- Editor's Rating
- Responsive high-quality keyboard
- Portable design for a 15-inch gaming notebook
- Versatility via the ultrabay
- Mid-tier GPU
- No SSD
Quick TakeThe Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 is an affordable gaming notebook that offers all-around utility and performance.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 is an affordable gaming notebook. It might not seem it with a $1,250 price tag at the time of the review, but as far as gaming notebooks go, it’s about as affordable a laptop as there is. The device features a black brushed metal casing and red-backlit keyboard, which contrast in a style typical of gaming notebooks. The device’s slim build, at 15.2 x 10.2 x 1.4-inches and six pounds, makes it far more portable than a standard gaming notebook. NotebookReview also found the device’s durability to live up to its portability. The chassis withstood extreme pressure and didn’t give at all, while the display gave minimally and the screen did not ripple.
The device includes an ultrabay on the right hand side of the chassis, which allows users to customize the notebook by adding Lenovo components, including a second SLI-enabled Nvidia GT 650M GPU (which the unit NBR tested was equipped with), a HDD tray, cooling fan or an optical DVD burner. NBR noted the components are easy to add and remove. Additionally, the IdeaPad Y500 includes a VGA port, Ethernet port, HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, microphone jack, headphone jack and an always-on USB 2.0 port. NBR found that the USB 3.0 ports, which are side-by-side, are too close together and make it difficult to access both parts at the same time.
NBR was impressed with the IdeaPad Y500’s 15.6-inch TFT color Vibrant View display with 141 pixels per inch and a 500:1 color contrast ratio. NBR noted the display produces an “incredibly clear image” and text and media read great while games “look beautiful.” The device also has generous viewing angles, but the glossy surface does produce some reflections. NBR was a bit disappointed the display does not include touch screen functionality, considering it runs Windows 8, but noted for gaming purposes it’s not a huge deal. The IdeaPad Y500 has RealTek HD speakers, which NBR found produce solid sound quality and robust amplification capable of filling an entire room. Overall, the speakers paired well with games, but didn’t capture some nuances of subtle recordings and had some distortion and a faint hum when playing an orchestral piece.
The IdeaPad Y500 has a full Chiclet-style red backlit keyboard with number pad. NBR found the keys have good compression and tactile feedback and “lightning quick response and consistent performance.” The device also features a generously sized touchpad with no dedicated mouse buttons. Rather the lower right and left hand portions of the touchpad are used as mouse buttons, which are pointed out via a small graphic and a slight downward slant in the pad, making the keys easy to find. NBR noted the touchpad worked well overall, but sometimes failed to read input.
The IdeaPad Y500 NBR tested was configured with a 2.4GHz i7-3630QM processor, Dual Nvidia GT 650M graphics, 16GB DDR3 RAM, 1 TB HHD and 16GB mSATA SSD and 6-cell Lithium-ion battery. Overall, NBR found the device to have a “suitable level of performance” and noted the notebook handled basic functions with ease as well as easily handling more demanding office tasks, like Excel files with multiple tabs. Additionally, the notebook was able to multitask easily with no slowdown or performance drops and handle graphically intense functions with consistent performance. The notebook has all the space a user would need to store games, but the device’s 5400 RPM HDD caused some slow data retrieval times. NBR found the device heats up drastically when being pushed and isn’t comfortable to use on the lap and the fan has a noticeable hum. The IdeaPad Y500’s battery lasted two hours and 33 minutes in NBR’s strenuous battery test, which NBR notes is a fairly mediocre lifespan. Additionally, the device’s power cord is heavy and bulky and takes away from the portability of the device.
Overall, NBR was impressed with the IdeaPad Y500 and found that although it’s considered a gaming notebook it feels more like an all-around notebook. The dual Nvidia GT 650M GPUs offer solid performance for games that are compatible with SLI, but those that are not will not get the performance expected with dual graphics cards. For the low price however, the device is still able to easily handle an impressive amount of games. The lack of SSD and mid-tier GPU may be concerning, but NBR was impressed with the high-quality keyboard, portable design, display and versatility via the ultrabay. In the end NBR said the Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 “may not be the best budget-gaming notebook, (but) it’s still a great notebook.”