The Ideapad Y470p is Lenovo’s latest offering in the sub-15” gaming laptop market. Though not shown at CES 2012 along with the rest of Lenovo’s new laptop lineup, the Y470p is in fact a new release for 2012. The Y470p is aimed at users who want a powerful, yet portable laptop. There are few models to compete against the Y470p as it is one of the few small laptops available that has the performance to stand up to the demands of heavy gamers. On top of that, it is relatively inexpensive for a gaming laptop, starting at $799 on Lenovo’s website.
The Y470p under review comes with the following specs:
- Processor: Intel Core i5-2450M (2.50GHz, 3MB cache)
- Graphics: AMD Radeon 7690M 1GB
- Memory: 6GB RAM
- Display: 14.0” 1366 x 768 resolution, glossy finish
- OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- Storage: 500GB HD 5400RPM
- Optical Drive: DVD Burner
- Battery: 6-cell Li-Ion
- Wireless: Intel 1000 BGN 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1
- Ports: HDMI, VGA out, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, one USB 2.0 / eSATA combo Ethernet (RJ-45),
- Dimensions: (WxDxH): 13.6″ x 9.4″ x 0.8″ to 1.3
- Weight: 4.85lbs
- Warranty: 1-year
Build and Design
Unlike the famous Thinkpad lineup of business laptops that Lenovo is known for, the Ideapad lineup is more mindful of having a contemporary styling. The Y470p is an attractive laptop to look at, with one feature immediately obvious being the orange trim around the lip of the laptop. Looking closely at the outer skin, users will notice that there is a subtle pattern etched into the lid of the Y470p; multiple dotted lines crisscross the lid, making many ninety degree turns over the entire area. Moving on from the modern styling of the laptop’s exterior, the interior falls back to a minimalistic approach, with only the keyboard, power button, and a recovery button to the right of the power button. Toward the bottom of the keyboard is a large trackpad with a (subtle) bumpy surface. The indicator lights are located at the edge of the laptop, near the trackpad; Lenovo made them dim enough not to bother most people in a dark room (as some laptops do). When the laptop is powered on, five additional buttons appear near the right speaker, indicated by dimples on the smooth metal surface; from left to right, they are: mute, volume up, volume down, a movie button, and a thermal management button. The movie button cycles between three display settings (where default is “Normal”, “Movie” [which saturates the colors on the display], and “Intelligent” [which will switch between the previous two depending on the user’s current activity]), while the thermal management button will switch between four: Standard, Super Silent, Efficient Thermal Dissipation, and Dedusting. While testing, there wasn’t any noticeable difference between the first three settings (though the Super Silent was a little bit quieter); the laptop hasn’t been used long enough to collect any measurable amount of dust to test the Dedusting function.
In contrast to the plastic construction that makes up the majority of the laptop’s body, the area around the keyboard is a metal skin with a slight purple tint, close to lavender. This might be hard to see with a camera, but in person the purple is easy to see. The keyboard is recessed into the laptop (making the keys level with the surface), the touchpad is flush with the metal finish as well. Overall, the Y470 has a clean, simple layout that appeals to those trying to avoid the clutter that some laptops have, especially near the keyboard.
One concern about the design is that the hinges that connect the lid to the main body seem to be somewhat loose. That is, it is very easy to move the lid back and forward, even if unwanted. Thankfully, the laptop will stay closed and won’t open accidently, but once open the hinges are at the mercy of bumps and rapid movements (say, if a user bumps their knee on the laptop). As for stress points, the only noticeable one is the part of the bezel between the hinges, a weak spot found in most notebooks and not just the Y470. Overall, the Ideapad is a stylish, well-built notebook computer.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Like most laptops sold today, the Y470p comes with an island-style keyboard, a type of keyboard that is now commonplace. The keys are well spaced, leaving little chance for a user to accidently mistype a letter while using the computer. Curved to fit your fingers as you type as well as having a decent keyboard throw (the distance a key travels between rest and being fully pressed by a finger) make this Ideapad a comfortable laptop to type on for extended time periods.
