Lenovo Y50 (59441555) is a new entry to the expensive market of high-end laptops. Featuring some premium components, such as Core i7 processor and Full HD screen, a lot could be expected from this unit. But I can’t help noticing the price – it’s not that low, so we must find out if the thousand dollars this item costs is really justified…
Lenovo Y50 (59441555) is packed with computing power. There’s an extremely powerful Core i7-4720HQ processor in it. Now, before I go any further, it must be said that this exact model is much, much faster than new 5th generation Core i7s that have been recently advertised a lot. The i7-4720HQ, running on four cores and 2.6 – 3.6GHz clock speed, receives well over 8000 points in CPU Passmark tests whereas 5th gen Core i7s get only around 4000.
As it is, i7-4720HQ is a clear winner. It’s a very fast processor that won’t stumble with any programs you run on it. For example, a developer using virtual machine (like VirtualBox) or digital artist with Photoshop can focus on their work rather than cursing a bad computer. Flip side of the coin is power consumption: This model’s thermal design power is 47 Watt, while the slower 5th generation i7s get on with 15W, a much more reasonable amount. This affects battery life, although if you don’t mind keeping the computer plugged in, it’s not a problem for you.
On top of the beefy processor, Lenovo Y50 (59441555) boasts 8GB RAM. This is an amount that should suffice for most users. I haven’t heard many people going beyond eight gigabytes, although rest assured it is possible on this model. Two memory slots are installed on the mainboard, supporting up to 2x8GB chips, totaling at 16GB RAM.
The storage drive is a so-called hybrid model, with 1024GB space and 8GB cache. You might experience faster response and program start times compared to mechanical hard drives. However, don’t be fooled to think it’s a true SSD – even though the product page says 8GB SSD – because it’s not. If you want true solid-state drive benefits, like great durability and quick bootup and application loading times, you have to swap the hybrid model for a real SSD.
Graphics and screen
Lenovo Y50 (59441555) has a 15.6 inches screen, which I usually call a cookie cutter size. It works for everybody, doesn’t really suck at anything, but isn’t excellent for any particular use either. The 1920×1080 resolution is a treat, albeit the only acceptable thing for this high price. It doesn’t look like it’s a touchscreen, so new touch features of Windows 8.1 (64-bit) must be left for other laptops. The panel type is TN Twisted Nematics, providing good response times but perhaps not so great viewing angles.
A dedicated graphics card will be powering your games. Called GeForce GTX 860M, it’s around three times faster than integrated graphics cards like Intel HD 4000 (that is, according to G3D Mark tests). You’ll have no problem keeping settings and resolution very high on most newest games. For example, the demanding Battlefield 4 should average around 30FPS on ultra details and 1920×1080. One of the heaviest games I can think of, the Assassin’s Creed Unity, would reach such frame rates on medium details and resolution. Indeed, the Lenovo is advertised as a gaming laptop, and I think this time the ad copy is spot on.
There seems to be three USB ports in Lenovo Y50 (59441555). Only two of them are USB 3.0 which is bit strange for this price. Not that I’d personally care so much, but if you have several peripherals you’d probably want them all connected to a fast USB 3.0 rather than ten time slower 2.0.
In addition, there’s an HDMI output for HDTVs and external monitors. Accessing Internet is a breeze, the unit features a dual-band A/C WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 port and Bluetooth 4.0.
Optical drive is “External DVDRW”, which means there’s no built-in one. You must buy a separate, USB-connecting DVD drive if it’s discs you want to work with. There’s also SD/SDXC/SDHC/MMC card reader for those with memory cards.
A fixed 720p webcam is provided, good if you’re into video chats on Skype.
What else to consider?
The weight of Lenovo Y50 (59441555), 5.29 pounds, is the same than its competitors. What is however worse is the battery life – the beefy yet power hungry processor and dedicated graphics take their toll, and users have been reporting less than 3 hours on a single charge. That is not great news for on-the-go people, however if you are usually close to a power socket, the poor battery life shouldn’t be an issue.
The keys are illuminated with red glowing light. A 10-key pad is installed on the right, allowing for a quick numeric key access.
There are good reasons to pick a computer like Lenovo Y50 (59441555), gaming being the most obvious one. It’s debatable if laptop is ever a good choice for gamers, but I’d say this one is. You can pretty much throw any game at this rig, turn on most or even all the eye candy and enjoy smooth frame rates without hiccups. Another folks benefiting from this Lenovo would be professionals, for whom a weak Celeron or Core i3 powered notebook wouldn’t do it. However, if you don’t play games at all, I don’t know if it makes sense to pay this much for a premium graphics card you don’t use. Probably not. So this laptop is not for everybody, but if you can’t keep your hands off games, this Lenovo should be something to seriously consider!