Reviewed July 20, 2011 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
Lenovo designed the IdeaPad Y series notebooks as multimedia powerhouses, which means they can handle movie playback, video streaming and serious gaming. These notebooks come with premium audio packages, good thermal management and offer dedicated graphics at reasonable prices. The new Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 updates the processor to Intel second gen Sandy Bridge CPUs, NVIDIA GeForce 550M graphics, an optical drive with Blu-ray Disc option, stereo JBL speakers with SRS Premium Surround sound and optional USB 3.0. At the top of the line, you can get it with an Intel Core i7-2630QM CPU, 750GB hard drive and a 64GB SSD RapidBoot disk. The system has WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth and a 2 megapixel webcam.
We look at one of the most balanced configurations in the Y570 series that has plenty of power yet keeps the price reasonable, the 0862 24U model, with Intel Core i5-2410M CPU running at 2.30GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce 550M discrete graphics switchable with Intel HD Graphics 3000, for $850. The IdeaPad Y570 runs productivity tasks smoothly, plays movies at optimum speeds and plays FPS games like Battlefield Bad Company 2, Wolfenstein and Mass Effect 2 at very good frame rates.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 scores the latest new design from Lenovo: an embossed cover that looks hip in a Sci-Fi sort of way, with a purple-ish metallic interior that’s popular among recent Lenovo IdeaPad notebooks. The 15.6” screen is glossy and has decent viewing angles, and the max native resolution is 1366 x 768 in 16:9 ratio. For a 15.6” display, we wish the screen resolution were a little higher. The Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 has excellent audio with JBL stereo speakers that sound super loud and incredibly full for notebook speakers. They provide immersive sound for video playback, music and gaming.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 has a standard keyboard with 6 rows of chiclet style keys. The keyboard is spacious but the keys themselves aren’t very big. Key travel is good and tactile feedback is decent, but the typing experience on the IdeaPad Y570 can’t compete with the excellent typing on the Lenovo ThinkPad line.
The IdeaPad Y570 has a spacious wrist rest area and a large touchpad with touch slider support. The touchpad is off center to the left a bit, matching the center of the Space bar. A mouse button rocker lives just below the touchpad. The Lenovo has plenty of LED lights above the keyboard indicating audio settings, display modes, cap lock and hard disk status. The system weight is about 6 pounds.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 has a good number of ports including 3 USB 2.0 ports with an optional 3.0 upgrade, a USB/eSata combo port, 6-in-1 SD card reader (SD, SD-pro, MMC, MS, MS-pro and XD), headphone jack, mic jack, VGA monitor connector, HDMI, RJ-45 Ethernet port and a 2xMini-PCIe slot under a small cover. The 6-cell battery goes on the back of the laptop, and the RAM and hard drive are under a large screwed-on cover on the bottom. The Y570-0862 24U model comes with 4GB RAM, so you can add another 4GB DDR3 SODIMM in the second open slot. The system can address 8 gigs of RAM.
Deals and Shopping:
Playing FPS games on the Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 is a joy. It handled most of the games we threw at it with relative ease. We’ve included a video of two of the games we tested with frame rate turned on in Fraps. The cut scenes in Battlefield Bad Company 2 played at 30 fps and above, and gameplay ran at 35 fps to 60 fps at peak. Wolfenstein cut scenes and gameplay ran at 60 fps throughout the game. We’ve also included the settings we used with these games for our testing and videos. We ran the games at the max display resolution for the Lenovo, which is 1366 x 768, and let the games select the appropriate graphics detail levels.
We also hooked up the notebook with an HD TV and played Battlefield Bad Company 2 in 1920 x 1080 60Hz. The game played at 25-35 fps. The system also runs cool. After over an hour of intensive gaming, the CPU temp reached 68 degrees Celsius and it never became overly warm to the touch. When watching movies and playing less intensive games, the system only reached 53 degrees.
Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 Gaming Video
Battlefield Bad Company 2 settings:
Resolution: 1360 x 768
Overall Quality Medium
Temperature after an hour gaming: 63 degrees Celsius
Resolution: 1360 x 768
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Refresh Rate: 60
Machine Performance: High
Shadow Quality: High
Post Process Quality: High
Detailed Maps: Enabled
Texture Filtering: Anisotropic (middle setting)
Hardware and Performance
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y570-0862 24U runs on a 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M dual core CPU with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 and 3MB cache. The system comes with a single 4GB DDR3 memory module, and it has two memory slots supporting up to 8GB memory. The IdeaPad has switchable graphics: Intel HD graphics 3000 and NVIDIA GeForce 550M dedicated graphics with 1GB memory. The IdeaPad Y570 comes with a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive, and you can opt for a 750GB drive. The IdeaPad Y570 comes with a standard DVD/CD combo and again, you can choose a higher model with Blu-ray and DVD combo drive for more money. The higher end IdeaPad Y570-0862 28U also comes with a 64GB SSD with RapidBoot technology in addition to a 750GB hard drive.
We put the Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 through PCmark Vantage and 3DMark Vantage tests as well as real life productivity tasks and gaming. The benchmark numbers along with Windows Experience Index numbers are below; we also provide PCMark Vantage numbers from the Lenovo IdeaPad Y560p with Intel Core i7-2630QM Sandy Bridge with four cores for comparison. For gaming, we recorded gameplay videos of 3D FPS games such as Battlefield Bad Company 2 and Wolfenstein with fps numbers turned on.
