Lenovo IdeaPad Hands-On Roundup

by Reads (31,289)

by Jerry Jackson

As we mentioned earlier this week with our Lenovo IdeaPad U110 article, Lenovo’s new line of IdeaPad notebooks is getting plenty of attention at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). We also had the opportunity to take a closer look at the new IdeaPad Y710 and the IdeaPad Y510. There’s plenty to get excited about, but will these notebooks impress existing ThinkPad users, or will the IdeaPads be destined for the kiddy table?

For starters, the design of the IdeaPads marks a significant change for Lenovo. Unlike the "all business" classic ThinkPad line that Lenovo inherited from IBM, the IdeaPads have a sleek, refined look with a very consumer-focused feel. The glossy screens feature a flush-mount bezel which makes the transition from LCD to keyboard look incredibly smooth.

Speaking of keyboards, the keyboards on both the Y510 and the Y710 have a distinctive "ThinkPad feel" when typing … despite the loss of the iconic red trackpoint in the middle of the keyboard. The touchpad and touchpad buttons were also smooth and responsive.

The orange "Shuttle Key" and touch-sensitive media buttons above the keyboards on both the Y510 and Y710 put playback, volume, and equalizer controls at your fingertips.


A sneak peak at the Y510. (view large image)

The new "VeriFace" facial recognition software offers next-generation biometrics security for the IdeaPads without the need for a fingerprint reader. The sample notebooks on display at CES suggest that VeriFace might be the next must-have security feature … but it remains to be seen how it will perform during "real life" tests.


An image of the VeriFace security screen on the Y510. (view large image)

Y510 Specifications

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T2330, T5450, or T5550
  • OS: Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit
  • Screen: 15” widescreen WXGA VibrantView (1280×800)
  • Video Card: Intel X3100 (up to 256MB shared)
  • HD: 160GB or 250GB 5400rpm
  • RAM: 2x1GB (4GB max)
  • Optical: DVD-Burner
  • Webcam: 1.3mp
  • Sound: four speakers, one subwoofer
  • Network: 10/100 Ethernet, Intel 4965AGN wireless
  • Weight: 6.4lbs
  • Size: 14.1 x 10.3 x 1.14-1.42”
  • Warranty: 1 year system/1 year battery
  • Battery: 6 Cell, up to 4 hrs
  • Ports: three USB, Firewire, VGA, S-Video, 6-in-1 card reader, Expresscard, Mic/Headphone jacks
  • Starting price: $799

The IdeaPad Y710 is an impressive 17-inch version of the Y510 and offers improved graphics performance and Blu-Ray for a true HD video experience. In addition to the larger, higher resolution screen and improved graphics/video performance, the keyboard includes a dedicated number pad.


IdeaPad Y710 keyboard. (view large image)

Ports on the Y710, including HDMI. (view large image)

Blue LEDs on the Y710. (view large image)

Another view of the Y710. (view large image)

 

As with the Y510, the Y710 features an integrated subwoofer for improved built-in audio performance. We were reasonably impressed with the sound quality coming from the built-in speakers on these IdeaPads and we hope the combination of traditional speakers and subwoofers is something we see in multimedia notebooks from other manufacturers as well.


Subwoofer on the bottom of the Y710. (view large image)

Y710 Specifications

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T5450 and T9300
  • OS: Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit
  • Screen: 17" widescreen WXGA VibrantView (1400×900)
  • Video Card: ATI HD2600 256MB DDR2
  • HD: 250GB 5400rpm or 500GB (250GBx2)
  • RAM: 2x1GB (4GB max)
  • Optical: DVD-Burner or Blu-Ray DVD
  • Webcam: 1.3MP
  • Sound: four speakers, one subwoofer
  • Network: 10/100 Ethernet, Intel 4965AGN wireless
  • Weight: 7.9lbs
  • Size: 15.5 x 11.2 x 1.02-1.53”
  • Warranty: 1 year system/1 year battery
  • Battery: 6 Cell, up to 4 hrs
  • Ports: four USB, HDMI, Firewire, VGA, S-Video, 6-in-1 Card reader, Expresscard, Mic/ Headphone jacks
  • Starting price: $1,199

Overall, the IdeaPad Y510 and Y710 are solid alternatives for consumers who are interested in a 15-inch or 17-inch notebook from HP, Dell, or Toshiba. That said, these notebooks have to live with the trusted heritage of the Lenovo ThinkPad line.

While these IdeaPads certainly aren’t ThinkPads, the overwhelming majority of consumers are likely to compare the Y510 and Y710 to the ThinkPad line simply because the name "Lenovo" is attached to it. If that is the case, ThinkPad build quality and reliability will win over the IdeaPad good looks every time. Only time will tell if consumers embrace the smooth looks and impressive features of the new IdeaPads.

We look forward to getting our hands on review units for all of the Lenovo IdeaPads in the near future. So keep checking back to see our full reviews. More information about the Lenovo IdeaPads is available on the Lenovo website.

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