The Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 is a great all-around versatile notebook with solid performance, affordability and utility. It comes with an ultrabay that will allow users to customize the notebook with either an additional SLI-enabled GPU, HDD tray, cooling fan or an optical drive (DVD burner). The 15.6-inch HD display, metallic design and responsive keyboard will make this a pleasure for anyone looking for a productivity-minded laptop.
Check out Mike Wall’s latest video review AND full transcription below – and also get the full written review for all the detailed specs and pricing.
Hello. I’m Michael Wall from Notebook Review, and this is our quick look at the Lenovo IdeaPad Y500. So, I’m not really sure if you guys can see this in this light but the first things that’s going to grab your attention when you look at this notebook is the keyboard. There’s the bright back, back light keyboard here it kind of just jumps out at you and it kind of screams gaming notebook. And the whole aesthetic of this device, with the brushed aluminum chassis, kind of screams at you. You can see it here, the texture on it kind of has an aggressive aesthetic to it. You know that’s the kind of what gaming notebooks are known for and then this is definitely no different in that regard.
Considering it’s a gaming notebook and more particularity an SLI enabled gaming notebook; which means it has an addition video card stored in this. It’s actually incredibly slim and then small and portable. I mean this thing weighs just under 6 pounds considering it is housing an addition graphic GPU. That’s pretty incredible. The nice thing about this notebook is that it’s an affordable gaming notebook, which is kind of an oxymoron because it doesn’t really exist, but, coming in at just $1,250 is actually pretty much as cost effective as you’re going to get when you’re talking about mobile gaming. So the standout feature for this notebook is probably it’s ultra-bay which is a this compartment right over here on the back. It almost looks like a vent but it can actually be opened up and you can add in additional components through here. It’s pretty much an easy way to kind of customize your notebook, but it is within limitations so basically you can add another, Invidia GT650M graphics card. There’s also a version of a Lenovo hard-drive or additional fan component that can be added, so it definitely offers people some quick customization, you know?
That isn’t as confusing when you’re talking about a notebook and kind of dove into there. And anyone who’s tried to do that knows that it’s substantially more difficult than messing around with a desktop. So having something that’s quick and easy like this ultra-bay component right here is actually a nice addition update. You know, the kind of customization that you’re getting is fairly limited because you are limited to the very restrictive Lenovo components that they’re offering. So considering that this is a cost affordable gaming notebook, there are some exceptions that you’re going to have to make. The most notable will be coming from the GPU, it has a Invidia GT650M with 2GB of GDDR5. Obviously the second 1 in here like I mentioned but, that is a [inaudible] your card and then you’re going to really see, you know. A middling performance from that. Is able to play almost, most games that you’re going to have on the market, but for example when we tested our Far Cry 3 we were only able to run it on medium settings and we got around 24 frames per second.
The experience was still solid, I didn’t really notice performance drop but people who want to max things out to get the most out of the machine are definitely going to notice that because it is SLI enabled the added performance here that you’re going to get from the second GPU is heavily predicated on the software they’re actually using. For example, we also tested out Dishonored. Another recent title which is SLI enabled and we were able to run it on max settings, with well over 100 frames per second with no performance drop at all. So, you know, in some instances you’re going to have an experience that’s going to go well beyond what you would expect from this price point, but in then other cases you’re really going to get kind of the middling performance you would expect from this machine given it’s relatively cost friendly price point.
You know another concession that uses might have to make with this device is the lack of storage. There is a small 16GB, MSATA SSD component on this device but you’re not really going to be able to store games on there. It’s pretty much just for the OS, everything else is put onto 1TB, 5400 RPM hard-drive. And while that will be adequate for most users, I think people who want extremely fast performance or data retrieval are certainly going to notice the lack of an SSD. But then again, when you’re talking about his price point, it’s not really a realistic expectation.
Other than that, I think the machine really delivers, you know, really strong performance for its given price point. One of the most important components when you’re talking about a gaming device, is especially the keyboard you know, that’s pretty much be your controls and this checklist style keyboard here back light not only has the aesthetic that gamers kind of want with that vibrant you know, Bright red, back light display but it also is just performs really well. There’s tactile feedback, there’s really great compression on the keys. It always feels like the keys are kind of pushing back to you and it just feels extremely responsive and that’s what you want when you’re talking about a gaming device. You want something that you know you click it and it feels like it’s ready to be hit again the second you click it and that’s exactly what you get with this keyboard right here. The touch pad certainly serviceable for a gaming machine it’s not excellent it’s just 1 generous sized pad and you can see that the bottom left and right side of the pad is designated as mouse click buttons. In terms of just using a multi-finger gestures and stuff like that it works OK. The only thing is that there’s a bit of friction on the pad so when you’re trying to do something that’s a little bit more delicate like selecting text your finger can kind of drag almost and cause you to be a little bit inaccurate but then again you know, we’re talking about a gaming device here or a gaming focus device so, you’re going to probably use a USB enabled mouse especially when you’re playing games. So it’s not that big of an issue.
So Lenovo also offers a 15.6-inch display with TFT color. As you can see it’s really strong color contrast here and it offers full 1920 by 1080 resolution. The images are really clear, the glossy background of the screen can sometimes cause reflections but when I was playing games it was never really an issue and I think that’s primarily because when you’re playing games your normally going to be sitting right in front, directly in front of the laptop. When you’re doing that, it really doesn’t cause reflections so that’s a minor issue for the device. Another noticeable thing that the screen’s lacking that I think people might see is there’s no touch capability on the screen here but again as a gaming device you’re not going to really use touch controls.
Your primary means of controlling this device is going to to probably to be USB enabled mouse, so again that’s not that big of an issue. So as you can see you definitely get, strong performance from this machine, for its relatively cost effective price point of course you know, in the end, how much performance you actually get out of this machine is very dependent on the software you’re using with the SLI enabled additional GPU… But even when not using that, you still get a pretty solid amount of performance from this machine. It all around just delivers and if you’re looking for gaming on the low end you really can’t do much better than the Lenovo Y500.