Introduction and Design
While Lenovo hasn’t historically been known for its gaming PCs, it’s poised to make quite a splash with the latest entry in its IdeaPad line. Owing little to the company’s business-oriented roots, the Y500 aims to be all power—moreso than any other laptop from the manufacturer to date—tactfully squeezed into a price tag that would normally be unattainable given the promised performance. But can it succeed?
Our Y500 review unit can be had for $1,249 at Newegg and other retailers, or for as low as $1,180 at Best Buy. Lenovo also sells customizable models, though the price is generally higher. Here’s the full list of specifications:
The configurations offered by Lenovo range in price fairly widely, from as low as $849 for a model sporting 8 GB of RAM with a single GT 650M with 2 GB GDDR5. The best value is certainly this configuration that we received, however.
What’s so special about it? Well, apart from the obvious (powerful quad-core CPU and 16 GB RAM), this laptop actually includes two NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M GPUs (both with 2 GB GDDR5) configured in SLI. Seeing as it’s just a 15.6-inch model, how does it manage to do that? By way of a clever compromise: the exchange of the usual optical drive for an Ultrabay, something normally only seen in Lenovo’s ThinkPad line of laptops. So I guess the Y500 does owe a little bit of its success to its business-grade brethren after all.
In our review unit (and in the particular configuration noted above), this Ultrabay comes prepopulated with the second GT 650M, equipped with its own heatsink/fan and all. The addition of this GPU effectively launches the Y500 into high-end gaming laptop territory—at least on the spec sheet. Other options for the Ultrabay also exist (sold separately), including a DVD burner and a second hard drive. The bay is easily removable via a switch on the back of the PC (see below).
Subject: Systems | May 6, 2013 - 04:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Lenovo, IdeaCentre B540, win8, all in one
Lenovo's IdeaCentre B540 is an all in one PC, built into a 23" 1080p touchscreen that should make using Win8 a little more user friendly. The specs are not up to gaming, the Core i3-3220 @ 3.3GHz only has Intel HD2500 graphics but with 6GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD it should serve well as a light workstation or home PC. TechReviewSource does mention a higher end model containing a Core i5 CPU and a discrete Nvidia GPU but with the heat constraints of this type of form factor you are still going to have troubles playing the newest FPSes. Check out their preview here.
"The stylish design of the Lenovo IdeaCentre B540 is one that catches our eye in tandem with its budget price tag. The 23-inch 1080p touch screen works well with Windows 8 and looks great for multimedia viewing. Performance is good, especially for the price, but it does make a slight compromise with a Core i3 CPU."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- The Tech Report's April 2013 System Guide
- Dell XPS 18 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Dell XPS One 27 Review: affordable large screen all-in-one @ Hardware.info
- Acer Aspire A5600U-UB13 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Gateway DX4870-UB17 Review @ TechReviewSource
- BUYPOWER Revolt SFF Desktop Gaming PC @ Tweaktown
- Raspberry Pi Review @ Tech-Reviews.co.uk
- PC Specialist Vanquish X200 Gaming Rig @ eTeknix
Subject: Processors | April 3, 2013 - 08:35 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: mobile, Lenovo, electrical engineering, chip design, arm
According to a recent article in the EE Times, Beijing-based PC OEM Lenovo many be entering the mobile chip design business. An anonymous source allegedly familiar with the matter has indicated that Lenovo will be expanding its Integrated Circuits design team to 100 engineers by the second-half of this year. Further, Lenovo will reportedly task the newly-expanded team with designing an ARM processor of its own to join the ranks of Apple, Intel, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Huawei, Samsung, and others.
It is unclear whether Lenovo simply intends to license an existing ARM core and graphics module or if the design team expansion is merely the begining of a growing division that will design a custom chip for its smartphones and Chromebooks to truly differentiate itself and take advantage of vertical integration.
Junko Yoshida of the EE Times article notes that Lenovo was turned away by Samsung when it attempted to use the company's latest Exynos Octa processor. I think that might contribute to the desire to have its own chip design team, but it may also be that the company believes it can compete in a serious way and set its lineup of smartphones apart from the crowd (as Apple has managed to do) as it pursues further Chinese market share and slowly moves its phones into the United States market.
Details are scarce, but it is at least an intriguing protential future for the company. It will be interesting to see if Lenovo is able to make it work in this extremely-competitive and expensive area.
Do you think Lenovo has what it takes to design its own mobile chip? Is it a good idea?
Subject: General Tech | March 12, 2013 - 02:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: blackberry, Lenovo, rumour, purchase
As we have heard before there are rumours that Lenovo is interested in possibly buying Blackberry, or at least trying. The hurdle they face is not economic, not only do they have 2 billion in cash lying around looking for something useful to do they managed to make some impressive profits in the PC business at a time where their competitors were feeling the downturn in the economy. The hurdle will be regulatory, as mentioned before the Canadian Government is leery of trend for major Canadian companies to sell themselves to foreign investors. On the other hand, would the government be willing to watch a company go down the path Nortel was forced to travel, with the entire company and IP being sold piecemeal? It is hard to predict, especially since this is still at the rumour stage, but from the information The Register published it would seem that the rumours were enough to float Blackberry's stock up by 10%.
