The IdeaPad Y560 is Lenovo's premium consumer laptop. It's apparent from the moment it comes out of the box, with its gloss on matte black lid patterns, deep copper trim, dark metallic brown interior and JBL speakers. Even the little IdeaPad logo lights up in the bottom right, and although the effect is subtle, we do wish it could be turned off.
The almost ubiquitous 1366x768 resolution takes root in the glossy 15.6-inch screen, with dual array microphones and webcam perched atop.
We've spent some time before with JBL speakers on Dell's XPS 14, and it must be said that unlike the plain old Dolby-certified speakers, these things make a hell of a difference, finally bringing rounded tones, a much improved bass response and decent volume to a laptop. It's still no replacement for a dedicated speaker set, but as far as laptop speakers go, these things rock the house.
One of the weirdest things we've seen in a while is a touch slider beneath the monitor — you slide from one side to the other, and depending on where you hold your finger, different actions happen. Hold your finger on the first of seven dots, and a zip appears. You can then "zip up" your computer by swiping from left to right, and for some reason bubbles then start floating past. As far as we can tell it's simply a keyboard lock — it doesn't ask for your password when "unzipping".
Hold down beneath any of the other dots between the first and the seventh, and a shortcut bar appears on screen, allowing you to swipe your finger between various shortcuts, and also allowing you to create your own, all while making annoying sounds. It's a brief novelty you'll use once, then likely never again.
The Y560 comes pre-installed with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, and Lenovo's chosen McAfee for security duties. Other software includes CyberLink Power2Go and YouCam, the chat and video-conferencing client ooVoo, and has bunged a Bing bar in Internet Explorer.
Annoyingly, it's also included something called the "Smile Dock", a floating circular smiley face without eyes that vexingly floats above everything, which when double-clicked expands into a full-fledged dock that appears to do very little other than try to sell you stuff. Shame.
Internally, it runs a Core i7 Q740 clocked at 1.73GHz, although this can go to 2.93GHz using Turbo Boost. The system includes 4GB RAM, sports a 500GB hard drive and runs ATI's Mobility Radeon HD 5730, providing some serious graphics grunt.
The ports offered include VGA, HDMI, four USB ports (one with integrated eSATA), headphone and microphone jacks, an ExpressCard 34 slot, SD card reader, gigabit Ethernet and for the media-conscious there's a Blu-ray drive thrown in as well. Wireless is amply covered by Bluetooth and 802.11n, with Intel's wireless adapter covering both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz varieties.
With the internals present in the Y560, we'd expect some serious numbers, and we weren't disappointed. 3DMark06 threw out a score of 8162, meaning the Y560 should be capable of some modern games, while the PCMark05 score of 8491 means that it should decimate productivity tools and office work.
The battery life takes a hit because of this power, though; with screen brightness and volume set to maximum, all power-saving features turned off and an XviD video played back at full screen, the Y560 lasted one hour, 38 minutes and 58 seconds. Keep in mind that this is a particularly stressful test — casual use will see significantly greater returns.
Lenovo's Y560 is an excellent laptop, with serious muscle and great speakers. If you're in the market for something that won't slow you down, has expansion options and plays back movies well, the Y560 is likely to ring your bell.