redesigned from the previous generation. From the outside the lid has a similar dark-colored pattern trimmed with an orange border, but it now has large chromed hinges instead of being concealed previously. Inside, the previously white keyboard and bezel has been changed to a black keyboard with gunmetal paint covered trim. The all-white interior on the old model was hard to stomach for most people and I think the new look is much nicer. Other cool design elements on the new Y460 include JBL speakers beneath the screen and a unique matte and glossy screen cover that helps hide fingerprints.
Screen and Speakers
The Ideapad Y460 includes one screen option; a WXGA resolution 14-inch panel. With its higher-end graphics option and performance inspired components we were kind of hoping to see a WXGA+ (1440x900) or HD+ (1600x900). The lower resolution panel obviously costs less so it might be a price consideration but I would personally pay extra for the option if it was given to me. The panel rates about average with good color and contrast, but falls short of some of the high-end screens like you might find on a HP ENVY or Apple MacBook. At peak backlight levels we measured a max brightness of 218nit, which is high for indoor viewing but not really bright enough for outdoor viewing. Combined with the glossy screen surface you would be hard pressed to view the screen outside unless you were under some very good shade from a building or tree.
The Ideapad Y460 has a leg up on competing 14-inch notebooks when it comes to onboard speakers. JBL and Lenovo teamed up to design the audio system on the Y460 and it easily ranks into the better than average category. It still doesn’t have the deep bass of a large notebook with a dedicated subwoofer, but the JBL drivers do a good job at high and midrange audio. Peak volume levels are good for a small to medium sized room, making it perfect for enjoying a movie in a dorm room or small office. Headphones for travel are still highly recommended and for home use we might suggest using the HDMI-out connection to pass a digital audio stream to a home theater system.
Lenovo kept the same keyboard design on the Y460, with the primary change from the previous model being the shift from all white keys to all black. The keyboard is a full-size design without a numberpad with full function-key access on the top row. Unlike a lot of manufacturers these days who seem to be opting to take the route of secondary functions taking over the function row, Lenovo keeps the old standard. Another nice design element is the location and layout of the home, end, page up, and page down keys on the right side of the keyboard. They are easy to find and useful if you do a do a lot of office productivity work.
The keyboard itself feels very comfortable to type on and requires light to moderate pressure to activate each key. The non-Chiclet keyboard is almost refreshing to see with most manufacturers taking that route on newer notebook designs. Key noise is minimal with each keypress emitting a soft click when the key is fully triggered.
Lenovo includes a large multi-touch enabled Synaptics touchpad on the Y460. It supports two-finger scrolling, pinch zoom, rotation and three-finger flick. The touchpad surface is a glossy textured surface that matches the color of the palmrest and has little dots imprinted on the finish. The one-finger scroll section is defined with a smooth bar and vertical orange dots. Sensitivity out of the box was excellent, but it needed to be adjusted down slightly because it was almost too sensitive for my tastes. The touchpad buttons are large and offer great feedback. They have good travel and give off a soft click when fully pressed.
Ports and Features
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y460 has a good selection of ports and features, making use of every inch of space around the perimeter. The system offers three USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA/USB combo port, VGA and HDMI-out, Ethernet, and audio jacks. The system also includes a SDHC-card reader, ExpressCard/34 slot, and a DVD-burner. Outside of including DisplayPort or FireWire I don’t see what else Lenovo could have added to make it any better.
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