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Summary:

The IdeaPad Y460 is a 14.1-inch notebook that is very thin and mobile. You don’t think of mobile in the 14-inch size, but this notebook fits the description. The unit is not much bigger than the screen, and weighs roughly the same as a 13-inch MacBook.

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Lenovo was once a company known strictly for enterprise-class notebooks, notably the ThinkPad line it acquired from IBM a few years back. That line has continued to remain a successful product for the company, and the newer IdeaPad line has turned into a good consumer line of notebooks. Most recently Lenovo has blurred the enterprise/ consumer distinction with the ThinkPad Edge line, but the IdeaPad is aimed directly at the mainstream consumer. I have reviewed several models from this line of notebooks, including this review of the Y460. It is clear Lenovo is getting better with each iteration of consumer notebooks it produces.

The IdeaPad Y460 is a 14.1-inch notebook that is very thin and highly mobile. Normally you don’t think of mobile in the 14-inch size, but this notebook definitely fits the description. The unit is not much bigger than the screen which keeps the size to a bare minimum, and weighs only slightly more than a 13-inch MacBook. A few special features helps make the Y460 a mobile workhorse, and powerful enough to be a full desktop replacement.

The model provided by Lenovo for review has a healthy configuration, and retails for $1,049.

  • CPU: Intel Core i5,  2.4 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB
  • Storage: 500GB
  • Display: 14.1-inch (glossy), 1366×768 resolution
  • Graphics: ATI Radeon HD5650 (1 GB) + Intel GMA (user switchable)
  • Camera: low-light capable, 2 megapixel
  • Optical drive: DVD recordable
  • Battery: 6-cell
  • Communications: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Ports: 3-USB 2.0, VGA out, HDMI, USB/eSATA, ExpressCard, LAN, multi-format card reader slot, audio in/out combo jack
  • OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • Dimensions: 0.75 x 13.6 x 9.3 inches; 5.1 lbs.

The Y460 has a keyboard with standard keys, not those of the chiclet variety. The result is a keyboard that is much better than those of the ThinkPad Edge line. I like the chiclet keys of the Edge models, but this keyboard is simply wonderful to use for extended periods. I find I can type on this model as fast as possible, with few errors. I also like that the Delete/Home/End/PgUp/Dn keys are on a vertical row to the right of the Enter key.

The trackpad on the Y460 is a large one, although not excessively so. It does do multitouch, so if you prefer that you’re not left out. The two mouse buttons are big and responsive. While I have experienced problems with some IdeaPad trackpads in the past, I like this one.

The display of the Y460 is both a strength of the notebook and a source of great aggravation. The dual graphics system is comprised of the ATI Radeon HD5650 (dedicated graphics) and Intel GMA integrated graphics. This is similar to high-end notebooks such as the MacBook line, and is a wonderful solution. The Y460 handles graphics with good performance due to the Radeon, yet can offer longer battery life with the typical Intel solution. The user can manually switch between the two on the fly, depending on whether video performance or battery life is more important. It works very well, and I like the inclusion of this method on a relatively low-priced notebook.

The not so good side of this display is the glossy screen that Lenovo has used for the Y460. Normally I like glossy screens fine, although I know many absolutely hate them. That group will surely detest this screen as it is so glossy it even bothers me. It’s a shame as this is one of most vivid, bright displays on any Lenovo notebook. It seems to reflect even in lower lighted conditions, which means most of the time. It wouldn’t be enough to keep me from getting one of these, but only because I am fairly tolerant of glossy screens.

I have been using this notebook for a few days and overall I really like it. The combination of the good keyboard and large screen keeps me picking it up when I need to get some work done, over all others in Mobile Tech Manor. I like how thin and small it is while not sacrificing anything in usability. I was delighted today to discover it will even fit in my old Booq backpack, a first for a 14-inch laptop.

The 6-cell battery provided has yielded 4 – 4.5 hours on a charge with typical power management. This is not spectacular but fairly standard for such a large notebook with decent performance. Lenovo does not include the same power management found on the ThinkPad and ThinkPad Edge lines on this IdeaPad, and I really miss that.

Lenovo has done a good job with this IdeaPad notebook; this one is definitely improved over the first models I reviewed last year. It is solidly constructed and attractive, while remaining reasonably priced.

 

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Are You Empowering Your Mobile Work Force?

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