Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 - An Affordable AND Powerful Gaming Notebook?

Launch SRP: S$1999

Multimedia Aspects

Multimedia Aspects



 

Display

The Y500 is fitted with a glossy 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 full HD screen. While it is running a Windows 8 OS, unfortunately, it's not a touch screen. The display is bright with good color reproduction, high contrast and decent viewing angles, although it is quite reflective, which can be annoying while gaming or watching a movie.

The Y500 display is sharp and bright, but the glossy screen results in some unwanted reflections.

There is also some noticeable backlight bleed around the edges of the screen when viewing dark scenes.

There's a fair bit of backlight bleed noticeable towards the edges of the Y500's display.

While most gaming notebooks use a 17.3-inch display, we didn't have any problems with the Y500's 15.6-inch screen and, thanks to its full HD resolution, there was sufficient screen real estate for displaying in-game information.

 

Audio

Like many Lenovo notebooks, audio is provided by JBL. Overall sound quality is passable, but not particularly impressive, getting by mostly on ample amounts of volume and a reasonable level of bass thanks to a small built-in subwoofer.

Audio by JBL has lots of volume. It's not anything spectacular, but it's decent as far as quality is concerned.

Flip the Y500 over and you'll find its small built-in subwoofer. It's probably not much more than a separate speaker taking care of the low frequency, but it helps a bit.

 

Swapping Out The Optical Drive

Swapping out the optical drive on the Y500 is fairly easy but requires you to turn off the machine and remove the battery. Beneath the battery, a lock mechanism and a catch on the base of the notebook let you pull out the optical drive and insert the GPU module. 

A lock in the battery compartment and a pull catch below it let you remove the optical drive.

An asymmetric design on all of the swappable drives ensures that you don't try to force them in the wrong way.

Incidentally, even if you leave the lock in the battery compartment in the 'unlocked' position, the drive will still stay locked in place until you first remove the battery. 

For SLI gaming you'll also need to switch to a larger power brick (also bundled in with the Y500 package) as the original brick doesn't have enough juice to power the second GPU module. Obviously, this also means that SLI gaming on battery is impossible. We expect most users will simply use the larger power brick all the time, as the size and weight difference between the two is not significantly different.

The Y500 comes supplied with two power bricks. The larger one is required for SLI gaming.

 

Ports and Connectivity

The Y500 has a fairly comprehensive array of ports:

On the right of the machine you'll find one powered USB 2.0 port, plus the microphone and headphone ports.This USB port is probably intended for your mouse.

On the left of the machine, you'll find a VGA port, RJ-45 Ethernet port, HDMI port and two USB 3.0 ports.

The front left of the machine has a 6-in-1 card reader, as well as some LED activity lights.

8.5
Design
7.5
Features
9
Performance
9
Value
9.5
Mobility
7.5
The Good
Adding swappable second GPU module offers GTX 675M level performance
Fantastic value
Good battery life
Decent audio with built-in subwoofer
The Bad
Trackpad feels cheap
Some backlight bleed
Keyboard a bit mushy
Swapping of GPU module is necessary to balance battery life vs. gaming performance
Awards:
Best Valued for MoneyMost Innovative Product