Like an assassin in a business suit, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p has a sleek, almost professional look that hides powerful gaming hardware within. Lenovo’s gaming laptops have always been something of a contradiction, pushing beyond the company’s well-known business and consumer laptops to encompass the sort of high-powered, flashy looking designs gamers demand. Whatever you think about the looks, the IdeaPad Y510p is a powerful gaming laptop with plenty of potential on and off the gaming grid.
The IdeaPad Y510p’s design is almost conservative, with black brushed metal covering the lid and palmrest, and only a few bright red accents on the speaker grills and around the edges of the keys giving away the fact that this powerful laptop his more thrills in store than the standard business system. It starts with the display, which has a 15.6-inch screen boasting 1920 by 1080 resolution. The display is bright and clear, with a matte finish to prevent glare. During both gaming and video viewing tests, the IdeaPad Y510′s display was clear, without blurring or color shifting, whether I was watching YouTube videos about sharks or playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. In addition to the display, the IdeaPad Y510p is equipped with JBL Speakers, with Dolby Home Theater v4 further enhancing the sound.
The keyboard is visually engaging, with black keys ringed in red and backlit for an aggressive look, day or night. The AccuType chiclet keyboard has ever-so-slightly sculpted keycaps, and the sides of each keycap are bright red, casting a wicked glow whenever the backlight is engaged. The touchpad below is actually a clickpad, which isn’t the best option for a gaming machine—with the buttons integrated into the clickable touch sensor, you may find your attempts to use the touchpad in-game to be frustrating.
The IdeaPad Y510p is also fairly slim for a gaming laptop, measuring 1.41 by 15.23 by 10.19 inches (HWD) and weighing only 5.95 pounds. While it’s not as slim as the ultraportable Razer Blade (2013), it’s still a good deal thinner than most chunky gaming rigs.
The IdeaPad Y510p also features Ultrabay, a modular expansion system in which the optical drive is replaced with a bay can be equipped with one of four modular upgrades: a DVD drive, a second hard drive, a cooling fan, or (as seen in our review unit) a second graphics card.
Alongside the Ultrabay is a lock slot, one always-on USB 2.0 port, and jacks for headphone and microphone. On the left you’ll find a Gigabit Ethernet port, Lenovo’s OneKey recovery button, VGA and HDMI outputs, and two USB 3.0 ports. On the front edge of the laptop chassis is a 6-in-1 card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MS, MS-Pro), and inside is an Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 for 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless networking and peripheral connectivity.
The IdeaPad Y510 also boasts a 1TB hard drive and 24GB solid-state cache, providing storage space for your game library and media collection, but still offering the fast boot times and nimble responsiveness of a solid-state drive. Our review unit had no optical drive, but there is a DVD-drive option for the Ultrabay slot.
The one drawback of buying a gaming rig from a major retailer is the amount of trialware and bloatware that comes preinstalled on it. Lenovo throws in several preinstalled apps and programs, with a 30-day trial of McAfee Internet Security, a 30-day trial of Microsoft Office 365, along with Amazon Kindle Reader, Rara Music, Evernote, Skype, and Lenovo Cloud Storage (with SugarSync). Lenovo covers the IdeaPad Y510p with a one-year warranty.
The IdeaPad Y510 uses the same 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-4702MQ quad-core processor found in the MSI GE40 2OC-009US, but pairs it with 16GB of RAM instead of the 8GB MSI offered. It offers solid performance for non-gaming tasks, completing PCMark 7 with 4,898 points and completing Photoshop in a respectable 4 minutes 43 seconds. But despite the similarities in hardware and the larger allocation of RAM, the IdeaPad Y510p actually lags a bit behind the MSI GE40 2OC-009US, which scored better in PCMark 7 (5,339 points) and was faster in Photoshop (4:01).
But while raw performance has some importance, gaming capability reigns supreme, and there the IdeaPad Y510p does quite well, thanks in large part to its dual graphics cards. With one Nvidia GeForce GT 750M installed inside the chassis and a second added with the Ultrabay, the Lenovo cranked through Aliens vs. Predator with an impressive 99 frames per second (fps) at medium detail settings and 1,366-by-768 resolution, dropping to a still playable 38 fps when resolution was dialed up to 1,920-by-1,080. In our other gaming test, Heaven, it scored 74 fps at medium settings, and kept just above the playable threshold with 31 fps at 1080p.
The Lenovo does, however, share the same Achille’s Heel of the all gaming laptops—battery life is pretty short. In our battery rundown test, the IdeaPad Y510p lasted only 2 hours 21 minutes with its 6-cell, 62Wh battery. While this isn’t terrible for a gaming rig—the previous Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 came in with a similar battery life of 2:46—other systems are pushing the endurance envelope with longer life. For example, the MSI GX60 1AC-021US (3:51) lasted a full hour and a half longer, while the built-for-portability Razer Blade (2013) set a very high bar (6:52) that few systems can match.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p suffers from being a very good gaming laptop in a crowded category where it is not the very best. Despite this, it’s a well-built gaming rig, and it will play even demanding high-end games without so much as a stutter. While the Editors’ Choice MSI GX60 1AC-021US remains our top pick due to its longer battery life and affordability, the IdeaPad Y510p is a good machine, and worth looking at if you want gaming prowess combined with Lenovo’s reliability.
|Processor Name||Intel Core i7-4702MQ|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 8|
|Graphics Card||Nvidia GeForce GT 750M|
|2nd Graphics Card||Nvidia GeForce GT 750M|
|Processor Speed||2.2 GHz|
|Primary Optical Drive||External|
|Screen Size||15.6 inches|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||1024 GB|
|Storage Type||HDD, SSD|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc