Lenovo Y50 – Almost, but No Cigar

A picture of the Lenovo Y50 Lap-top
Lenovo Y50 Lap-top

The following are my notes from trying the Lenovo Y50, Intel Core i7-4700HQ, 15.6″ 4K Resolution Display, Notebook With 16GB Memory, 256GB SSD, Windows 8.1. The intent of this  post is to help others who may be thinking of purchasing this unit. Sadly, after investing several hours into trying to make this work, primarily as a video editing machine, I am going to return it as it has several issues that make it frustrating to use.

Background:

I needed a PC that would edit a Sony Vegas 13 video, which included NewBlue Chromakeying and other effects. The addition of the effects managed to slow my 2 year-old, Intel-based, i5 lap-top to a crawl; so much so that it was almost impossible to edit. A desktop I sometimes use, which has an Intel i7, 16 Gigabytes RAM and an AMD Radeon R9 270 Series graphics card, is great for editing Sony Vegas 13, but would consistently crash during rendering.

The Good

  • Lightweight, yet with a powerful processor and graphics card,the Y50 rendered the Sony Vegas 13 files with the NewBlue Chromakey effects. The graphics card didn’t seem to improve the rendering time, but it didn’t crash. I did find that the graphics card had to be configured for either the integrated Intel graphics or the Nvidia card. If it was configured for “automatic”, the resulting rendered MPEG-4 file would have visible bit errors (almost like snow). It tooks approximately 30 minutes to render a 4 minute file that was made liberal use of several NewBlue chromakey and color replace effects.
  • Backlit keyboard makes it easy to see in dark conditions
  • 4K display

The Bad

  • A screenshot of a menu with the Lenovo Y50.
    Menu Items Get Crunched

    4K display – it seems that most software menu items are designed for lower resolution displays. There may be a work-around, but I am not certain what it is (I tried different resolutions to no avail). The screenshot provides an example of how one menu was compressed and difficult to read).

  • It doesn’t open AVI files. Again, there is probably a work-around or codec that needs to be downloaded, but I wasn’t able to figure it out either by searching the help files or the Internet. This is unbelievable, as AVI files have been around forever. Unfortunately, my Sony Vegas project had an AVI file and it wouldn’t appear within the timeline (or render). [Added 10:11 pm, 8/10/14 – The AVI issue was not an error of the Lenovo or Sony or Windows. These AVI files had been created with the FRAPs‘ capture program. In order for them to be viewed in Sony or within Windows Media Player, FRAPs had to be installed on the lap-top, as they indicate on their web site, “Please keep in mind that if you want to give your raw footage to another person they will also need to have Fraps installed.”]
  • The trackpad is in a bad location. While writing this post, I probably have accidentally hit the trackpad with the palm of my hand while typing, bringing up a different window. This is extremely frustrating. I have tried various “personalization” settings to no avail. The cursor seems to jump and, at least once, has led to undesirable results, such as accidentally closing this post while I was in the middle of writing.

Summary:

I really wanted this lap-top to work, as it looks great on paper and has a nice feel. I have a Lenovo desktop which has worked well. Some of the issues I observed may be Windows 8.1 related and may have to do with my naiveté regarding that operating system. Regardless, the issues are too large to ignore, so my quest for a lap-top that will edit Sony Vegas 13 with effects will continue.

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