Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 Review: Taking The Good With The Bad
Cooling, Portability, Software
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.
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.
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.
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.