"Shares in BlackBerry, the company formerly known as both RIM and a world leader in smartphone shipments, jumped up ten per cent on Monday after Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said that a buyout "could possibly make sense."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel may obtain 10% of Apple A7 processor orders, say institutional investors @ DigiTimes
- Microsoft Flash FLIP-FLOP: it's now IE10 default for Win8, WinRT @ The Register
- 'Wireless charging' in Galaxy S4 will betray Samsung's best pal @ The Register
- ASUS RT-N66U Dual-Band Gigabit Wireless-N Router Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Samsung DV150F Review @ TechReviewSource
Subject: Mobile | February 7, 2013 - 11:43 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: z2760, video, Thinkpad, tablet 2, tablet, Lenovo, clovertrail, atom z2760, atom
The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 just arrived at our office this week and before our full review we wanted to show our readers a quick overview on the design, features, accessories and performance of this 1.3 lbs Intel Atom Z2760 based computer. Running a full version of Windows 8 Pro, and not the somewhat limited Windows RT found on the MS Surface and ASUS VivoTab RT, the Tablet 2 (horrible name not withstanding) looks to be a pretty interesting device for users that want x86 compatibility and mobility.
Enjoy the video preview below!
Subject: General Tech | February 3, 2013 - 01:28 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: pc sales, Lenovo, desktop market share
Lenovo recently announced the results of its third fiscal quarter (fourth calendar quarter) in a press release on its website. There are several surprising numbers contained in the report, but the gist of it is that Lenovo had a great quarter -- one that lends credence to the future of the traditional PC (despite talk of the post-PC era).
In Lenovo’s third fiscal quarter, the company sold 14.1 million PCs, made $9.4 billion in sales, and grew to acquire 15.9% of global market share (with worldwide PC shipments increasing by 7.9%). It made a gross profit of $1.1 billion and had an operating profit of $243 million. Lenovo saw a 15% and 26% year-over-year growth in gross and operating profit respectively. Further, Lenovo had $205 million in Q3 earnings, which makes it the company’s best quarter ever. Earnings per share (EPS) currently sits at 1.99 cents.
According to Lenovo, the company has seen rapid growth over the past 13 quarters while simultaneously out-pacing the industry for 15 quarters. Its worldwide tablet sales and Chinese smartphone products have turned profitable, and are continuing to grow. However, desktop PC sales still account for 30% of total sales revenue. Desktop sales increased slightly by 1% year over year in the third quarter to $2.8 billion. Although growth is not as rapid as Lenovo is seeing with its newer tablet and smartphone divisions, the number of desktops sold every quarter is still increasing. And as the world’s third-largest PC OEM, it does suggest that the traditional desktop and laptop computer still has life. Tablets and smartphones will continue to grow, but will likely co-exist with the PC rather than displace it. It will be interesting to see how the other OEMs have faired through 2012 and into 2013!
You can find all of the financial details on the company's press release.
Subject: General Tech | January 25, 2013 - 01:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: RIM, Lenovo, blackberry, purchase, rumour
“We are looking at all opportunities -- RIM and many others” is the actual quote from Chief Financial Officer Wong Wai Ming that spurred the speculation that Lenovo is going to buy RIM. These rumours have spread to the point that Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has gone on record to say that any such proposal would be scrutinized by the government before it could go through. If you look over the past five years of the Harper government and how they have treated foreign acquisition of large Canadian companies you will notice a pattern, the sale of MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates Ltd. to an American based company was blocked, sale of Potash Corp to the Australians was blocked and while Nexen was purchased by a Chinese mining firm, the current Canadian government is on record as saying no more state companies will be allowed to buy oil sands firms.
It is not just the regulatory hurdles that make this sale seem unlikely, at least in the terms pundits are currently bandying about. Lenovo did base their current success on purchasing IBM's hardware line but it was at a time when IBM chose to move out of the hardware business; IBM did not have to sell off that successful business but instead saw an opportunity in doing so. RIM on the other hand is in trouble and if they try to flog their hardware business off to the highest bidder they are not going to meet with the success that IBM did. In fact, even without seeing the 10 new phones that will be arriving in the near future, it is not a stretch to theorize that they will not have the speed and attractiveness of Samsung or HTCs current or upcoming models.
What is sexy about RIM is behind the scenes, their architecture (at least now that they've moved away from the single point of failure model) and the security features that Blackberrys on a proper BES have. Native ActiveSync support is nice as BYOD becomes more common in the corporate world but those devices lack the security assurances that a Blackberry has, which is what makes it attractive to Governments and Security Agencies across the world in addition to corporate users. It is also the only part of the company that IBM found interesting when the last set of RIM rumours circulated. It is possible that the stories such as you can see at The Register have some merit, it would seem far more likely that Lenovo would be considering a purchase similar to their IBM purchase, sell and support the hardware but not the software side.
