Review Index:

Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 Review: Taking The Good With The Bad

Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Introduction and Design

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In the wilds of the laptop market, nestled between the hordes of 15.6” mainstream laptops and the slim ultraportables, there is an odd breed. The 14” multimedia laptop. Even describing them as such is limiting because each model seems to offer its own take on the concept. Some are nearly as thin and light as laptops with much smaller displays while others are bulky powerhouses hidden behind a façade of portability.

Lenovo has long been a proponent of the 14-incher in actions if not words. IdeaPads of this size have also been common, usually gracing Lenovo’s website as a smaller alternative to a 15.6” laptop with a similar model name.

As a result, absolutely no one was shocked when Lenovo announced the IdeaPad Y480. It’s exactly the kind of product most consumers end up buying and exactly the kind of product tech journalists don’t care to talk about. 

So what’s powering this new mid-size laptop? Let’s have a look.

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Continue reading our review of the Lenovo IdeaPad Y480!!

Not bad, huh? The Y480 is formidable on paper despite its 14-inch display. And get this – our review unit is not a high-end model. Nope. It’s a basic, no-frills version that sells for $949 on Lenovo’s website at this time.  You can spend a lot more if you’d like, but there’s not much point. All models are similarly equipped and the upgrades obtained for additional coin only impact components such as the hard drive and optical drive.

The Y480 is the first affordable Ivy Bridge laptop we’ve had a chance to look at (excluding the Ivy Bridge ultrabook, which was a reference platform and thus not for sale). So what does it offer? Let’s have a look.


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Lenovo’s design language for its consumer laptops over the last few years has usually been semi-professional, though the company will occasionally let its hair down by offering some color options. Most IdeaPads come with black or gray paint jobs, a brushed aluminum finish on at least one surface and a bit of chrome trim to add zest. 

The Y480 is no exception. Its dark gray-black brushed aluminum lid could be attached to a laptop from almost any manufacturer without looking out of place, but at least it’s attractive overall. The same can be said for the interior, which is also outfitted in black and gray. Chrome highlights the speakers and the power button has an eye-catching LED that gives the laptop a classy feel.

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Build quality is good enough – and no better. All of the immediate touch points, like the display lid, the palmrest and the keyboard, have a reassuring solidary. If you go looking for issues you’ll find them, however. The display hinges are a bit loose, which allows the display to jostle when typing on a less-than-stable surface. You’ll also discover noticeable chassis flex below the optical drive. Neither issue is a durability concern, but both make the laptop feel like it was built to a budget.

Connectivity comes courtesy of two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, VGA and individual microphone/headphone jacks. It’s all reasonably well laid and accessible. The USB 2.0 ports placed on either side of the optical drive will be a liability if they’re in use when you want to insert a disc, however.

July 6, 2012 | 03:28 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 | 03:48 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 25, 2013 | 02:41 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Where to get y580 so cheap

August 30, 2012 | 06:47 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…
read my review here :
they waste 30days of my life!

August 30, 2012 | 06:47 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…
read my review here :
they waste 30days of my life!

September 24, 2013 | 12:57 PM - 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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