X
Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement | How we test computers

Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 review: Lenovo IdeaPad Y570

Lenovo IdeaPad Y570

ackermandan-square
Dan Ackerman
ackermandan-square

Dan Ackerman

Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times

See full bio
6 min read

If you're shopping for a midsize 15.6-inch laptop, there are a lot of choices out there, to put it mildly. For example, Dell and HP make several perfectly fine machines in this category, Dell with its midrange Inspiron and higher-end XPS lines, and HP with its midrange Pavilion and higher-end Envy lines. Lenovo's IdeaPad also merits a look, and the Y570 model is a 15-inch laptop that looks and feels very high-end, but can be configured anywhere from $799 to $1,149.

Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 086224U Dusk Black 2nd generation Intel Core i5-2410M (2.30GHz 1333MHz 3MB)
7.8

Lenovo IdeaPad Y570

The Good

The <b>Lenovo IdeaPad Y570</b> looks great and has a surprising amount of configuration flexibility for a mainstream laptop.

The Bad

The system is brimming with bloatware, and a physical switch for GPU modes is confusing.

The Bottom Line

A sharp-looking mainstream laptop with decent graphics and some configuration flexibility, the IdeaPad Y570 is a solid alternative to some of the better-known consumer laptop brands.

Our version hits close to the perfect middle ground, coming in at $849. For that, you get an Intel Core i5 2410M CPU (which we've seen in laptops as inexpensive as $579), but also Nvidia's GeForce 555M GPU. The 4GB of RAM and 500GB hard drive are standard (or maybe even a little subpar for an $849 laptop), but Lenovo's design savvy and helpful software make up for it. It's also worth noting that Lenovo currently has the same model, but with a larger 750GB hard drive and Blu-ray, discounted to $799 for an unspecified period of time.

Price as reviewed / Starting price$849 / $799
Processor2.3GHz Intel Core i5 2410M
Memory4GB, 1,333MHz DDR3
Hard drive500GB 5,400rpm
ChipsetIntel HM65
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GT 555M
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Dimensions (WD)15.1x10 inches
Height1.4 inches
Screen size (diagonal)15.6 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter6 pounds / 7.1 pounds
CategoryMidsize

Back in 2010, we looked at a predecessor system, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y560. That model had a funkier overall look, with a tribal-like design on the back of the plastic lid. This version is much more sedate, and more upscale-looking, with a faded copper hue inside and a pattern of small glossy black dots on the back of the matte black lid.

The keyboard is at first glance similar to the ones we've seen on other Lenovo consumer systems, with its signature variation on the flat-topped island key style, but it has a different feel. The key faces are slightly smaller than on the Lenovo Essential B470 and G570 laptops we recently reviewed, but with deeper key travel. They're also loud and clacky, while we're used to a much smoother typing experience. As a standalone keyboard, it's fine, but as we're so used to other Lenovo laptops, this one falls short.

The touch pad is large, with a textured surface that provides just the right amount of finger resistance. Below it is a single rocker bar that takes the place of separate left and right mouse buttons. We greatly prefer separate buttons, but at least in this case, the rocker bar is large and easy to hit. There is the usual array of multitouch gestures for the pad, such as the two-finger scroll, but as always, responsiveness on Windows is lacking compared with OS X.

Many Lenovo systems, both business and consumer, include a variety of useful software apps, the best of which combine security and system tools under one roof. The package on this particular system is a mixed bag, with useful facial recognition software and a boot optimizer lumped in with Lenovo-branded adware for gaming and video chat services and the simply awful Lenovo Smile Dock, a piece of marketing bloatware masquerading as a software dock.

The 15.6-inch display has a native resolution of 1,366x768 pixels, which is standard for a laptop this size (but only slightly more expensive systems have been known to step to a 1,600x900-pixel resolution). The screen itself is not overly glossy, but the thick black bezel that surrounds it is, and the glare can be distracting. Off-axis viewing was also not great, especially when tilting the lid vertically even a small amount. The JBL-branded speakers were above average, however, and offered some of the best sound we've heard from a sub-$1,000 laptop in some time.


Lenovo IdeaPad Y570Average for category [midsize]
VideoVGA plus HDMIVGA plus HDMI or DisplayPort
AudioStereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacksStereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0/eSATA, SD card reader2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, SD card reader, eSATA
NetworkingEthernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, BluetoothEthernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional mobile broadband
Optical driveDVD burnerDVD burner

Helping the IdeaPad Y570 stand out from less expensive 15-inch laptops is a handful of extras, including the aforementioned JBL speakers, as well as two USB 3.0 ports, a combo USB/eSATA port, and a row of touch-sensitive volume buttons above the keyboard.

