Lenovo's IdeaPad Y560D 3D Laptop Reviewed - HotHardware

Lenovo's IdeaPad Y560D 3D Laptop Reviewed

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The Lenovo Y560D from both angles, with the shipping 3D glasses ever-so-artfully placed in front. The tribal design sets the Y560D apart from the Y560 standard decoration. Lenovo thoughtfully includes a set of clip-on 3D lenses for those of us who wear glasses. While they don't exactly do anything for one's coolness factor,  using them beats trying to squint through two separate pairs of  lenses.  

From this angle it's possible to see the webcam, trackpad, and button layout. The button on the far left controls system power, the three buttons to the right turn audio up, down, or mute it altogether. This angle makes the Y560D's lid seem out-of-proportion to its bottom, but that's not something we observed when using the laptop.

From the top down we've got the power button on the left, status bar across the top (flanked by two JBL speakers) and the audio control buttons on the far right. The two upper buttons control the laptop's power scheme and LCD settings. Lenovo's own power management utility doesn't seem to offer much in the way of additional features that Windows 7 doesn't include, but it does allow you to enable / disable an auto-brightness feature that the company claims improves battery life. In practice, however, we found the light meter overly sensitive and prone to lowering the screen brightness if the monitor was even slightly bent towards the closed position. We found it more effective to adjust the brightness level via keyboard.

The front and back of the system are nondescript, the only front-mounted port is the 6-in-1 card reader. There is a small switch on the front of the chassis, but its only purpose is to switch between hybrid graphics solutions on notebooks that support the feature. The Y560D doesn't use any form of hybrid GPU, so it's a useless toggle.

Here's the edge view from the left and right (top and bottom images respectively). On the left we've got 15-pin VGA out, HDMI out, the ethernet jack, two USB2 ports and a brace of audio jacks. On the right side there's the laptop's DVD drive, two additional USB ports, an Express Card slot, and the power connection. There's only one flaw in the Y560D's port design. The power jack is close enough to the DVD drive that it interferes with the drive's ability to open and close if the cord is even slightly curved toward the drive. This can be avoided by running the cord around the back of the unit, but you lose a few inches of cord length when doing so.

Those of you who are paying attention will note that the "DVD" drive in the image above is actually a Blu-ray drive; the Blu-ray logo is clearly visible at the far left. Please note, however, that none of the notebooks in the "Y" series offer Blu-ray standard, the Y560D is the only laptop to use this particular case design, and as we've discussed, Lenovo doesn't offer hardware upgrades to its IdeaPad series. In this case, we're downright surprised by the omission; it's logical to think there'd be some overlap between customers interested in Blu-ray and those interested in purchasing 3D movies down the road. Sony has made much of the PS3's ability to play 3D Blu-ray films and there are a number of Blu-ray / 3D titles for sale at Amazon as well.

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This is not too impressive when you consider the crappy battery life and the lack of options for it.

Then, there's that stellar price point,.............

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Almost every new laptop shipping with an i7 quadcore has the i7 740QM and not the old i7 720QM.

If anyone is going to leap onto the 3D bandwagon then I'd suggest a Full HD display instead of the plain vanilla HD.

As with all mobil devices I look into I'm very interested in the wireless offering.

Here I'm pleased that it's an Intel Advanced N 6200 but they could have gone a step further with the WiMAX Advanced N 6250 or the 3 antena Intel Ultimate N 6300.These cards would cost Lenovo very little to have included one of them insted of the 6200.

The DDR3 should have been 1333.

The 5400rpm HDD isn't the deal breaker,it's mainly the resolution,memory speed and the wireless.

Oh,a GPU with DDR3 these days is also a letdown.

No USB 3.0 ports,yikes.

How about HDMI 1.4?

Average sound card is inside.

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I've got to emphatically disagree with regard to the hard drive. DDR1333 vs DDR31066 might buy you 1-2 percent worth of performance. The speed difference between a 5400 RPM and 7200 RPM drive is substantially greater, and impacts every boot, application load time, and system responsiveness.

Consumer desktop applications and workstation workloads are both latency-sensitive, not bandwidth-sensitive. Now that both AMD and Intel use onboard memory controllers, memory latency is less important (because controller latency is so good). To give you an idea--moving to an IMC knocked anywhere from 50-70ns off modern processor memory latencies. The difference between high-end, low-latency RAM and low-end, high-latency RAM might be less than 10ns these days.

The use of large L3 caches has also reduced the impact of RAM latency by introducing another layer of cache data. In short, virtually nothing needs the bandwidth--and there's very little benefit to latency shifts, either.

I agree that on a $1300 laptop released in July, at least one USB 3.0 port should've been present. Also, no laptop with anything less than a high-density 9-cell battery should be using a quad core / octal threaded CPU. Just my opinion of course.

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I agree with you! 

I saw many things wrong with this review...firstly, these days I'd never buy an i5 for gaming in a laptop.  Core i7 is in all of the great gaming notebooks, and that should be the standard.  Please stop recommending i5's for a gaming machine.

Speaking of standard, Im surprised the reviewers accepted the low resolution screen.  1366x768 is awful for gaming...what is this, 2007?  Full HD should be standard, if not 1680x1050 as a bare minimum.  Accept no substitutes.

