The Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p is a jack of all trades. Configure it one way and it's a powerful gaming laptop, configure it another way and it's a high-end multimedia performer. But heavy weight and short battery life make it a poor fit for life on the road.
It can do it all. For serious gaming, heavy video and photo editing, and Blu-ray movie watching, the Y510p never breaks a sweat, though you'll need to configure the laptop for how you intend to use it. Gamers will be best served with a version with dual Nvidia GeForce GT750M graphics (Est. $1,200 and up). That configuration holds its own at Laptop Magazine. It blazes through "World of Warcraft" on Ultra settings, although testers have to dial down the graphics on "Bioshock Infinite." Movie lovers might be better served by a configuration with a Blu-ray Drive and a single Nvidia GeForce GT750M GPU (Est. $1,050 and up). Battery life is short, though, despite the power-sipping Haswell Core i7 chip. Laptop testers eke out just over three hours of Wi-Fi web surfing.
Swappable UltraBay. It's chunkier than most laptops these days, but the 6-pound, 1.4-inch-thick Y510p packs some features you won't find on thinner models. Chief among them is the very versatile UltraBay, a swappable drive that lets you configure the Y510p any way you want. The base model comes with a DVD burner, but step-up configurations come with the aforementioned Blu-ray Disc drive, or a second graphics card is available. Other UltraBay options include a second hard drive or an extra cooling fan, though we had trouble tracking down availability of those. There's a typically great red-backlit Lenovo keyboard and full-size multi-touch clickpad, but the lack of a touch screen disappoints reviewers.
Outstanding HD screen, speakers. The Lenovo Y510p looks pretty plain on the outside, critics say, with just an unadorned black brushed-aluminum lid and matching plastic bottom. Inside, however, the keyboard's keys add flair with red sides and red backlighting. While the base model gets a lower-res 15.6-inch display that's 1,366 by 768 pixels, the step-up version tested by experts has a 1080p HD screen that's bright, crisp and vivid, with nice wide viewing angles. It's glossy but controls glare quite well, and the JBL speakers are loud and clear, testers say.
Well made, but support is a concern. The quality of the company's tech support took a major hit in this year's Laptop Magazine survey. "Whether we were waiting on hold, getting the runaround from one department to another or having premium support pitched to us, it just wasn't a satisfactory experience," writes Cherlynn Low. The lack of live chat and a confusing website don't help. Response on Twitter is generally fast, however. On the other hand, most professional sources describe the Lenovo as "sturdy" and "rock-solid." "Exemplary build quality," raves ComputerShopper.com. Lenovo always ranks as one of the most reliable laptop brands in PCMag.com's annual reader survey.
A solid value. The Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p packs lots of goodies -- including a full-HD screen, great speakers, comfy keyboard and rock-solid build -- at a very reasonable price. The trade-offs are bulk and battery life. If you need something more portable for multimedia use and other everyday computing, give a serious look to the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display (Est. $1,300) . It lacks a Blu-ray (or other optical drive), but it's cheaper yet more powerful than ever, and it packs the best display available today. Serious gamers looking for a lighter load might be happier with the svelte Razer Blade (Est. $1,800 and up) .
1. Laptop Magazine
Like the Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 before it, the Y510p is an Editors' Choice here. With its new CPU and GPU, it crushes previous benchmark and gaming scores. Plus, it still offers a full 1080p HD display for hundreds of dollars less than its rivals. Eitelbach calls it "a steal."
Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p Review, David Eitelbach, July 10, 2013
2. Notebook Check.net
Germany's NotebookCheck.net provides the most exhaustive review of the Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p, but it will be most appreciated by the very technically oriented. It earns a Good rating of 82 percent. Although Glaser notes some less-than-perfect details, he says, "all things considered, the IdeaPad Y510p is an interesting and recommendable multi-purpose notebook."
Review: Review Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p Notebook, Florian Glaser, July 21, 2013
3. Laptop Magazine
Lenovo's rating drops a full grade to C-plus in this tech-support test. The company's phone techs disappoint and the company website is hard to navigate. "Generally speaking, Lenovo's tech support continues to head in the wrong direction," Cherlynn Low writes.
Review: Lenovo Tech Support: 2013 Rating, Cherlynn Low, Oct. 21, 2013
PCMag.com surveys its readers to find out which laptop brands are the best and most reliable, then ranks them from best to worst. Lenovo gets outstanding reliability scores year after year and places third for both home and work laptops; Apple wins both categories.
Review: Readers' Choice Awards 2013 Winners: Laptops and Desktops, Ben Gottesman, Feb. 20, 2013
Roughly 50 owners review the Lenovo Y510p here so far. Most are happy, as indicated by the 4.4-star rating, but some complaints about quality control and Wi-Fi performance are seen.
Review: Customer Reviews for Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p, Contributors to Lenovo.com, As of November 2013