Lenovo's IdeaPad Y560D 3D Laptop Reviewed

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Conclusion

 
Performance Analysis:  The Lenovo Y560D performed well in all our benchmark tests. We were particularly pleased with its game performance—one of the only benefits of a low-resolution panel is the way they can potentially boost framerates by constraining the number of pixels on screen at any time. Since low-end GPUs tend to be memory bandwidth and compute constrained, lower resolutions translate directly into better graphics performance. In this case, we had sufficient headroom to enable AA and AF with completely playable framerates, an impressive feat for a laptop that's not aimed at gamers.

 

As soon as we factor in anything but raw performance, the Y560D starts sinking. It's weighted at the bow by a 3D panel that trades 2D image quality, maximum resolution, and at least $100 for unproven 3D capabilities that potentially interested buyers can scarcely utilize.

Also, unfortunately, the Y560D's lack of hardware configuration options doesn't help either.  First and foremost, we have to acknowledge the fact that our unit (and the review unit of at least one other publication) used a 7200 RPM HDD, not the 5400 RPM that ships standard with the model we tested. Besides that, there's the matter of the processor. A quad-core/octal-thread 45nm Core i7 chip is a great chip for a low-end mobile workstation but a questionable choice for a multimedia notebook whose customer base might want to use it during a long flight. A modest dual-core, a high-density battery, or both would have served much better.

Update, October 26, 2010: We were informed today that an error on the Lenovo website incorrectly listed the 5400RPM hard drive as the only option, when in fact the 0646-2NU model we tested does include a 7200RPM drive.

This leaves us in an odd position. We wouldn't recommend anyone but a 3D nut buy a Y560D, but there's a Y560-06465AU that swaps out the Core i7 for a modest Core i5-460M dual-core (thus addressing our battery life issue), uses a standard LCD panel, and comes with all the same specs, including the 5730 GPU, for $949 (a savings of $450). If you want a lower-power processor and a 7200 RPM drive, you'll have to buy a different laptop altogether—Lenovo doesn't offer a Y560 IdeaPad that marries those two options.

The problem we have with the Y560D is that it's a notebook with some unchangeable and unwisely chosen components inside a well-built shell. Thus, while we can't recommend this laptop, we would feel comfortable recommending other Lenovo Y560 products in general. We loved the Y560D's speakers, the keyboard is well-built and responsive and the trackpad was both sensitive and usefully textured without going overboard in either category.

  
  • Good keyboard / trackpad combo
  • Great gaming performance
  • Solid construction
  • JBL speakers impress
  • Glossy, low-resolution LCD
  • Power-hungry processor
  • Short battery life
  • No Blu-ray option in a 3D laptop


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