DDR RAM should be 1333, especially with an i7, and it should be true triple channel...not the hobbled dual channels that pop up every now and then. 

Hard drives should be 7200rpm minimum in a gaming laptop, no questions asked.  IBM loses big points for including a 5400 drive.

Sound card is average...but the screen size is below average.  15.6?  I wouldnt knock points off for it because some people like having a tiny screen, but for a gaming laptop, id want a 17" or 18.4 inch screen. 

If I am going to game, I want it to be as close to a desktop replacement as possible.  If I wanted a thin/light/long batt life laptop, I'd buy one, but I'd never use something like that for gaming...and just the same, I'd never buy a gaming laptop without FULL HD, a 7200RPM hard drive (or ssd), an i7, awesome video card and a ton of ram. Otherwise...It's akin to driving a Wonder Bread truck in an offroad race...it's just not made for it.

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First off, this isn't a gaming laptop. It's a 3D laptop.

2.  If you think Core i7 should be a default chip just because OEMs are selling them in gaming notebooks, you're Dell's favorite kind of customer--you buy brands and pay huge premiums when it actually makes no sense to do so. The only difference between the Mobile i7s (assuming you want a fast core rather than a slow quad) and mobile i5's is 1MB of L3. That's it. Does that matter? I'm sure it does, a little. Is a 5% performance increase worth a $100-$200 processor premium? Not in my book.

3.  I already covered why RAM clock rate *and* bandwidth aren't a big deal. If they were, you wouldn't see higher-end desktop Core i5's keeping pace with Core i7s (assuming two chips with an equal number of cores and HT enabled. The question isn't whether or not the Core i7s are slightly faster, it's whether or not it's worth it to pay a Core i7 premium for a small performance gain.

4.  There's nothing to "accept" given the screen resolution. This isn't a gaming laptop. We tested the screen that was in the laptop--which happens to be the only screen *available.*

5.  This is not a gaming laptop. Would I prefer a larger screen? Sure. But that doesn't mean everyone would, and that doesn't mean everyone would want to pay the premium.

6.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts on a gaming laptop. This is not a gaming laptop. This is a 3D multimedia laptop that happens to perform well in gaming tests thanks to a low resolution screen.

And one more time, just to make sure there's no confusion--this is not a gaming laptop or a DTR.

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To be a bit clearer why the 5400rpm HDD is not a deal breaker for me.

The HDD no matter what the speed is would quickly be replaced by an SSD and then used for storage in an external box. 

Can never have too much storage.

I have OCZ Vertex 2 SSDs in both my LG X140 netbook and Asus G51Jx(1920x1080 120hz)notebook

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The mixed review is not a failing of the laptop itself, but of the 3D technology.

I was at Costco earlier this week and they had a 46" 3DTV setup with 3D goggles setup right in front, about 3.5 feet away. It looked pretty cool peering through the googles. But if you move to one side, or over 5 feet away from the TV, the effect reduces substantially. 

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It's not just the 3D. Quite frankly, I'm astonished at the components Lenovo chose; it's an absolutely crystal clear example of a company opting for high-margin hardware over what would give a customer the best experience/optimize mobile flexibility. 

The reason I'm willing to take such a hard stand here is the complete and total lack of options. Forced to evaluate this laptop strictly as-is, I wouldn't buy it for myself and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else. There are better options, some of which are in the Lenovo Y560 (no D) family.

I don't know how prices compare to Dell, HP, etc, but the Lenovo Y560-064659U (first system from the left if you visit the Y560 page) has all the specs of the Y560D in terms of RAM, HDD, video card, and LCD, offers a power-efficient i3-370M, and keeps the Radeon 5730 with 1GB of dedicated RAM for $899. That's a system powerful enough to do some reasonable gaming on, and it'll offer much better battery life than a 45nm quad-core with HT.

Assuming the price compares well against the other OEMs, that's the Lenovo I'd recommend--especially for the speakers.

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Thanks Joel. I read your above responses and understand your criticism of the laptop. I agree, the benefits of the 3D technology aren't significant enough for the consumer to overlook the other shortcomings of the laptop at its price point. 

Lenovo has been restrictive of options allowed on their IdeaPad laptops, but you would think anyone willing to dish out extra ~$400 for this technology would be the kind of consumer who would appreciate flexibility in configurations. The lack of USB 3.0, Blu-Ray and the absolutely woeful battery life are big negatives, a 9-cell battery life option would have remedied the later. 

When Toshiba first rolled out the WiDi tech, they did it in such a way so as not to compromise the rest of the laptop. The Satellite E205 laptop even without the WiDi was a decent deal for its price. 

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Near as I can tell, Lenovo is trying to persuade buyers who want flexible options into buying Thinkpads. It's a baffling move--it's not as if notebook manufacturers don't already limit customization options on various systems. Even boutique builders don't typically make *every* option available on every system. It's also not uncommon to need to order by phone, or accept a longer-than-standard delivery window.

Since Lenovo doesn't claim this streamlining improves IdeaPad delivery or offers next-day-shipping advantages...I'm at a loss as to the reason.

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