So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510 (non-Australian model - not rated)
- Design, easy access power-mode button, facial recognition (while gimmicky is still kind of cool)
- Fairly average results from the Dolby tests
Lenovo's first reach into the booming consumer-notebook market looks to be a good one. The IdeaPad Y510 has got style and function, now we just have to see the local build and we'll be happy.
Price$ 1,499.00 (AUD)
Lenovo has long been a strong force in the business notebook market, and has seemingly opposed or chosen to ignore the ever growing consumer market, touting its tried and tested, albeit a little drab, black and red box-design as the heart, soul, be-all and end-all of Lenovo's product range for years -- until now.
One of two new IdeaPad notebooks launched at CES and being launched in Australia this month (with another one potentially coming to Australia later this year), the Y510 bears a similar shape to the Lenovo 3000 series, but is otherwise a far swankier looking machine. Forget matte black, it's now shiny piano-black with a textured lid. Forget keyboard lights for doing work into the late hours, now there are touch sensitive, backlit media controls for navigating your tunes. Also floating around above the keyboard is a power-mode shortcut.
It's hard to tell whether the design is really that catchy, or whether we're just shocked it's coming from Lenovo, but it certainly has a lot more cool to it than Lenovo has ever displayed before. The frameless LCD screen looks quite suave with a flat, protective panel over the top. A battery gauge on the spine of the notebook reflects into view by bouncing off the bottom of the screen when the lid is open. And instead of shortcuts to boring things like Web-browsers or e-mail clients, Lenovo has installed touch-sensitive controls for equaliser presets like pop and even classical. Lenovo has not included a fingerprint scanner, but has instead introduced facial recognition as a security feature. It's a bit gimmicky, but every additional security feature counts.
Whether or not this is your cup of tea it certainly represents a different approach to the notebook for Lenovo and could come in handy for the audio aficionado who's always on the road. The speakers aren't quite as good as Toshiba's Qosmio G40 (PQG40A-00Y014) or even one of Acer's Gemstone range, such as the Aspire Gemstone 5920G (602G25Hn), but they do produce good sound with a subwoofer providing support at the low end, and should be good enough for some background music while you surf the Web and watching a movie. With that in mind Lenovo has also included Dolby Digital virtual surround-sound 5.1 emulation, which is intended to make 2.1 speakers sound like 5.1 speakers.
Using external speakers provides a more surround sound-like experience from the Dolby Virtual 5.1, but even that will depend on the speakers you use. In our tests we noticed a mild widening of the sound stage. Anyone who thinks they're getting 5.1 surround sound from the 2.1 internal speakers of this notebook is kidding themselves.
The screen isn't perfect, but does offer a better than average viewing angle. The colours are rich and warm while brightness levels are nice and strong. The model we are currently testing is a preview model that has foreign specifications, and is not representative of the final product we will see here in Australia, at least in terms of the internal components. For this reason we have not run benchmarks and have not listed the specifications. Keep an eye out for the final product.
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