User Interface, Display and Audio Quality
The ThinkPad keyboard brilliance has leaked over to the IdeaPad Y480. You will find little similar about the layout, but key feel is decent thanks to reasonable key travel – and the caps have the same curved-bottom design found on the new ThinkPads. Indeed, IdeaPads had this long before Lenovo decided to share it with their business laptops.
Speaking of the layout – it’s not great. Lenovo has not made full use of the laptop’s width. Small keys are the result. The right-side Backspace, Enter and Shift keys are the most noticeable victims, but all of the keys feel a bit tighter than they should.
Backlighting is standard, but there are only two settings – off and really bright. This can be an annoyance if using the laptop in an extremely dark environment.
Touchpad quality is so-so. Touchpad size is adequate but the surface lacks texture. Despite the multi-touch functionality, it still exhibits a finicky and jerky feeling like most Windows laptops. Also, there are no individual left-right buttons – clicking is integrated into the touchpad surface.
Display and Audio Quality
The Y480 is only available with a 1366×768 display. That isn’t great, but is fine for this laptop’s intended purpose. The discrete graphics solution equipped in this laptop could handle some games at 1080p, but only at low or medium detail.
Unfortunately the display is a letdown in other ways. It offers average black levels, so-so contrast and poor viewing angles. None of this is shocking for a consumer laptop, but this one isn’t particularly cheap and it’s obviously designed with multimedia and casual gaming in mind. Inserting a ho-hum display takes significant value away from the laptop.
Audio quality, on the other hand, is excellent. The twin speakers face upwards from the interior of the laptop and direct sound straight at the user. Sound is loud and clear as a result. As is always the case with laptops, bass is hard to find, but attempts to reproduce bass don’t reduce all other sounds to static. This is one of the best sound systems you’ll find on any laptop offered today.