Lenovo's IdeaPad Y560D 3D Laptop Reviewed

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Battery Life, Battery Bug



Lenovo claims the Y560D's battery is good for "up to 3.5 hours." That's a modest claim in the face of the 5+ hours we've seen other manufacturers advertising; we initially hoped Lenovo had chosen to trim the fat off false claims to provide a more realistic number.



We weren't expecting much—the quad-core, Hyper-Threaded 45nm Core i7 inside the Y560D guarantees its battery life won't be ideal—but we didn't anticipate results quite this low. The Y560D shut down at 56 minutes when tested in Balanced mode and just 81 minutes in Super Power Saver. Surprised by such low results, we experimented with various settings, only adjusted power through Lenovo's utility, and ran the battery through a full discharge/recharge cycle. We even did a playthrough test with Half Life 2, after first disabling the wireless and Bluetooth adapters.

This raises the question of how much battery life we should reasonably expect from a modern notebook. If the Y560D was positioned as a desktop replacement (DTR), we'd expect such a short battery life. Lenovo's advertising copy clearly emphasizes the notebook's multimedia capabilities, stating: "We raised the bar for multimedia laptops with this one. Bring your entertainment to life with a theatre-quality laptop with 3D technology and cool 3D glasses. Thanks to TriDef 3D technology, entertainment laptops are entering a whole new dimension."

The laptop's stated focus makes it fair, in our opinion, to expect 90-120 minutes of battery life while playing video, basically enough time to watch a single movie. We loaded and looped a 720P H.264-encoded file with the laptop set for Balanced Performance. Our results in this test (as well as in Battery Eater Pro and while playing Half Life 2) are graphed below.


The Y560D fared better here; its 1hr 40m run-time is barely within the margin of what we consider acceptable. Again, the non-upgradeable nature of the Y560D doesn't help. Even if a 9-cell battery wasn't viable, high-density 6-cell batteries are rated as high as 67Wh compared to the Y560D's 57Wh. Surprisingly, there are no third-party batteries available for this system—if you want another battery, Lenovo is the only place to buy one.

Plugged In, Not Charging:

We had one battery-related problem pop up on four separate occasions. Every so often, the laptop would report that the laptop was "Plugged in, not charging" when the battery level was below 100%. Using the system on AC power doesn't drain the battery, but neither rebooting nor simply removing/reinserting the battery solves anything.

We Googled the phrase and found reports of this problem going back to Windows Vista. The solution is to swap between battery and AC power in a specific sequence while also rebooting the laptop and deleting the battery from the Windows Device Manager. Microsoft, as far as we can tell, has never published an official fix.

This periodic malfunction is not unique to Lenovo and is apparently caused by an unknown low-level software conflict that's common enough to be notable but not frequent enough to spur anyone to find a permanent solution.

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