With the steady stream of Windows 8 hybrids and thin-and-light Ultrabooks being trotted out these days, you have to wonder: have manufacturers forgotten about good old fashioned multimedia and gaming machines? In the case of Lenovo, the answer is a resounding "No." The company's new IdeaPad Y400 and Y500 notebooks, starting at $649, were built for high-definition power, not petite portability.
Sporting an aggressive-looking carbon fiber patterned case with a red backlit keyboard and a metal palmrest, the Y Series laptops also feature an interesting "UltraBay" for customizable performance. Basically, it's a swappable drive bay designed to let you quickly and easily add additional storage, cooling fans or even a second GPU depending on your needs.
The only major difference between the IdeaPad Y400 and IdeaPad Y500 are their screens; both pack a similar 1366 x 768 HD resolution, but the IdeaPad Y400 has a 14-inch display, whereas the IdeaPad Y500 measures in at 15.6-inches. A 720p HD webcam, JBL speakers and Dolby Home Theater v4 audio technology round out the audio/visual chops.
Lenovo's usual customization options abound: the IdeaPad Y Series notebooks will be available with up to a Core i7 third-generation Intel processor, an Nvidia GeForce GT 655M GPU, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. An SSD cache drive option is also available. A host of Lenovo applications are onboard as well.
Even with Nvidia's Optimus graphics-switching technology, the Y Series laptops are only rated for a 3-hour battery life. That's a bit shorter than the average high-performance laptop, but not completely out of line.
Lenovo's Y Series impressed us earlier this month; we'll have to wait to find out if these latest entries live up to their pedigree. The Lenovo IdeaPad Y400 and Y500 notebooks are slated to launch this October with prices starting at $649.