Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Y450

Netbooks have been hogging the spotlight lately, making the world marvel at how capable a computing companion you can get for a notch under $500. Lenovo would like equal time to point out just how capable a real computer you can get for a notch over $500.

Not to knock netbooks, including Lenovo’s, but the IdeaPad Y450 is a highly appealing notebook for $599. This member of the ThinkPad line’s consumer cousins has features no netbook can match, starting with a 14.0-inch screen — a bright and sharp LED-backlit one with rich colors and HD video-worthy 1,366 by 768 resolution. You’ll also find a full-sized keyboard; an onboard DVD±RW drive for watching movies and burning music and data discs; and HDMI, eSATA, and FireWire as well as VGA and USB ports.

Oh yeah, and instead of a netbook’s humble hardware lineup — you know, almost invariably a single-core CPU, 1GB of memory, and a 160GB hard drive? A dual-core processor with 3GB of DDR3 and a 250GB drive. (Even so, the Y450 is sadly no better than a netbook at playing high-octane games, but you can’t have everything.)

Perhaps best of all, the IdeaPad isn’t a clunker to carry around: At 4.6 pounds, the 14 -inch Lenovo is lighter than the 13.3-inch Gateway UC7807 we reviewed in April, and its low-profile, 16:9-aspect-ratio display combines with a recessed hinge to yield a display height not much more than that of a netbook, so you can open it even if the airline recliner in front of you has invaded your personal space.

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