Heat and Noise
The IdeaPad Y480 remains comfortably cool even when stressing the laptop by playing games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. The external temperature readings were "lap friendly" during prolonged use and the only hot spots on the bottom of the notebook were near the Wi-Fi card and CPU.
The cooling fan runs almost constantly at a low hum while the notebook is idle. The pitch of the fan noise isn't enough to bother most people but it is something you'll hear over background office noise if you're within two or three feet of the notebook. The fan itself doesn't get much louder at full speed when gaming but the sound of hot air rushing out of the left side of the laptop is similar to the force of a hair dryer on the low setting.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 lasted for 5 hours and 53 minutes of continuous web surfing during our standard battery life test. For our battery life test, we set Windows 7 on the "Balanced" power profile, turn the screen brightness down to 70 percent, turn Wi-Fi on and refresh a text-heavy web page every 60 seconds (we disabled the keyboard backlight for this test). Approximately six hours isn't great for a modern 14-inch notebook, but it's worth mentioning that the Y480 uses a 6-cell battery with only a 48 Whr rating compared to most notebooks that use batteries with a 53+ Whr rating. Overall, it's still a very decent result for a 6-cell battery. For example, the HP Pavilion dm4 Beats Edition lasted 6 hours and 46 minutes but it uses a 6-cell battery rated at 55 Whr.
In short, battery life from the Y480 isn't great but it isn't horrible either. To Lenovo's credit, they advertise this notebook as delivering "Up to 5 hours" with "productive usage" so the official battery life claims are VERY realistic. Kudos to Lenovo for not over hyping your battery life claims.
Battery life test results (higher scores mean better battery life):
Students (and their parents) who are in the market for a reasonably portable 14-inch laptop with plenty of performance for school work and some gaming should seriously consider the Lenovo IdeaPad Y480. The combination of 3rd generation Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA graphics means you get a notebook with more than enough power for work and play.
There are just a few places where the Y480 disappoints. The screen isn't bad but it certainly fails to impress considering this is a "multimedia" laptop with a MSRP of around $1,500. For that price Lenovo should offer a 1600x900 display resolution or a higher quality IPS display panel. The keyboard itself is great but the plastic keyboard trim piece "bounces" under the pressure of your fingers while typing and is distracting to say the least.
As we mentioned earlier in the review the IdeaPad Y480 is painfully overpriced at the full MSRP of $1,499.00 but if you can find this laptop for less than $900 then it's a pretty good value for the money.
The IdeaPad Y480 might not be the standout winner among 14-inch multimedia laptops, but overall performance, solid construction, and great speakers deliver a very nice user experience.
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