- Great gaming performance
- Good battery life
- Huge improvement in the looks department
- System gets too hot while gaming
- Limited screen resolution options
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y460 is a high-end gaming notebook that weighs under 5lbs.
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:
- 14.0″ HD Wide LED 1366×768
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- Intel Core i5 520M processor (2.40GHz, 3MB cache)
- ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 with 1GB VRAM and Intel GMA HD Switchable Graphics
- 4GB DDR3-1066 RAM (2x 2GB)
- 500GB 5400RPM hard drive (Seagate 5400.6)
- Intel Wireless Wi-Fi Link 1000BGN
- Built-in Bluetooth v2.1+EDR
- 8X DVD burner
- One-year limited warranty
- 6-cell Li-ion battery (11.1V, 57Wh)
- Weight: 4.98lbs
- Dimensions: 13.4 x 0.79–1.3 x 9.25 inches
- MSRP: $1,199 ($999 Street)
Build and Design
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.
Build quality is very good for a consumer notebook with durable plastic panels and strong screen hinges. The paint and plastic finishes seem to resist scratching from standard abuse and the unique lid texture does an excellent job of hiding fingerprints. The palmrest and touchpad sections have good support with little or no flex. The keyboard on the other hand has some give on the part above the optical drive, but you don’t really notice it until you try to grip the notebook right in that section. The bottom of the notebook is loaded with lots uniquely shaped cooling vents, indicating that the system might be designed to flow a lot of air when under load.
Users looking to upgrade components will find it easy on the IdeaPad Y460. Lenovo has three access panels on the bottom of the notebook, containing the Wi-Fi card, WWAN slot, hard drive, system memory, processor and heatsink. One odd feature is the Wi-Fi card can be accessed without the use of a screwdriver. The cover is held in place with a spring tab, which I am guessing is used to access the SIM card slot which would go in that bay. The other covers are held in place with circlip-secured screws that won’t fall out when unscrewed from the notebook.
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+ (1440×900) or HD+ (1600×900). 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.
Keyboard and Touchpad
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.
The notebook also offers multiple touch-sensitive media and quick-launch buttons located below the screen. The most interesting button is a slider bar that lets you quickly launch one of eight programs of your chosing. The bar is also used to activate other Lenovo features such as a screen locking mode, desktop wallpaper changing swipe, and a workspace swap.
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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