A budget laptop from Lenovo
Overall User Rating (4.2 Out of 5 based on 79 ratings)
Overall: I'll brief my review under a few broad heads to allow fellow buyers to make an informed judgment-
1)- Consideration for buying: I was looking specifically for a 14" laptop with at least a 2.3+ GHz Core i3 of 3rd Generation or above, at a budget of around Rs 30k. USB3.0 was a must. It needed to look sober and weigh around 1.9-2.1 kg. I was moving from a 15.6" Samsung Laptop with a 1st Gen Core i3 (2.53 GHz), weighing around 2.6 kg. This Lenovo was the only one offering both a high spec CPU and also USB3 at this range. It also had a high number of positive reviews from users. So it translated to a possible good VFM proposition. Also Flipkart had a good rebate offer going on. So I bought it from WS retail on Flipkart.
Now the Product itself-
1)- Looks and Build-
Pros- The entire laptop is built out of non-reflective matte plastic, which is a boon. Even the keyboard base is non reflective, which is good in offices if you have a light just up and front of you. The laptop is chunky, and looks thick, but is actually thinner than a Dell Vostro by quite a margin. The chunky image has more to do with the way the base is fashioned than the actual thickness. The fit and finish is good and sturdy. The base has 4 ventilation slots, that make the HDD cool quite quickly. The hinges are also sturdy and smooth to operate. There is no 'harmonium' effect where the screen wobbles and shakes like in other laptops. One can easily mistake this 'humble' laptop for a Thinkpad.
Cons- If you are used to holding this laptop by the edges by the screen, then the hinges can be an impediment as they extend all the way till the end of the body. Though they seem sturdy, this does make me conscious. The matte surface attracts moist patches from your palm and wrists. But it can be cleaned with a few wipes.
Pros- The screen is not matte, but it is also not as reflective in nature as the 'True Life" screens in other laptops. Though bulbs do reflect off the screen, room reflections do not distract even at low brightness. Images and text are sharp. Also brightness levels can be adjusted across 15 levels allowing some degree of fine tuning of the brightness.
Cons- Colors appear slightly muted compared to my earlier Samsung. But its miles ahead of the non-reflective screens.
3). KeyBoard & Touchpad
Pros- Keys are large, contoured, have good travel and give decent feedback. Arrow keys are full size, a big requirement for me. Touchpad is matte and works well. It is Synaptics in my case, and has the familiar feel of the earlier Compaq's. Does not interfere during typing.
Cons- The text on the keys is somewhat 'in your face' with both lower and upper case symbols having quite thick and large text, as also the orange (come on!) Fn symbols. The keyboard seems far more cluttered than it actually is. Keys do not feel tactile in some cases, and there have been instances of keys being pressed twice without noticing it. Maybe its just me adjusting from my old keyboard.
Pros- Good config. The 2.4 GHz 3rd Gen Core i3 is among the fastest you get nowadays. The only faster ones are the 2.5 GHz 3rd Gen Core i3 and 2.4 GHz Core i5s. 4th Gen Core ix's are much slower in the interest of ultra high battery life.
500GB Harddisk is Seagate, and works quite smoothly. It is 5400rpm. But the performance is a notch over earlier models, and is quite smooth in daily life.
RAm is 4GB DDR3-1600, in one slot (not 2). So one slot is empty (as per CPU-Z).
Pros- Drivers are available at Lenovo's India website. Select the model and download. They are available for pretty much all OSs ranging from WinXP to Win 8.1 64 bit. Everything works fairly well, except on-screen display of hot keys that sometimes does not show after the laptop wakes from sleep.
Cons- In the case of drivers for Wifi, etc, there are drivers for multiple vendors, without an indication of how to select the right vendor for your particular machine. In the case of the Broadcom Wifi, the installation failed saying that the package was for XP, but I could install it through the Device Manager update driver screen.
6)- Battery Backup- Excellent. Ranges from 4hrs in normal use of Wifi, etc, and 7 hrs with no Wifi/Internet.
Conclusion- Really good laptop, smooth and powerful while having excellent battery life. A clear 5 stars from me. Just hope it lasts many years.