3DMark Vantage Cores:
3DMark Score: 4752
GPU Score: 4128
CPU Score: 8688
PCMark Suite: 7803
Memories Suite: 5153
TV and Movies Suite: 5500
Gaming Suite: 6879
Music Suite: 6827
Communications Suite: 6648
Productivity Suite: 5621
HDD Test Suite: 3674
Lenovo IdeaPad Y570
PCMark Suite: 6157
Memories Suite: 4510
TV and Movies Suite: 2704
Gaming Suite: 5342
Music Suite: 6366
Communications Suite: 5834
Productivity Suite: 4865
HDD Test Suite: 3579
The benchmark numbers are on par with other Sandy Bridge Intel Core i5 systems and the graphics score reflects the power. The Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 performed well in all productivity tasks including surfing the web, checking email, working on MS Office documents, working with MS Movie Maker, video conferencing and music playback. Movie playback and video streaming are solid as well. Hulu played at 25 fps in full screen mode, as did DVD and Netflix playback.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 ships with Windows 7 Home Premium and a suite of Lenovo system tools and utilities for system backup, using the webcam and more. Lenovo bundles CyberLink’s YouCam 3.0 software which functions as your regular video chat software as well as turning the webcam into a video surveillance recorder. There is also an ooVoo link if you want to use their video chat service. The system also comes with VeriFace 3.6 that lets you use your face as a login tool. Other tools from Lenovo include OneKey Rescue for system backups, recovery and recovery disc creation, Energy Management Software 5.0 and Lenovo OneKey Theater II audio-visual optimizer. CyberLink Power2Go 5 is included for making DVDs and MS Office Starter 2010 is also on the system. For security, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 comes with McAfee VirusScan Plus.
Lenovo takes fast boot times very seriously. The notebook times boot time and if you experienced a slow boot, it will offer you to do some tweaking with the Lenovo EE Boot Optimizer software onboard to optimize your boot time, though ironically the optimization takes quite a bit of time to finish the process, and you have to reboot your computer again for it to take effect. The process shaved off 10 seconds from boot up time in our test.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 comes with a 6-cell battery with claimed average usage time of 4 hours. We tested the battery in real life tasks such as running productivity software, movie streaming, DVD playing and gaming. The notebook lasted for 4:30 hours while surfing the web, working on MS documents, PDF and email. Streaming Hulu lasted 4:15 hours on a charge, and playing DVDs lasted 4:15 hours as well. Gaming uses up power faster, especially resource intensive FPS games. We got about 2:45 hours of FPS games on average. These tests were done under the Balanced setting in the Energy Management tool with screen brightness set to max level.
The power supply for the Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 is large brick world charger.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 comes in what Lenovo calls "Dusk Black" and it's a great higher-end college student laptop, and it will suit users who need plenty of multimedia and good gaming power. The system we tested costs $849 on Lenovo’s web site, and Lenovo sells the top of the line version with Core i7, Blu-ray drive, 750GB HDD/64GB SSD for $1249. The prices on different pre-build models are comparable to competing systems with similar specs from other manufacturers.
With the IdeaPad Y570, you get a good amount of power for your money, and a useful software bundle. The notebook has a new skin that looks unique and any gamer will love the copper heat sinks that you can see through the heat vent. The second gen Intel Core CPU has excellent performance in this system and does save some power when unplugged thanks to Intel HD3000 graphics. Minor issues we have with the IdeaPad Y570 include the keyboard, which could use better travel and the typical glare from the glossy display.
Display: 15.6” widescreen gloss TFT display, 1366 x 768 resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio. LED backlit. NVIDIA GeForce 550M graphics with 1GB dedicated graphics memory.
Battery: 6-cell 62Wh Lithium Ion battery. Power supply: 19.5V 6.15A, 100-240V.
Performance: Top model with Intel Core i7-2630QM at 2.00GHz, 6MB L3 cache, 1333 MHz FSB. 8GB PC3-8500 DDR3 1333MHz memory, 8 gigs max. Two main memory slots, both may be occupied. 750GB Serial-ATA drive, 7200rpm. 64GB SSD with RapidBoot Technology.
Size: 13.58 x 9.40 x 0.78/1.29 inches. Weight: starts at 5.95 pounds.
Drives: Tray-in RAMBO Drive in two options: DVD/CD Combo or Blu-ray/DVD combo.
Networking: 10/100/1000 Ethernet, WiFi 802.11a/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 + EDR, 2 megapixel webcam with built-in mic.
Ports and Slots: 3 USB 2.0 (USB 3.0 optional), 1 USB eSATA Combo,VGA, Display port, Ethernet RJ45, mic input and headphone combo port, multimedia reader and HDMI.
Audio: JBL Stereo speakers with SRS Premium Surround Sound
Software: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. Microsoft Office Starter 2010 included, also Windows Media Player and Microsoft Silverlight preinstalled. Lenovo ReadyComm 5.0, OneKey Rescue system 7.0, Energy Management Software 5.0, OneKey Theater II, Split screen application and IDEA Wallpaper tool, Lenovo DirectShare, and Windows Live Essentials, Adobe Reader 9.0. Cyberlink Power2Go 5, Cyberlink YouCam 3.0, VeriFace 3.6, McAfee VirusScan Plus.