CNET First Look
Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 hands-onThis feature-filled midsize gaming laptop has almost everything you'd want, except for a touch screen.
-I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here taking a look at the Lenovo IdeaPad Y500. Now, this new version of the Y500 is for Windows 8. It is also a little bit of a gaming laptop. It has-- in this particular configuration, not one but two NVIDIA GeForce 650m graphics cards, which means that it could pretty much play any game out there at either the highest resolution. This is a 15-inch 1080p screen or the highest detail settings. Some games both and some games you may have to dial either the resolution or the detail settings down. You've also got a big one terabyte hard drive with that 16 gig solid-state cache and what I think is probably one of the coolest thing is at least-- the first thing you see is this cool backlit keyboard, it's sort of black on black but with this really rich red emanating from underneath the keys. You know, it's different from every other backlit keyboard at least. It's a little bit of a-- maybe a dorm room chic look but I liked it just because it stands out from everybody else. Now, with all these good stuff going on, there's gotta be a downside and that is-- this is one of the very few Windows 8 laptops that we've seen that does not have a touchscreen. See, nothing's happening here. Now, I see a little bit of a trend here. Pretty much any laptop that we've reviewed since Windows 8 came out that has a discreet graphics card, does not have a touchscreen. Now there's no reason why you can't put these two components together but for some reason, nobody has yet. The first guy to make a really great gaming laptop for Windows 8 that also was a touchscreen, I'm gonna be right on board with that. Not because you need a touchscreen for gaming so much, but the rest of the time when you're just in this Windows 8 UI, it really pays to have the touchscreen. Otherwise, it's just difficult to navigate especially with a touch pad here that's just a little bit of floaty feeling, not quite as tight as you'd want it to be. One thing I thought was very cool is the tech and graphics card is what Lenovo calls an UltraBay, which means you can actually pull out and replace it with either a second hard drive, a fan or a optical drive, like a DVD driver, Blu-ray drive. They have to buy all these other things separately and they're very proprietary but the fact that you could swap that fan out and maybe have an at home version and just pull it out and put the fan in for travel, so it'd be lighter and use less power and one cooler, I think it's kind of a cool option. We used to see it years ago not so much now. My final quote about the Y500 is this configuration was originally pitched to me as costing about $1300. Looking at Lenovo's website as of today, they seem to have a lot of sales going on tied into Saint Patrick's Day, even though that already happened. I saw a very similar configuration to his for $869, which is pretty amazing. That almost makes this a must considered laptop even when you take off the touchscreen. If it had a touchscreen, be hands down, my favorite laptop for 2013 so far as it is. It should definitely be in your strong considered category if you're into a mild to a moderate, to not quite super heavy PC gaming. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the Lenovo IdeaPad Y500.