While our Y570 sells for $849, a few configuration options can either raise or lower the price. For $799, you can knock the CPU down to an Intel Core i3 (although that seems expensive for a Core i3 laptop), and Core i7 models start at $939 and go up to more than $1,000 if you add Blu-ray and an SSD. At the time of this review, a higher-end config than our review unit, with the same CPU but a larger hard drive and a Blu-ray player, is on sale for $799 on Lenovo's site.

The Intel Core i5-2410M CPU that powers our IdeaPad Y570 is probably the most common CPU in laptops right now. It's faster than Core i3 models, but at the low end of the i5 scale, so it can be found in laptops selling under $600 (as in the case of Lenovo's own Essential G570). In our benchmark tests, the Y570 ran so close to other mainstream laptops with the same CPU, such as Dell's Inspiron 15R, that the differences were negligible. Unless you're engaged in serious PC gaming, video editing, or other processor-intensive tasks, it's more than sufficient.

The included Nvidia GeForce GT 555M GPU is a nice touch that you usually don't find in a midpriced 15-inch laptop. Better than the GeForce 540 card you're more likely to see, it helped the Y570 run Street Fighter IV at the system's native resolution at an impressive 80.4 frames per second. There's one important caveat, however. The GPU, instead of switching itself off and on automatically, as in laptops with Nvidia's Optimus switching technology, requires the use of a tiny physical switch along the front edge of the chassis. No reboot is needed, but we're way past the point of needing to manually switch settings like this.

Juice box
Lenovo IdeaPad Y570Avg watts/hour
Off (60%)0.72
Sleep (10%)0.84
Idle (25%)7.7
Load (05%)42.5
Raw kWh number39.97
Annual power consumption cost$4.54

Annual power consumption cost

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420s

$4.08

Toshiba Satellite E305-S1990x

$4.27

Lenovo IdeaPad Y570

$4.54

Dell Inspiron 15R

$4.77

HP Pavilion dv6t-6000

$6.30

For an average laptop with an average CPU, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y570's battery life was a bit below average. In our video playback battery drain test, it ran for just 3 hours and 17 minutes. For a $500 laptop, we'd call that decent. For more than $800, while running Intel's very power-efficient current-gen CPUs, it's disappointing, but not a deal breaker. Even Lenovo's own Essential G570 budget 15-inch ran nearly an hour longer.

Lenovo includes an industry-standard one-year parts and labor warranty with the system. Upgrading to a three-year plan will cost an extra $99, or $149 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.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Lenovo IdeaPad Y570
572

Toshiba Satellite E305-S1990x

581

Dell Inspiron 15R

583

HP Pavilion dv6t-6000

595

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420s

611

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Toshiba Satellite E305-S1990x
91

HP Pavilion dv6t-6000

91

Lenovo IdeaPad Y570

93

Dell Inspiron 15R

94

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420s

94

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Toshiba Satellite E305-S1990x
120

Dell Inspiron 15R

120

HP Pavilion dv6t-6000

120

Lenovo IdeaPad Y570

121

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420s

121

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Toshiba Satellite E305-S1990x
336

HP Pavilion dv6t-6000

289

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420s

288

Lenovo IdeaPad Y570

197

Dell Inspiron 15R

141

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:

Lenovo IdeaPad Y570
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 555M/64MB (Dedicated) Intel GMA HD; 500GB Seagate 5,400rpm

HP Pavilion dv6t-6000
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 6,144MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 2GB AMD Radeon HD 6490M/64MB (Dedicated) Intel GMA HD; 640GB Seagate 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite E305-S1990x
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated) Intel GMA HD; 500GB Seagate 7,200rpm

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420s
Windows 7 Professional (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1,696MB (Total) Intel GMA HD; 320GB Seagate 7,200rpm

Dell Inspiron 15R
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 6,144MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated) Intel GMA HD; 500GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 086224U Dusk Black 2nd generation Intel Core i5-2410M (2.30GHz 1333MHz 3MB)
7.8

Lenovo IdeaPad Y570

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 9Performance 7Battery 6Support 7
Shopping laptop image
Get the best price on everything
Shop your favorite products and we’ll find the best deal with a single click. Designed to make shopping easier.
Add CNET Shopping