Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 review: Lenovo IdeaPad Y480

There are six different preconfigured versions of this system on Lenovo's Web site. They run from $999 to $1,199, but the differences are slight, all having to do with hard-drive capacity and optional Blu-ray drives.

All six Y480 models currently available share the same 8GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT640M GPU, and 2.3GHz Intel Core I7-3610QM processor. In our benchmark tests, it performed very well, on par with the other quad-core Core i7 laptops we've seen with the new Intel third-generation Core processors. It fell behind the ridiculously overclocked and overpowered Origin EON17-S , and was a couple of seconds faster than the Asus G75 . All of these Ivy Bridge laptops handily beat out even high-end second-generation Intel Core i-series models.

That said, for the average 14-inch laptop user, a killer quad-core Core i7 CPU isn't really necessary. For Web surfing, media playback, and office work, this is definitely overkill.

The discrete Nvidia GeForce 640M GPU is a highlight, but again, the low display resolution cripples its usefulness. Nonetheless, Street Fighter IV ran at a speedy 59.8 frames per second. That's excellent, and this system will play any current game well (especially considering you can't crank up the resolution), but the Origin EON17-S ran the same test at 216fps, and the Asus G75 at 99.5fps, with the GeForce 675 and 660 GPU models, respectively.

Juice box
Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 Avg watts/hour
Off (60%) 0.38
Sleep (10%) 0.69
Idle (25%) 10.79
Load (05%) 46.56
Raw kWh number 46.63
Annual power consumption cost $5.29

Annual power consumption cost

While the IdeaPad Y480 doesn't necessarily stand out in most other categories, it kills in battery life. In our video playback battery drain test, the system ran for 3 hours and 51 minutes. For a 14-inch laptop that's not great, but for one with the very latest high-end quad-core processor, it's excellent. Think of this as essentially desktop replacement hardware in a midsize laptop body.

Lenovo includes an industry-standard one-year parts and labor warranty with the system. Upgrading to a three-year plan will cost an extra $69, or $104 if you include on-site service, and various other two- and three-year options are available. Support is accessible through a 24-7 toll-free phone line, an online knowledge base, and driver downloads.

The IdeaPad line is a great way for someone to get Lenovo's excellent construction quality and ergonomic design without having a "business" laptop. This version is interesting, in that it has the kind of power you'd expect in a big 17-inch desktop replacement, but pairing with with a 1,366x768-pixel display, and for more then $1,000, seems shortsighted.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Street Fighter IV (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Native resolution, 2X AA, V Sync off  

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

What you'll pay

    Pricing is currently unavailable.

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    Quick Specifications See All

    • Resolution 1366 x 768 ( HD )
    • Installed Size 8 GB
    • Color black
    • Weight 4.9 lbs
    • Optical Drive DVD-Writer - tray
    • Graphics Processor NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M LE / Intel HD Graphics 4000 - 2 GB
    • CPU Intel Core i7 (3rd Gen) 3610QM / 2.3 GHz