Lenovo Y50 Review

on Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Lenovo's Y series notebooks have been a long overlooked jewel in the gaming laptop landscape. Both the Y500 and Y510p laptops delivered a surprising amount of power and performance, with lovely 1080p displays and great audio for unbelievably affordable price points. However, a bulky frame and short battery life didn't make for a very portable device.
That brings us to the new Lenovo Y50 ($1,049; $1,249 as configured). The Y50 is thinner and lighter than previous versions, and comes with a host of new apps and features. Just be prepared to make some sacrifices for that sleek body.

Svelte is the name of the game for the new Y Series notebooks. I was blown away by the notebook's slim 5.4-pound, 15.23 x 10.37 x 0.9-inch frame. The IdeaPad Y510p is a much huskier 6.4 pounds, and 15.2 x 10.2 x 0.6~1.4 inches. But that new physique comes at the cost of the removable Ultrabay drive, which let users switch out the optical drive for a second graphics card or an additional fan.
The 5.2-pound, 14.9 x 9.6 x 1.1-inch Toshiba Satellite P50T is just a hair lighter than the Y50, but noticeably thicker. But neither system comes close to the MSI GS60 Ghost's 4.2-pound, 15.4 x 10.5 x 0.78-inch frame.
Aside from the dramatic slim-down, Lenovo employed a light touch on design, tweaking little details here and there. The lid is still made from black brushed aluminum, but instead of the usual staid vertical brush pattern, Lenovo used a crosshatch pattern that adds a subtle visual pop. A black, diamond-cut Lenovo emblem completes the understated look.

I'm a sucker for gadgets outfitted with a soft-touch finish, so I was thrilled to discover that Lenovo switched out the black aluminum keyboard deck in favor of the softer material. The top of the deck is made of shiny, black plastic that shows off the black-and-red speaker grilles on either side. Positioned next to the right speaker are the power and Lenovo OneKey Recovery buttons.
Long story short, the Y50 isn't the flashiest gaming notebook on the block, but it can still elicit a thrill or two with the right crowd.

When it comes to a gaming/multimedia rig, it's important that the display is bright and has excellent color reproduction. Sadly, the version of the Y50 we tested falls short on both accounts. The notebook's 15-inch, 1080p display averaged 208 nits, which is noticeably less than the 257-nit mainstream average. The P50t hit 229 nits, while the Ghost delivered a dazzling 299 nits.
While I could forgive the laptop's brightness (or lack thereof), the color reproduction simply cannot be overlooked. The Y50's 1080p panel is only able to display 56.4 percent of the sRGB color gamut. That's well short of the Ghost and the P50T, which hit 98 and 97 percent, respectively. The Lenovo also underperformed on the Delta-E test, which measures color accuracy. Its score of 13.6 (where numbers closer to 0 are better) left it well behind the P50T and GS Ghost, which notched 3.3 and 2.9, respectively.
When I watched the 1080p trailer for "Dracula: The Untold Story," colors failed to pop and details were weirdly fuzzy. The intricate design etched into a soldier's golden armor was hidden beneath the grainy presentation. The notebook fared better with exaggerated color schemes, but then again, so would most laptops. When I played the video game "The Wolf Among Us," the Y50 did well showing off the deep magentas and blacks, and I saw every worry line on Sheriff Bigby Wolf's brow as well as Bufkin's luxurious green fur.
The Y50's biggest crime against my eyes was the shallow viewing angles. The colors immediately inverted when we turned more than 45 degrees. Our advice: pay the extra 50 bucks for the configuration of the Y50 that sports a sharper Ultra HD panel (3840 x 2160 pixels).


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