There are two major flaws in the Y470’s keyboard that can potentially annoy a user enough to dislike the laptop, however. The first flaw I had noticed was that even though this 14” laptop features a full-sized keyboard, the Y470 has a half-sized right Shift key, which will throw off touch typists using the laptop for the first time. Why does this system have that? Because of the Y470’s second flaw: Lenovo decided to relocate some of the specialty keys normally located at the upper-right (such as Delete, PgUp/PgDn, etc.) to the right edge of the keyboard, yet another problem for touch typists. A redeeming feature of the keyboard however is that it seems resistant to skin oils; during the evaluation period, there was no noticeable shininess from the keys after prolonged use.
The touchpad is a larger size than most (30mm by 11mm) and is a joy to use. Its surface is covered by tiny raised dimples so that the finger can feel when it’s within the touchpad’s boundaries without having the user look down to check. Unlike some other laptops, the left- and right-click buttons for the Y470p share a single “rocker” button as opposed to two separate, physical keys. Whether or not this is a pro or con is mainly a subjective judgment call for each individual. While the buttons stay firm after repeated use, some people might consider two separate buttons to be better than a “rocker” button.
While the resolution on the Y470 could be higher (Lenovo only offers a 1366*768 option), it has a good display for its $760 price point. The 14” display appears slightly sharper than mainstream 15.6 laptops (110ppi vs 100ppi) even though the display resolution is the same. Colors pop out dramatically thanks in part to the glossy coating used by Lenovo. Along with the truly black blacks, users will experience a great movie-watching or gaming experience, even in a lit room.
The one major flaw of this display is that the viewing angles are limited mostly towards directly in front of the display, and slightly to the sides. Tilting the display back as far as it will go (150 degrees), colors drastically invert and the display appears darker overall; tilting towards the user brings about the exact opposite problem, making most of the display appear white. Viewing from either side will wash out the colors some, but displayed images and video are still viewable.
Input and Output Ports
The Y470p has an above average selection of ports for a 14-inch laptop, including the latest Super Speed USB 3.0 technology and all important HDMI port. Here’s a rundown of what you get in terms of ports on each side along with a picture:
On the left you get a monitor out port, HDMI port, Ethernet LAN port, 2 USB 3.0 ports:
On the right side you get a USB 2.0 / eSATA port combo, optical drive, standard USB 2.0 port and the power jack port:
No ports are located on the back
On the front right side you get the media card reader slot
A gaming laptop needs to come with great sound in order to heighten the user experience, and Lenovo delivers by packing the Y470p with a powerful set of JBL speakers, ran by Realtek High Definition Audio drivers. Unlike many laptops, the Y470p has a full range of sound, ranging from clear, non-tinny highs to deep, booming lows. Another benefit of these JBL speakers is that they’re loud enough not to require a separate set of speakers in order to fill a room with sound, so a user can easily have a group of friends gathered around to watch a funny Youtube clip, action movie, or whatever suits them. Nothing about these speakers is sub-par; Y470p owners will be satisfied using their laptop for audio applications.
Lenovo, like other OEMs, installs additional software onto their computer systems in part to subsidize the cost of the system. However, the Y470p comes with surprisingly little bloatware compared to other consumer-level laptops. Additional pieces of software found on the notebook were ooVoo (a chat program similar to Skype), EasyBits (a “family-oriented” chat program), and the Lenovo Games Console (complete with the standard array of casual games we all know and love). On top of that, Lenovo has bundled an OS recovery system, OneKey Recovery 7.0, that is launched either from the Start menu or the dedicated button located next to the power button. Lenovo kindly offers an electronic version of the Y470p user guide on the hard drive.
Exploring the Start menu, I found some interesting Lenovo-branded software that has subjective qualities to them. The first is Lenovo’s EE Boot Optimizer, which uses their Enhanced Experience 2.0 suite to boost Windows boot performance. Since Lenovo doesn’t release the detail on what exactly EE2.0 does, it’s hard to tell if it noticeably decreases boot time on the Y470’s mechanical hard drive (as opposed to doing a clean install of Windows). R.I.C (Robust Intelligent Companion) is the next piece of software in the Lenovo Start menu folder; aside from the About page, it includes the following: a Doctor tab that has two tests (Vision test, which asks you to point at an arrow that describes the direction “E” is pointed at, and a Color Vision test, which asks you to key in which number you see in a series of pictures), an Assistant tab that allows the user to use the microphone to control music controls (tap twice to play/pause an thrice to skip to the next track), and a Guard tab that plays an annoying, generic alarm noise when the lid is closed “accidently”. To quote Lenovo, “When your notebook lid is closed accidently, the system starts beeping. In public places, you can enable this function for theftproof. [sic]” Thankfully, the Guard feature can be disabled.
