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Lenovo Ideapad Y650

Lenovo's Ideapad series of laptops is geared at entertainment and multimedia usage. Continuing in that tradition is another noteworthy addition, the Ideapad Y650, a lightweight 16-inch laptop with an impressive slew of features.

One of the first things you notice about the Ideapad Y650 is its screen lid. The cover is made of black embossed rubber, smooth and very sturdy. Inside it's all white gloss on the keyboard, palmrest and touchpad, while the 16-inch widescreen display (1366x768 resolution) is adorned by a black bezel. The glossy screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio ideal for multimedia and entertainment usage. The screen has very good horizontal viewing angles, is evenly lit and pretty good for watching movies--however, vertical viewing angles can still be improved. A 1.3-megapixel webcam is carved into its top screen bezel.

Below the screen there's a row of touch-sensitive buttons that come really handy to launch programs through Lenovo's Desktop Navigator--just slide your finger along the dedicated sidebar to choose different programs from the dock. The keyboard is nestled below the touch-sensitive strip and well laid out, there's no flex to speak of, although Lenovo should've included a number pad. Along either side of the keyboard reside the Y650's onboard JBL speakers, which have Dolby Home Theatre capability, and they're very good whether you're watching a movie or gaming. We loved the Ideapad Y650's larger-than-normal palmrest, which houses a substantial touchpad and mouse buttons. The whole unit weighs in at 2.6-kg, not bad for a mainstream 16-inch laptop.

The Lenovo Ideapad Y650 has an impressive hardware lineup. At its heart runs an Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 2.4-GHz processor, there's 4GB of DDR3 RAM, and storage is taken care by a 320GB hard drive. It comes with dedicated graphics, an Nvidia GeForce G105M, and doesn't miss out on essentials like Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi 802.11n. Two USB ports, a multicard reader, and an ExpressCard slot are good, but dedicated HDMI and eSATA ports are even better. Lenovo even throws in a Blu-ray drive on the Ideapad Y650--what else do you need?

There's Windows Vista Home Premium bundled with the laptop, which is perfect for the Y650's intended usage. As an entertainment laptop, the Lenovo Ideapad Y650 gets it pretty much spot on in terms of hardware configuration.

Owing to its fast processor and oodles of RAM, the Ideapad Y650 has enough firepower packed under its hood. Our several benchmarks bore witness to its performance potential--WorldBench 6 gave it a very good score of 97, so did PC Mark 2005 with 5533, and 3D Mark 2006 with 2488. We watched Blu-ray movies on the Ideapad Y650 and it was an experience in itself. Gaming on the Y650 wasn't great but respectable on the GeForce G105M; the GPU's main job is to impress on the HD movie playback. And I think this is the first entertainment laptop we've seen with the best combination of performance, audio playback, with a Blu-ray drive.

An asking price of Rs. 1,03,990 (US$2,123) effectively knocks the Ideapad Y650 off the wishlist of budget-conscious customers. But with its better-than-average onboard sound, very good all around performance, and an equally noteworthy feature set, we think it does enough to justify its high price tag.