MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510-300
- Attractive design, good sound and connectivity, built-in webcam
- Limited viewing angle, facial recognition is not a viable security measure and One Key Recovery can cause problems for novice users due to inconvenient partitioning
The Y510-300 is a fairy decent all-purpose notebook suitable for those with a strong budget and an eye for design. With good connectivity and strong hardware performance, just make sure you use the D drive after purchase.
Price$ 2,399.00 (AUD)
Although Lenovo is traditionally synonymous with business platforms, its new Y510-300 IdeaPad represents a bold step towards consumer notebooks. With a stylish body a world away from the clunky utilitarianism of Lenovo's usual business models, this unit generally performs well and comes with a host of features; some of which work better than others.
The first word that comes to mind when using the Lenovo Y510-300 is shiny. From the highly reflective 15.4in (1280x800) WXGA LCD screen to the piano black touch-sensitive control panel through to the gun-metal grey palm rests, this sleek notebook is definitely an attractive option for the fashionable consumer. The red-lit battery meter is actually reflected off the interior plastic, promoting the modernist chic look.
Moving inside the unit reveals an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 2.5GHz CPU with an 800MHz front side bus speed and a 6MB L2 cache, 2GB of DDR2 RAM which is upgradeable to 4GB, as well as an NVIDIA GeForce 8600M graphics card and a DVD re-writer supporting dual-layer burning. Add this to a 250GB SATA drive spinning at 5400rpm and a built-in 1.3-megapixel webcam with microphone, and so far you have a very promising all-rounder.
This particular Intel CPU is based on the latest Penryn 45nm core, which means that it's smaller than older models, and therefore should produce less heat. While using it, we definitely found it to be a cool-running unit, even after it had been running for hours.
Unfortunately, the buzz-kill for this model was what should have been an excellent innovation. The out-of-box configuration comes with Lenovo's 'One Key Recovery' system as standard, which automatically partitions the hard drive into two sections; a 30GB 'C' drive and a 188GB 'D' drive. Although an experienced user might see this and make sure all programs are installed into the bigger drive, both Windows and the majority of owners targeted by this model will simply default to installing onto the 'C' drive, resulting in problems. The swap file space needed for the heavy multimedia programs this notebook is capable of handling will easily hit walls, and the pre-installed Vista operating system already takes up almost one-third of the drive. This flaw could easily have been turned into a positive point had the designers levelled the split better.
The screen, whilst attractive, also suffers from limited viewing angles. The unit's size is suitable for lap use, but if used on an aircraft in a confined space or against a wall it can become a little impractical due to its L-shaped hinge. For travellers, the notebook weighs 3kg on its own, and 3.5kg with its power supply.
A big talking point for this unit is the 4.1 'Dolby Home Theatre' package. Advertised by Lenovo as 'theatre-style' sound, the results aren't quite that dramatic. The added speakers definitely boost the notebook's capabilities and there is a noticeable increase to the sound stage, but to call it surround sound would be a bit of a stretch. Even so, the sound reproduction is fairly good for a notebook and ranks relatively well.
An interesting replacement in the Y510-300 for the now common fingerprint scanner is the facial recognition package offered by Lenovo. Simply stick your mug in front of the camera, and the software should recognise you, select which account you're assigned to and let you in; no typing or touching required. Unfortunately, we managed to fool the software with nothing more than a standard facial photograph on all but the highest settings. Trying to access your notebook in public by staring at the screen with frozen intent may also attract some curious attention.
In our benchmarks the Y510-300 performed fairly well, but it failed our simulated Blu-ray burn test due to the aforementioned swap file problems. The 87 it achieved in WorldBench 6 means that it can handle office multitasking and common applications with ease. With its 3DMark06 score of 4346, it can handle older games like FEAR when playing with mid-level settings. On our MP3 encoding test, where we use iTunes to convert 53 minutes of WAV files into 192Kbps MP3s, the Y510-300 managed it in 71 seconds; a reflection of the CPU's strength. The unit lasted 82min in our worst-case scenario battery run-down test where we loop a DVD movie, and this is a fair result.
For connectivity, the Y510-300 is also fairly well equipped with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 802.11a/g/n, three USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire connection, VGA and S-Video output, a modem jack, an Ethernet port capable of 10/100 speeds and an Express Card slot, as well as a 6-in-1 card reader supporting MMC, MS, MS Pro, SD, SD Pro and xD cards.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Google Pixel 5 Review: Soft Reboot
- 2 Google Pixel 4a review: The Goldilocks Google phone
- 3 Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G review: Wrong Number
- 4 LG NANO99 NanoCell 8K TV review: Prestige at a price
- 5 LG Velvet review: Fake it till you make it
Latest News Articles
- Something for everybody in Acer’s new models
- Getac’s next generation V110 is thoroughly tough and well connected
- xCloud game streaming will come to iOS with a browser-based solution
- Huawei launches its all-rounder, the MateBook 14
- Dell updates XPS 13 2-in-1 and XPS 13
PCW Evaluation Team
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
- Best Australian Amazon Prime Day deals
- Why do gamers like RGB Lights?
- Huawei Matebook X Pro (2020) review: The real deal
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?