Friday, 23 August 2013
Lenovo Ideapad Z500 Laptop Review.
Lenovo mainly known for its Business class Thinkpad Laptops have been currently venturing in Multimedia and Gaming oriented laptops market too. The Latest Z500 and Y500 are results of that initiative, and its not like that they are overpriced or cheap, they are prized just right for the features they offer.
Recently I bought Lenovo Ideapad Z500 Laptop and took this a perfect opportunity for us to write a totally unbiased Hands on Review for our readers. Now without wasting any time we jump straight to the Review.
Lenovo Ideapad Z500 Notebook ReviewQuick System specifications:
Processor: Intel Core i5-3230M @ 2.60GHz
6 GB DDR3 RAM
Nvidia GT740M Graphics card 2GB
Camera : 1 MP 720p HD
Chipset : B75 Express (does not support SSD)
Speaker: Dolby Home Theater V4, Accutype Keyboard
Pros : Beautiful and sleek design, Brushed Aluminum finish,
temperatures remain relatively
Cool even while gaming, spacious keyboard
Cons : Heavy even though it is sleek, Touch-pad problems,
the keys are a bit shallow, Dust and Fingerprint Magnet.
Now for some Detailed Review :
The performance of the Laptop is at par with other mainstream Laptops in this price range. However, it suffers in the gaming department. In many games it gives lower frame rates than Nvidia 630M and AMD 7670 which are supposed to be weaker than Nvidia 740M present in this system. It seems that there is some problem with the out of the box drivers and there is no update available at the moment (8th August 2013). The games that I tested were Battlefield 3, Crysis 3, Dirt 3, The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, Need For Speed Most Wanted (2012) and Prototype 2.
The performance of Lenovo Z500 was compared with Asus K55VM (Quad Core i7, 8GB, 2GB Nvidia 630M), Lenovo Z580 and HP Pavilion G6 (Core i5, 8GB, 2GB AMD 7670M). In Battlefield 3 the performance of Lenovo Z500 was considerably lower than others. All other laptops were giving playable frame-rates on ultra-settings in 1366x768 resolution while Lenovo Z500 struggles even at Medium settings in 1280x720 resolution. Prototype 2 showed similar behavior but it easily managed to get a noticeably better performance than others in Crysis 3 and Dirt 3 while no visible difference was observed in Need For Speed Most Wanted 2012.
The laptop remains relatively cool but does have some kind of heating issue. However, it does not require a cooling pad for long, continuous gaming sessions. I've played Battlefield Bad Company 2 online continuously for 8 hours and the laptop just kept going. The only motion breaker was my unstable internet connection. Even heavier games like Crysis 3, BF3, Skyrim can be played continuously for many hours.
But(here comes the heating issue), the underside of the laptop, just under the fan gets uncomfortably hot while gaming and that place has no vents for air(maybe I'm worrying too much). I fear that the life of this laptop might be pretty short and I don't expect it to live for more than 2.5 years especially with Gaming habits like mine.
When the laptop is put in power saver mode and no heavy stuff is done it doesn't get much warm and Fan noise is inaudible... perfect for browsing web, listening to music, watching movies and playing Minecraft.
*Update* : After new Driver Updates for the Nvidia GT740M (24th August 2013), Frame-rates have increased upto 10 on Most of the Games and heat-up has decreased to compared to earlier uses.
The Lenovo Z500 has got "Accutype Keyboard". What that means is that the keys have a little outward curve on the lower side. Personally I don't feel any difference between this keyboard and those of a few other ultrabooks. I've mentioned ultrabooks here because the keys are too shallow for a mainstream notebook. But, the keys have a satisfactory travel and are comfortable to use and so far I've never had any kind of trouble with them i.e. unresponsiveness. The keyboard has lots of space between the keys and the arrow keys are "big". I was delighted to see them on my laptop as they are very rare these days.
