I first want to preface this review by saying I’m an extensive Mac OS X user. I haven’t touched Windows computers since the early Windows 8 Beta days of 2012(?) and haven’t wanted to go back since I got my first Macbook. Be sure to remember that when reading this information as my opinion will be biased but I will also keep this review factual.
Last year at IFA (and subsequently at this year’s CES and MWC), we got a load of manufacturers releasing new and upgraded series of their products, namely dealing with smart-homes, with Lenovo not wanting to be a disappointment. They’ve so far this year, unveiled new series for their Yoga, Thinkpad, Ideacentre, and also their Ideapad. The latter, I’ve gotten from Lenovo last month to extensively review in the form of the Ideapad 500 (JUS configuration).
As one of their more strictly powerhouse/productivity computers, instead of focusing also on aesthetics or features like “Hybrid-ity”, the Ideapad is made to pack a punch. It comes packed with high-end specs, especially my configuration, but looks like a business computer. Let’s dive in below with a list of the specs and more below.
- 6th Generation Intel Core i7-6500U Processor (2.50GHz 1866MHz 4MB)
- Operating system
- Windows 10 Home 64
- 15.6″ FHD LED Anti-Glare with Intel® RealSense™ 3D camera (1920×1080)
- AMD MESO XT DDR3L 2G
- 8.0GB PC3-12800 DDR3L 1600 MHz
- Hard Drive
- 1TB 5400 RPM+8GB SSHD
- 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, VGA, HDMI, 4-in-1 card reader, RJ-45, audio combo jack
Shown above is a beast of ports that, IMO, can only be improved with marginal upgrades, such as doubling the RAM or giving a bigger SSD for the hybrid drive. As for any casual or business user though, this should be more than to conquer the daily tasks, and even for some light gaming.
The computer never slowed down in my use of it, no matter what i threw at it. I wasn’t able to test real video editing (which is part of my daily activities) since I don’t use a Windows compatible product, but everything thing else was a breeze. I personally don’t care for anti-glare screens, but I can see where they’d come handy in an office setting with big corporate windows everywhere — to me it just doesn’t give the computer that extra oomph in the aesthetics department.
With that said though, the display has great viewing angles and has a pretty accurate color palette, along with somewhat high brightness and great low-light levels. I’m not sure if it was the anti-glare coating but even at the highest brightness settings, the Ideapad 500’s screen wasn’t at the usual blindingly bright levels. I assume though this helps with the non-glaring of the screen.
As far as other performance comments go, the computer doesn’t get hot pretty much ever but the battery doesn’t last long enough for me to fully stress it out on the go. The advertised battery life is about 4 hours, and that’s a pretty accurate, albeit it pretty low, estimate. One of my main gripes about the computer is the paltry battery life of it, but I’m guessing Lenovo expect this to be a more stationary device rather than a mobile one like with their Yoga series.
Speaking of mobile vs stationary, this is a particularly heavy computer. Coming in at, at least 5.1 pounds (some of the components can add to that), you won’t be listing and moving this computer with one hand. Also it’s notably big with the 15.6in display with another 1+ inch of bezel, you’ll need some space on your desk for use — it measures 10” by 15” when flat. For a laptop of this size, I didn’t want t use it much on the go, which for me defeats the point of a laptop, and also made me only want to use if for time extensive tasks since I knew I’d most likely be sitting at a desk when using it.
The keyboard is also easy to use and well spaced out. I had no problem with the key configuration, except having to adjust usage for the right-side shift key which kinda blended into the up arrow key. There’s also an attached number pad which is too be expected with a computer this size, but unfortunately no backlight. As far as the speakers go, which are brought to you by JBL, they are very loud and clear. Any time you wanna sit and listen to music or watch a movie, you’ll be immersed in a great soundstage of audio.
All in all the computer performs like a beast, and will be very handy for that business customer in mind. I won’t delve too much on the Windows side of thing, simply because I’m no real expert/user of it and have many personal gripes with the software, but I will say that there are only a few apps that Lenovo has preloaded onto the computer: Lenovo ID, Companion, Okekey Recovery, and Settings.. These apps while may not be completely necessary, will provide support for the casual user.
Lastly, I want to talk about the look of the Ideapad 500. It’s a bit boring and utilitarian, in the sense where it won’t draw any eyes. I will say I feel like the white color finish pops more than the black option, and has more of classy look. Other than that, it’s just another computer that you’d see in maybe a model home…
Like I’ve said throughout this review, this is a great workhorse computer, not enough to completely get me over from Mac but not because of it’s performance. It looks decent, performs amazing, and (with my configuration) has specs that won’t need to be upgraded from for a few years. That being said this computer right now runs for $750 (for the black color, the white has a weird $150 upcharge), but I’d spring for the highest end model that has double the RAM for only $50 more. You can order everything through Lenovo’s site, and even customize your option a bit more during checkout.
If you’re looking for a main computer in your house, but don’t want to settle at a desktop, the Lenovo Ideapad 500 is a worthy contender.Get it from Lenovo