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Weak battery life and poor screen contrast are combined with a high-quality aluminium finish and an excellent keyboard. But it does have some good features which will earn it some support. Lenovo has come up with a distinctive look for the Z The top surface of the base unit has a pleasant, high-end feel to it, thanks to the brushed aluminium surfaces, the finely perforated section above the keys, and the exactness of the workmanship.
Its appearance and texture contrast strongly with the glossy finish of the lid and screen edging. It makes sense to have it that way round; the areas which will see the most hand contact are matt, and therefore more resistant to fingerprints. This makes it easier to work with the machine; you only have to use a cleaning cloth on the front and back of the lid from time to time. The palm rest area, the base plate and the area above the keyboard sit firmly in position and do not flex at any point.
The base unit will move if you try to twist it with both hands, but only by a small amount. It is clear that the aluminium cover has a stabilising effect.
We could make very little impression on the lid when applying pressure with one finger, even in the centre. Holding the lid by two corners, we could only twist the screen by a few degrees each way.
It is impressively rigid. But when shaken and jolted on a car or train journey the lid does wobble noticeably , as it is held rather loosely by the hinges.
When the lid is opened as far as it will go about degrees it can wobble back and forth quite strongly. The IdeaPad Z has sufficient ports for connecting up a printer, router, mouse or hard drive. The majority of the ports are on the left-hand side, with the optical drive positioned on the right. The positioning of the ports towards the front of the machine is not especially helpful either. It would have made more sense to position these ports on the back of the machine or at least towards the back of one of the sides.
Docking stations are used with business notebooks to reduce the untidy appearance of ports, but there are no docking stations for the IdeaPad Z series. It did not come with Bluetooth, although some versions in the online shop do include it. It will communicate with your home network at the highest possible speeds. New owners are therefore advised to create a back-up using OneKey Recovery.
In case of mishap, provided the hard drive is still in one piece, the tiny OneKey Rescue switch loads the recovery set-up. Lenovo offers a month warranty for the IdeaPad Z series, on a bring-in basis you have to return the notebook yourself. It is a pebble-style keyboard with a light grey base, and each key is slightly concave which helps improve typing accuracy.
The keys respond crisply and offer enough travel, but the impact at the end of the keystroke could be considered too soft for some people.
However, this is not the fault of the keyboard base, which remains firm across its entire length. Lenovo has managed to fit a separate number pad into the layout, emphasising that this allrounder notebook has office capabilities. Having a separate number pad makes it easier to input figures. These keys are a little slimmer than the letter keys.
The biggest failing is that certain keys have been made smaller than they should be, like Enter, the right Shift key, and Backspace, while the arrow keys have been jammed into the layout without anything to separate them from the others.
One excellent feature is the clear white lettering on the keys. The touchpad is a Synaptics Multitouch Pad V7. Its surface is not completely smooth and level like you might expect; it is covered in small dimples which provide some resistance. However, your finger can still slide across it easily. The touchpad has a horizontal scrollbar disabled at first and a vertical scrollbar which is marked. We have nothing but praise for the touchpad buttons. With a substantial stroke depth , a barely audible click and a soft final impact, they seem a little shaky at first.
But in fact they turn out to be excellent to work with, because the tactile feedback they give is better than most consumer touchpads by a long way. This WXGA resolution is a little grainy for a Lenovo uses the same screen in its budget office laptop the IdeaPad G , and so the Z has exactly the same weaknesses. We measured the black level to be 1.
The widescreen display does not show black areas as a true deep black, as they would be on a perfect TFT monitor. Instead they have a greyish tinge to them, which even the colour-enhancing glossy finish cannot remedy. A weak contrast such as this is typical for office notebooks, allrounders and netbooks, and so it is not really surprising. The screen quality is acceptable for an office notebook or allrounder, though office users may have preferred a matt finish to reduce reflections.
The display would be completely inappropriate for image editing professionals. This means there are no lighter or darker patches. The screen is not really suitable for outdoor use, for two reasons. Its glossy finish and moderate brightness mean it cannot contend with strong sunlight.
Reflections obscure your view, depending on the direction of the light, and force you to reposition the lid. Unfortunately this is not demonstrated very well in our photos, as it was a heavily overcast, showery day, which made the picture quality quite acceptable outdoors.
If the viewing angle is offset vertically from above or below , the colours fade noticeably from around 20 degrees. Horizontally, we could deviate up to 45 degrees from the central line before the colours inverted strongly. If several people are gathered around the IdeaPad Z, to watch a film together or look at holiday photos for example, those coming from the higher and lower positions will have trouble making anything out, as the colours invert even with the smallest vertical change.
However, this criticism can be made of most office and allrounder laptops. Good screens are hard to come by in every category. The N was produced using the 45nm process and has a speed of 2. Core iQM , 4 x 1. So it has more L2 than the Core i3 or i5 processors, which have KB.
However, these come with L3 caches of 3, KB. The i3 also does not have Turbo Boost, so 2. The IdeaPad Z scored 1. This is on the same level as the iM , which scores around 1. Dual-core iM s would do better with scores from 2. In the other multicore benchmarks, the difference is somewhat greater but still not particularly marked.
The M is way out in front with 7, points. In the multicore rendering part of the Cinebench R10 64 Bit benchmark, the iM 6, points is slightly ahead of the N 6, points. This is because the iM can make use of four threads. Speed plays the decisive role in the single-core rendering part of the Cinebench R10 64 Bit. The N 2, points falls slightly behind the iM 2, points and significantly behind the iM 3, points. But the Z does not earn any extra points from its hard drive, as you can see from the HDD sub-score of 2, points.
The Vantage test produces a score of 4, for the Z This puts the But the Z scores lower, though not drastically lower, than the iM notebooks. Laptops with a stronger dedicated GPU do not necessarily produce better system performance. The closely related AMD P 4 x 2.
While this is only an average speed, it is standard for a modern 2. The hard drive is barely audible even during heavy use of the reading and writing heads. We had to put our ear to it to even hear it: This is an entry-level GPU which we would place in the upper half of our third performance class.
The memory has a speed of MHz, while the core has a speed of MHz. Despite the high speeds, the processing power is relatively small at gigaflops compared to the HD with depending on speed , because it only has 80 MADD processing cores available to it. The GPU surpasses its predecessor the HD in terms of gaming performance, thanks to its slightly higher speed.
However, it still only scored a weak 3, points in the 3DMark06 test. Intel systems with this GPU are at roughly the same level with around 3, to 3, points e. Because the HD has already been tested extensively, we only carried out two gaming tests. This hit science-fiction sequel by Blizzard is only moderately demanding in terms of graphics. But the HD in this Z can only manage The game is only really playable once you select the minimum detail setting 1, x The shooting in the integrated benchmark was not completely fluid 28 fps even on the lowest setting ; the middle setting gave a frame rate of The results of both gaming tests are clear: Modern and demanding games in particular should not be on your wish list.
But it has enough power to cope with older games like Left 4 Dead or World in Conflict on the medium detail settings. When it comes to noise, the Its biggest defect is a whistling, buzzing sound that emerges at certain medium fan speeds.
A touch-key with a fan symbol on it can be used to slow the motor down, which does reduce the noise level considerably, but fails to stop the buzzing sound.
This does not have any impact on performance; the processor speed remained the same during a CPU benchmark.
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