Out of all the non-Windows programs installed on the Y470p, I would consider only keeping two: the AMD Catalyst Control Center (which allows the user to tinker with GPU and display settings) and the Intel WiDi software.
The 5200mAh battery provided in the Lenovo Ideapad Y470p under light usage (Internet browsing, document processing) will last for seven and a half hours while using the provided Energy Star power settings and turning the display down to half brightness. This rivals many laptops based on integrated graphics, let alone dedicated gaming laptops.
For the majority of customers, the i5-2450M (Cinebench R10 score: 8,461) processor provides plenty of computing power for most of their computing tasks, slotting in between the Core 2 Quad Q9000 (8059.4) and the i5-2520M (8515.8), though for more demanding users Lenovo offers an upgrade to the i7-2670QM quad core processor. The AMD Radeon 7690M is the default GPU offered for the Y470p, though Lenovo does offer the 550M for nVidia fans. Just like nearly all other retail laptops, the only bottleneck a user will actually notice (ignoring benchmarks) is the 5400RPM hard drive. However, even with the slower hard drive, the Y470 manages an impressive 50 seconds from a cold boot to a useable desktop. And while a user games, this Ideapad stays cool and (relatively) quiet; the fans are barely noticeable at ambient noise levels, and the air blown out of this laptop’s beefy cooling system hovers at around ambient room temperature.
One cool thing about the Y470p is that the graphics are switchable between integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics and the dedicated AMD 7690M. You can manually switch graphics by right clicking on the desktop and going into the AMD Catalyst Control Center, you can even select which applications use dedicated versus integrated graphics:
The performance from the AMD 7690M graphics will be enough to play just about any modern game, you may need to tweak the graphics settings a bit in a game such as Skyrim to get the frame rates in the 30 range, but you won’t have to sacrifice too much detail to get there. We ran some benchmarks to demonstrate the synthetic performance you can get using PCMark Vantage, PCMark 7 and 3DMark 11:
PCMark Vantage Results
|Laptop||PCMark Vantage Score|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Y470p (Intel Core i5-2450m, AMD 7690M, 6GB RAM, 5400RPM HD)||6,727 PCMarks|
|HP Pavilion g6z (AMD Fusion A4-3305M 1.90GHz, 4GB RAM, 5400RPM HD)||3,322 PCMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X130e (AMD E-300 1.30GHz, AMD 6130, 4GB RAM, 5400 RPM HD)||1,981 PCMarks|
|HP Folio 13 (Intel Core i5-2467M 1.60GHz, Intel HD3000, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)||9,026 PCMarks|
|Dell Vostro 1440 Review (Intel Core i3-370M, Intel HD, 6GB RAM)||4,931 PCMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420 – Intel Core i5-2410m 2.30GHz, 4GB RAM||6,056 PCMarks|
|Dell Vostro 3450 – Intel Core i5-2410m 2.30Ghz, 4GB RAM||5,901 PCMarks|
|Dell Inspiron N411z – Intel Core i3-2330m 2.30GHz, 4GB RAM||5,285 PCMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T420 – Intel Core i3-2310m 2.1GHz, 2GB RAM||3,204 PCMarks|
PCMark 7 Results
|Laptop||PCMark 7 Score|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Y470p (Intel Core i5-2450m, AMD 7690M, 6GB RAM, 5400RPM HD)||2,046 PCMarks|
|HP ENVY 14 Spectre (Intel Core i5-2467M 1.60GHz, Intel HD3000, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)||3,231 PCMarks|
|Dell XPS 13 (Intel Core i5-2467M 1.60Hz, Intel HD 3000, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)||3,539 PCMarks|
|HP Folio 13 (Intel Core i5-2467M 1.60GHz, Intel HD3000, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD)||3,168 PCMarks|
|HP dv7t Quad (Intel Core i7 2670QM 2.20GHz, 2GB Radeon HD 6770M, 8GB RAM, Crucial M4)||4,308 PCMarks|
