Lenovo laptops: Geared for performance

Sudhir Chowdhary Posted online: Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 0000 hrs
When Lenovo bought over IBM’s loss-making personal computer business for $1.75 billion in 2005, there was widespread speculation that the latter’s ThinkPad line of laptop computers will suffer a setback. After all, an iconic American brand was going into the hands of the Chinese! ThinkPads then and even now are known for their minimalist, black design and superb build quality; older models are revered by technology enthusiasts, collectors and power users due to their durable design and relatively high resale value. Few are aware that ThinkPad laptops have also been used in space by the crew of the International Space Station.

Cut to present. Far from taking a hit, the ThinkPad business at Lenovo is alive and thriving. But the fact remains that Lenovo’s PC business is under siege from powerful smartphones and super-fast tablets. No wonder, the company is remodeling itself as a force in mobile devices. Recently, the Chinese PC major sent across its Lenovo IdeaPad Z510 laptop and two ThinkPad ultrabooks—Lenovo x240s and Lenovo T440—for a product review. Among these, the IdeaPad has created quite a buzz in the market these days. Let us see how the three machines stack up in terms of performance.

Lenovo IdeaPad Z510

This laptop is ideal for those users looking for the highest possible performance for as little money as possible. Let me be more specific: The Lenovo Z510 laptop, according to me, is a genuine mobile entertainment hub powered by the 4th Generation Intel Core processor. It has great audio, a full high definition display, ample storage, and surprising affordability all combined to keep you smiling.

Priced at R55,629, the Z510 is a successor of the Z500 notebook series. It has a slim 15.6-inch display with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a Backlit AccuType keyboard. The acclaimed AccuType keyboard is ergonomically designed to make typing more comfortable and to reduce errors. And, with backlit keys, you’ll be able to type with ease even in low-light conditions.

Technically speaking, the Z510 has Windows 8.1 operating system, Intel HD Graphics 4600, memory of upto 8 GB Dual Channel DDR3L-1333/1600 MHz (2 SO-DIMM slots), hard disk drive of upto 1TB HDD 5400 RPM and an DVD reader/writer (dual layer).

Stylish in dark chocolate, the Z510 also has an upscale tactile feel which makes it a pleasure to use. A user will enjoy a crisp, clear immersive surround sound experience over dual JBL-designed stereo speakers with the latest Dolby audio enhancement. That’s not all. The Z510 is optimised for the new Windows 8 interface, and its intelligent touchpad enables easy scroll, zoom and rotate functions for comfortable control of the laptop. What’s more, with its OneKey Recovery feature, a user can recover from a virus or software problem at the touch of a button. Should a corruption arise within your system, OneKey Recovery can quickly identify and repair the issue while also protecting any associated data.

Select Z510 models also feature Lenovo Voice Control—that is, a user can gain the ability to issue his/her PC with simple voice commands and, if you don’t want to type, dictation of documents and emails. Pretty cool, isn’t it?

Overall, the Z510 is really nice as an entertainment and work-related machine. Sound quality and surfing the web are perfect. It looks great and Windows 8.1 is pretty good too. I would recommend this to every one!

Estimated street price: R55,629

Lenovo ThinkPad T440

At the outset let me state that this laptop is light in design, but heavy in performance. It is a business laptop at its core, offering long battery life, a great keyboard and fast performance in a thin and light design. Company officials maintain that this is one laptop whose every feature has been designed for its user’s comfort. After all, the ThinkPad T Series laptops have a legendary reputation amongst business users or anyone who needs to get serious work done.

Out of the box, its becomes evident that the ThinkPad T440 continues this rich tradition, offering long battery life, strong performance, a best-in-class keyboard and an optional 1080p touch screen, all in a durable, 1.8 kg package. It has a 14-inch high definition screen with multitouch capability and full high definition display options, for clear and sharp visuals. The T440 has a rather plain matte black lid instead of the luxurious soft-touch, rubberised lids Lenovo used on the older ThinkPad laptops.

With usability comes superior performance: 4th generation Intel Core processors, 1 TB of storage, and 10 hours of battery life. The T440 lets you handle complex spreadsheets, large documents, and visually-intensive presentations with ease.

In terms of usage, the ThinkPad T440’s 1920 x 1080 touch display offered vibrant colours and sharp images. When I surfed some videos from YouTube, the colours appeared deep and lively. Though glossy, the panel did not reflect back much light and provided extremely wide viewing angles; colours did not even wash out at 90 degrees to the left or right.

Like the BlackBerry handsets, Lenovo ThinkPads have long set the gold standard for typing comfort, and the T440 more than lives up to this tradition. The computer offers a backlit keyboard with very strong tactile feedback, great key spacing and a slightly curved key shape that makes it easy to avoid adjacent letter errors. It bottom-mounted speakers were also loud enough to fill a small room. You can even bolster your productivity by adding an extra screen, using the miniDisplayPort with audio, or VGA port.

In terms of performance, thanks to superior tech specs the ThinkPad T440 offered very strong performance that was good enough for demanding productivity work. It carries a retail price tag of Rs 1,00,800.

Estimated street price: Rs 1,00,800

Lenovo ThinkPad X240

This is probably the thinnest and lightest full-featured ThinkPad that I have come across in recent times. The 12.5-inch ThinkPad X240 takes portable productivity to the next level with a powerful Intel 4th Generation Core Series processor, an improved design and an optional full-HD touch screen. Despite being 17.65 mm thin and weighing 1.29 kg, it offers VGA, mini-display port and two USB 3.0 ports for good connectivity.

Adding to comfort and convenience are full high definition IPS touch screen display, rock-solid carbon fibre construction and a glass TrackPad. Combined with the latest Intel processors and longer battery life, the X240s is truly a robust machine. As mentioned earlier, the X240 packs a fourth-generation Intel Core processor, so you can expect strong battery life. It is fitted with two batteries and a battery bridge that enables you to swap a depleted battery for one that’s fully charged without turning the machine off.

With its impressive tech specs, the X240 offers performance that is good enough for even the most demanding productivity tasks and some light gaming. Take my word, if you are looking for a workhorse laptop with incredible battery life, Lenovo’s X240 is a solid choice.

Estimated street price: Rs 1,03,200