Forget everything you know about a conventional notebook. The new in notebook gear has subwoofers, facial recognition and a tough new design and is made by of all people, Lenovo, a company that is serious about notebooks for consumers. We took a look at their latest offering and was impressed.
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Out of the box, the IdeaPad Y510’s black ‘light weave’ texture lid gives a unique look to the notebook. The angled shape makes it easier for users to open as it is latchless. Another neat idea in the insertion of a speaker system along the inside of the screen hinges which have been specifically designed for easy opening.
Users can find the PCI Express card slot, IEEE 1394 connector, two USB 2.0 ports, VGA (D-Sub) port, Ethernet port, and AC power jack at the left side of the unit, while a security keyhole, Modem (RJ-11) port, Slot-in optical drive, S-Video out, a USB port, microphone jack, and Headphone / SPDIF jack can be found on the right side of the Y510. There is also a built-in array microphone, system status indicators, wireless device switch, a multimedia card reader (MMC, MS, MS Pro, SD, and xD card), and an IR port (for use with a Lenovo remote control) located in front of the unit.
Opening the lid reveals a 15.4-inch WXGA display with frameless screen and an integrated 1.3 Mega Pixel camera for photos, videos, video conferencing, and for ‘security’ purposes (which we will discuss later). A battery capacity indicator is located on the unit’s spine, making it easy for a user to see just how much power is left.
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The system is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 (2.5GHz) processor, uses an Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics card, and has 2GB of RAM. The IdeaPad also comes with a 250GB hard drive (in two partitions), giving users the needed storage space for photos, videos, music, and other important files.
The IdeaPad comes pre-installed with Microsoft Vista Home Premium and comes with a 90-day subscription to Norton AntiVirus, as well as a 60-day Microsoft Office 2007 trial. Lenovo has also included a couple of programs to make computing as easy as possible. The CyberLink Power2Go programs can burn data straight to any CD or DVD drive, while the ShuttleCenter II functions like the Windows Media Center and can play movies, pictures, music, and videos.
Both the Lenovo EasyCapture and Lenovo VeriFace programs utilise the 1.3-megapixel camera of the Y510. The EasyCapture is a program that can be used to take photos and record videos for sharing via e-mail or online blog sites. Although quite gimmicky, the Lenovo VeriFace is still a worthy addition to the Y510. All users have to do is to register their ‘face’ and the next time you log into Windows the Veriface software will automatically log you in to your account. This software also takes a photo of ‘intruders’ trying to gain access to your notebook by automatically taking a photo of the ‘Stranger’ and saving it to your computer’s hard drive.
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Found on the left side (above the keyboard) are three touch-sensitive buttons that automatically puts the system on mute, launches any pre-defined program, and adjusts the computer audio. There are also five touch-sensitive buttons used for multimedia (play/pause, stop, previous track, and next track) and four buttons for the unit’s pre-set Equaliser (Jazz, Pop, Dance, Classical, and Normal). These two sets are ‘divided’ by a small multimedia button (that looks like a sync button) that lights up a set of buttons at a time.
If something goes terribly wrong and users have to restore the notebook to its previous working state, all they have to do is to press the Novo button to recover the OS. This button also functions as a toggle for adjusting the power schemes when the EnergyCut software is installed, which extends your battery life when the unit is set to Quiet mode.
Lenovo promises up to 195 minutes of battery life, but expect it to be significantly lower if you are going to use the notebook to watch movies, play audio files, or use the optical drive excessively.
Despite being on the heavy side (2.96kg), Lenovo’s IdeaPad Y510 is a notebook that can handle home or office work and can help you unwind at the end of the way with its powerful specifications and multimedia functions. Starting at just $1,499, the Lenovo Y510 is definitely light years ahead of some notebooks and is a product well-worth recommending.
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo processor T9300
CPU Speed: 2.50 GHz
Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium
Hard Drive: 250GB 5400 rpm Serial ATA
Memory: 2GB DDR RAM (2 x 1GB) 667 MHz (can support up to 4GB)
Display: 15.4-inch widescreen WXGA LCD (1280 x 800)
Video Graphics: nVidia GeForce 8600M GS 256MB DDR2 VRAM with Turbo cache up to 512MB
Optical Drive: Dual Layer CD/DVD Recordable
Audio: 4 speaker, 1 sub-woofer Dolby Home Theatre (2x 2 Watt speaker with chamber, 2x 1 Watt secondary speakers and 1x 2.5 Watt Sub Woofer).
Integrated Communications: Modem, 10/100 Ethernet, Intel PRO/Wireless 3945AGN, Bluetooth
Expansions: 3 x USB 2.0, IEEE 1394, VGA, S-Video, 6-in-1 card reader (SD/SD Pro,
MS/MS Pro, MMC, XD), Express Card, microphone jack, headphone jack
Included Software: Lenovo One Key Recovery, Lenovo Shuttle Centre, Energy Cut 2.1, Cyberlink Power2Go, Norton Anti-virus (90 day Trial), Veriface 2.0, Easy Capture 2.5, Microsoft Office (60 Day Trial)
Weight: 2.96kg (system only)
Dimensions: 360mm x 262mm x 36.2mm
Battery Life: 3 hours and 15 mins
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510 | From $1,499 to $2,399 | | www.lenovo.com/au
For: Build; 15.4-inch Widescreen; Touch-sensitive keys; Notable audio quality; Easy-to-use programs; Innovative features; Price point
Against: ‘Heavy’ for some; Screen not that bright
Verdict: A computer with a chockfull of fresh ideas