The Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 (starting at $820, Amazon) will set you back a pretty penny, but in exchange you'll get a loaded laptop. In Lenovo Y480 reviews, experts seem to agree that this laptop has one major flaw -- it deserved a much better screen. As an expert from Engadget points out, this laptop has an excellent, dedicated graphics processor that's separate from the CPU, but the resolution of the 14-inch display is 1366x768, the same as the budget laptops on our list. It simply doesn't do justice to the graphics quality this system can deliver. A Lenovo Y480 review at CNET calls the low-resolution screen "ludicrous" given the other high-powered components. That issue aside, the reviewer's tests show that the Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 is a powerful performer, thanks to a third-generation Intel Core i7 CPU. The separate graphics processing unit makes this better suited to gaming than a cheaper laptop with an integrated GPU. Engadget's Lenovo Y480 review cites perks including a comfortable keyboard and very good audio for a laptop. An expert from Digital Trends calls the specs impressive, but again the display comes in for criticism. The reviewer points to poor black levels when playing games or watching movies.
Consumers and experts alike expect a lot of nice hardware in a laptop that costs at least $800, and for the most part the Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 delivers. Its third-generation Intel Core i7-3610QM CPU is a gem of a processor and easily outpaces the second-generation Core i3 and i5 CPUs on our budget picks. The Y480 comes with 8GB of RAM -- twice that of a typical low-cost laptop. The base model's 500GB hard drive is certainly adequate, and versions with 750GB hard drives sell for similar prices. This laptop offers two USB 3.0 ports as well as an HDMI port for high-definition video.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 provides ample processing power, but that low-res screen is a real disappointment. With a better display, this laptop would be a truly excellent value. It just doesn't make sense to pair such a good GPU with such a pedestrian display, especially at this price.