"Lenovo CFO Wong Wai Ming says the company is actively pursuing ways to improve its position in the mobile device market, spurring speculation that the Chinese firm may be planning to cozy up with Research in Motion – or even swallow it whole."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Wad of BlackBerry OS 10 pics 'leaks' from RIM's inner circle @ The Register
- AMD to get dense about servers – but in a good way @ The Register
- Microsoft blasts PC makers: It's YOUR fault Windows 8 crash landed @ The Register
- Inition demos augmented reality software @ The Inquirer
- NVIDIA Kepler versus Fermi in Adobe After Effects CS6 @ Legit Reviews
- Facebook Lies In Its Advertisements @ Tech ARP
- Infographic: Evolution of the Console from Brown Box to Wii U @ TechReviewSource
- Wi-Fi Tweak Guide for Better Wireless Performance in your Home or Office Network @ Tweaktown
- Let’s get the elderly gaming @ Kitguru
- Ninjalane Podcast - CES 2013 Highlights
- Local game streaming: Coming soon from the PC @ The Tech Report
Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2013 - 12:12 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Lenovo, convertible tablet, Android
Lenovo officially launched its IdeaPad Yoga 11S convertible tablet at CES, but it seems that Windows 8 is not the only OS Lenovo wants to support. According to tech news and rumors site Digi Times, Lenovo is planning to launch at least one IdeaPad Yoga tablet running Google’s Android operating system within the first half of 2013.
According to Digi Time's sources that are reportedly in the know “Lenovo's planned offerings will target the Android tablet segment, meeting Intel's previous commitment to rolling out Android-based tablets through joint efforts with Lenovo.”
It is an interesting move for Lenovo that should play well assuming they can keep the pricing in check. The sources were not able to confirm whether or not the Android tablets will use ARM or x86 hardware, but the bit of information about Intel and Lenovo seems to suggest it will be Intel powered and use an x86 build of Android.
The new Android tablets would have a useful form factor with the Yoga platform, and if Lenovo can price them right they will make a nice alternative to Lenovo’s own Windows RT tablets as well as make for good competition versus existing Android tablets that do not integrate physical keyboards. I’m interested to see a cheaper Yoga notebook powered by Android matched up against ASUS’ Transformer tablet offerings!
Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2013 - 01:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Lenovo, Ideaphone K860, ice cream sandwich, android 4.0, Exynos 4412
The Exynos 4412 powered Lenovo Ideaphone K860 sports very nice 720 x 1280 IPS screen which takes up most of the body of the phone thanks to the thin bezel on the phone. The Inquirer were impressed with the performance of the phone as well as the custom interface Lenovo demonstrated, running Ice Cream Sandwich. They also felt that the phone felt somewhat more rugged than it's competition the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, check out the full preview here.
"We were shocked to discover the size of the phone too, as it didn't feel as big as 5in when held in the hand. That's not to say it's a tiny phone, as with dimensions of 143.5 x7 4.4 x 9.6mm it won't squeeze easily into your skinny jean pocket, However, Lenovo designed the phone with a narrow bezel around the screen, which means it doesn't waste valuable space with white plastic."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon Ultrabook Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Dell Precision M6700 review: the ultimate portable workstation @ Hardware.info
- Asus S46CA-XH51 Review @ TechReviewSource
- MSI GX60 Review @ TechReviewSource/A>
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch Review @ TechReviewSource
- Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook @ AnandTech
- Mobile GPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Atom vs Tegra in Windows 8: battle of the mobile chips @ Hardware.info
- LG Optimus L7 Smartphone @ Tweaktown
- AT&T MiFi Liberate 4G LTE Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot Review @ Legit Reviews
Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2013 - 04:07 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: CES, smartphone, Lenovo, k900, Intel, clover trail, Android, ces 2013
Lenovo has shown off a new Android smartphone at CES. However, in an interesting twist the new Lenovo K900 is powered by an Intel Atom processor rather than an ARM SoC. The K900 smartphone is constructed of a stainless steel alloy and poly-carbonate material. Lenovo has managed to pack all the hardware in a 6.9mm thin chassis that weights 162 grams. It will come in one of four colors, including gold, silver, and grey in a brushed aluminum pattern and one that has a diamond-plate design on the back cover.
The K900 features a 5.5” IPS touchscreen display protected by Gorilla Glass 2 and with a resolution of 1920x1080. The chassis also hosts a front-facing webcam with an 88-degree field of view and a rear 13MP (F1.8) camera with a dual LED flash.
The outside is neat, but it is the internal specifications where the Lenovo K900 gets interesting. The smartphone is powered by an Intel Clover Trail+ SoC. While Intel is not yet providing details on the new processor, Engadget speculates that the SoC will be the Intel Atom Z2580, which is a dual core Clover Trail successor running at up to 2GHz. The K900 will also include 2GB of RAM and between 16GB and 64GB of internal storage (plus a microSD card slot). The phone will be running Android along with Lenovo’s Le Phone skin on top (though it can reportedly be disabled).
All in all it looks like a really slick smartphone from the specifications list. Battery life and performance are still unknown, but I’m excited to see benchmarks of this once it is released. Unfortunately, it is not headed to the United States at this time. Instead, the Lenovo K900 will be available in China starting in April of this year. Pricing should be available closer to the product’s release date. Engadget has the full press release along with hands on videos with the hardware.
PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.
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