|Sony VAIO SA (Intel Core i5-2430M 2.50GHz, AMD Radeon 6630M, 4GB RAM)||2,022 PCMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad W520 – Intel Core i7 2720QM, 4GB RAM, Nvidia Quadro 2000, Intel 320 SSD||4,299 PCMarks|
|HP Envy 17 3D – Intel Core i7-2670QM, AMD 6850M 1GB, 8GB RAM, 7200RPM HD||2,592 PCMarks|
|Lenovo IdeaPad U400 – Intel Core i5-2430M, AMD Radeon 6470M, 6GB RAM, 5400RPM HD||2,287 PCMarks|
|Dell XPS 15z – Intel Core i7-2620M, Nvidia GT 525M, 8GB RAM, SSD||3,604 PCMarks|
3DMark 11 Results
|Lenovo IdeaPad Y470p (Intel Core i5-2450m, AMD 7690M, 6GB RAM, 5400RPM HD)||1,339|
|Dell XPS 17 (Core i5-2410m 2.30GHz, Nvidia 550m, 6GB RAM, HD 7200RPM)||1,041|
The one bottleneck in the Y470p is the slow 5400RPM hard drive. That can be remedied by inserting an mSATA SSD in the mini PCIe slot that’s open which you can read more about in the upgradability section…
After preparing the laptop to open it up (unplug from the wall, remove battery, and hold power button for ten seconds), all a user needs to do is open up a single, large panel at the bottom of the laptop in order access the major parts. One of the first things noticed when the panel was removed was that Lenovo has equipped the Y470 with the Intel Wireless-N 1000 WiFi card as standard, something that is usually reserved as a paid upgrade option for other laptops (which normally use either Broadcom or Realtek). The drive provided is a Seagate 5000C5004A 500GB 5400RPM mechanical hard drive. The most notable feature of the Y470’s internals is located in a smaller panel to the side of the WiFi card. Take out a single screw, lift up the cover, and the user is presented a port that allows the installation of mSATA solid state drives, such as the Intel 310 Soda Creek. That’s right, this Ideapad has the option to support two drives inside, using the mSATA as a boot drive, and the mechanical hard drive (or an aftermarket 2.5” SSD) as the bulk storage device.
The Lenovo Ideapad Y470p is a good laptop for those wanting to game on the go. The brand-new AMD Radeon 7690M is no slouch, the cooling system is bigger than in other 14” laptops (though bigger is better!), and the included mSATA port reflects great decisions made by the engineers, designers and higher-ups working at Lenovo. Combined with the subtle-yet-fashionable design and long battery life the Y470p makes out to be an amazing value for a gamer who wants to avoid larger laptops; even its larger 15” screen brother, the IdeaPad Y570, is lighter and a bit smaller than the competition. The only two issues I’ve had with the laptop were the slightly lower-than-average quality display (1366 x 768 and narrow viewing angles) and the keyboard layout. It would have been perfect if Lenovo offered at least a 1600 x 900 resolution display option, even for a little extra. As for the keyboard, Lenovo seems to have traded usability with aesthetics when they decided to move the special-function keys to the right-hand side instead of the top-right like other laptops. It may seem that I’m just ranting on and on about the keyboard, but for someone who types long documents fairly often (like this review!), it gets annoying when your finger hits the Up Arrow key or PgDn key instead of the Shift key. Otherwise, the Y470p is a good gaming laptop, containing a lot of punch in a small package for an affordable price.
- Brand-new Radeon GPU
- USB 3.0 + eSATA for fast transfers
- Seven and a half hours of battery life
- Better-than-average JBL speakers
- Easy for end user to upgrade
- Narrow viewing angles
- Odd keyboard layout
- No option for 1600*900 resolution
- Loose hinges
- Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 Review
- Lenovo ThinkPad T420 Review
- Lenovo IdeaPad Y470 Review
- Sony VAIO SA Review
Where to Buy