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Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 Review: Taking The Good With The Bad

Author: Matt Smith
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Cooling, Portability, Software

Cooling

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The Lenovo Y480’s thick chassis allows for excellent cooling. During normal light-load operation, the laptop barely warms up either the underside or interior typing surfaces. We recorded temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s Fahrenheit. These figures were around ten degrees warmer than the ambient temperature of the room the Y480 was in.

Playing a modern game that stresses both the CPU and GPU can send the little system fan into a flurry. At least it does its job. While temperatures immediately around the exhaust can hover at 100 degrees the majority of the laptop’s surface stays in the mid-80s. 

Using the Y480 on your lap is a possibility even when playing a game. Just make sure you don’t accidently block the exhaust.

Portability

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Although the 14-inch display leads to a small physical width, the Y480 is certainly not an ultraportable. It weighs in at about 4.8 pounds and is up to 1.3 inches thick. Both statistics are easy to notice in day-to-day use.

Still, a 14-inch laptop is not gigantic by any menas. This laptop does fit well into many messenger bags and backpacks, though small bags designed for netbooks and 13-inch ultraportables will struggle to handle the Y480 (the messenger bag I have would accommodate the Y480 but the zipper would not close). 

What about battery life? The inclusion of an efficient processor and Nvidia Optimus looks good on paper, but the Y480 has a small 48 Wh battery. You can probably predict how that’s going to turn out.

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Yep. Battery life is not great. This seems to be a theme among Lenovo laptops. I do think that the endurance offered is adequate for many users, but considering the size of this laptop, it’d be nice to see more. A quad-core processor, discrete graphics and a 6 hour+ run time could have made the Y480 a mobile workstation for those with tight purse strings.  

Software

Lenovo ships the Y480 with a trial of McAfee which is easily among the most annoying security software suites I’ve yet to encounter. It repeatedly asks for the user to register, or upgrade. The pop-up will sometimes appear even if another program is taking priority. This becomes an issue when playing a game or watching a movie, for example. Most users will want to uninstall the McAfee trial immediately and install some other, less annoying security suite [like MSE].

The rest of Lenovo’s pre-install software is innocent. There is a Lenovo branded webcam app (which is really a CyberLink program), the typical pre-installed recovery software, a face recognition option that’s not worth the effort and a clunky speedometer-like power management interface. None of this software is critical, but it also stays out of your way if you don’t want it, so there’s little negative impact on the user experience.

 

July 6, 2012 | 12:28 PM - Posted by dreamer77dd

I just do not have the money for these types of laptop computers. I rather spend it on a pc to get the heavy lifting down and the laptop for the lighter stuff like Emails.
Battery life is always important.
Trying to make a labtop into a gaming machine or photoshop workstation i just think you could have a better sulotion.

July 6, 2012 | 12:48 PM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

The Y5x0 has been one of the best value laptops in the market for the past few years, even despite its faults. While The MSRP is around $900 you can usually get the Y580 for <$700 using coupon codes. There definitely are issues with the build quality but it's nice to have a mobile machine that is 'good enough' for gaming. These laptops are not meant to replace desktops for gaming though. I have the Y560 and the wife has the Y570. The discrete GPU on the 560 died out, so far the build quality on the Y570 seems to be doing much better. The only issue with the 570 is the sub-par screen and the downgrade in touchpad quality. I don't like how Lenovo changes their parts out of nowhere. My 560 has a great feeling touchpad, the wifes 570 touchpad has poor texture and sensitivity, while I know another person with a 570 that has a much better touchpad, IT SHOULD BE THE SAME!

Anyways it's nice to the see the review, and frankly the 14" version of the Y series has always been step-child in the product lineup. The 15" over the past three iterations has been the only one worth getting.

January 24, 2013 | 11:41 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Where to get y580 so cheap

August 30, 2012 | 03:47 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

CAUTION : In my Experience I bought Y480 it was dead on arrival they replace it with another one and the SECOND ONE was ALSO DEAD on ARRIVAL. the third one is working fine…
TWO DEAD ON ARRIVAL IN ROW!
read my review here : http://www.root25.com/2012/08/lenovo-ideapad-y480-review-potentially.html
they waste 30days of my life!

August 30, 2012 | 03:47 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

CAUTION : In my Experience I bought Y480 it was dead on arrival they replace it with another one and the SECOND ONE was ALSO DEAD on ARRIVAL. the third one is working fine…
TWO DEAD ON ARRIVAL IN ROW!
read my review here : http://www.root25.com/2012/08/lenovo-ideapad-y480-review-potentially.html
they waste 30days of my life!

September 24, 2013 | 09:57 AM - Posted by Sandy (not verified)

Got this one - 15inch version. Total CRAP. Lenovo builds it's new laptops with cheap quality products. New keyboards are below average, problematic and noisy. Their size and new texture is not ideal for productivity. I hate this laptop because of the poor keyboard, bad display, below average audio and plastic body (though looks metallic, it is plastic and easily bends when pressed on edges). Only plus point: it looks cool when the lid is closed!

Stay away from Lenovo Chinese crap.

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