The Touchpad is big (10.5cm x 7cm) and is comfortable to use but not as comfortable as ASUS K55VM's. At times it becomes totally unresponsive and the Palm detection isn't good enough either. Sometimes while playing Battlefield Bad Company 2 online it decides to read my Palms and annoy me. I've been killed and missed thousands of shots because of that, so I have to turn it off altogether.
I suggest you to buy an external mouse if you want to play Games. Moreover lack of dedicated right and left mouse buttons don't make the Touchpad ideal for gaming. And the lamination on the Touchpad may come out if you spill something on it (I accidentally dropped a drop of hot tea on it and the lamination came off exposing the glossy surface underneath. That spot looks nasty in the daylight).
The display is of 1366x768 resolution and is of LED backlit type. The viewing angles are mediocre but they only suffer from contrast gain/loss. The sunlight legibility is pretty bad as the display brightness is low and it is too reflective. Why the hell don’t they put matte displays on laptops? Even some cheap Netbooks have those. The color reproduction is pretty good and contrast is average. The display appears to be on warmer side as the whites on other laptops appear to be more bluish. The pictures edited on Photoshop on my laptop look good on screens of others as they appear colder. I'm not particularly fond of warm white balance but it might not be a big issue for other people.
But, wait! The Preinstalled "One key theater" app tunes the display to my liking and everything is fixed. But then again, it also increases the contrast which kind of' makes the night scenes in games too dark and bright daylight scenes/desert scenes in Battlefield 3 and Bad Company 2 too bright. Finally I had to manually change color settings of Intel HD 4000(for movies and pictures) but I really wish that games had some kind of HDR mode to deal with overexposure.
The laptop looks really beautiful, It’s simple, thin and elegant. The screen cover is made of Dark Chocolate colored matte plastic whereas the keyboard deck is made of brushed metal. The combination of matte plastic and brushed metal give it a premium feel and in comparison other laptops in this price range look cheap. Its 9mm thin at its thinnest part and 25mm thick at its thickest (excluding the supporting legs). However, the tapered edges give an illusion of much thinner laptop and thus makes it look as thin as most ultrabooks.
Recovery Options :
Lenovo Z500 has a Dedicated Recovery Button right next to power plug input. It starts the recovery service and boot settings without booting up the OS. You can always rely on it for full factory recovery and creation of recovery discs is hardly needed but the software has an option for that as well. But, the recovery software won't work with any other OS except Windows and the dedicated feature becomes quite useless (One reason to hate Linux based OSes).
Included software :
Lenovo has included a few useful apps that people often refer to as bloatware. Except McAfee Antivirus, all other apps are useful.
Dolby Home Theater
The software enhances the audio experience and takes gaming and watching movies to a different/higher level. It has many equalizer presets and you can also customize it. Other features are Dialogue Enhancer, Volume Leveler and Surround Virtualizer.
Dedicated "Energy Management" software
It also includes an option for Dust removal. Dust removal simply rotates the cooling fan at very high RPM. (I use if for quick cooling of the laptop after gaming sessions.)
Cyber link Power DVD-
Used for watching movies. (I find it useless but some people find it useful. It’s a good software for those who don't have Dolby Home Theater as it provides similar audio settings for movies and music)
And there are many more apps which are not worth mentioning and can really be termed as Bloatware.
Final Verdict :
Lenovo Z500 is a pretty good laptop for Gaming and other daily activities. At the price tag of Rs. 54,000 I can't demand more than what it gives. The issues with the drivers of Nvidia 740M will definitely be resolved in a few months but still, it manages to give a noticeably better performance than older mainstream GPUs (namely Nvidia 630M, AMD 7670M) commonly found on the laptops in this price range. If you can ignore the Touchpad problems and don't care about sunlight legibility of the display... this is the laptop you should buy. It’s the best gaming laptop in this price range!.
Get This Laptop now from Flipkart :
This Review was Written by Guest Author Bharat Justa.