Pros: The full-size keyboard layout is good, with a full number pad. Although some keys are smaller (the keypad 0 is shortened to make room for the right arrow) they are mostly in the standard location.
Sound output is very good (considering the lower bass from the speaker size), with no distortion at high volumes.
The screen gets very bright and colors are good after software calibration. Up-down contrast shifting is minimal.
Video card performance is amazing - I was able to eke out 50-70 FPS on Low and 30-50 FPS on Medium settings for World of Warcraft. MMOs and older games are very playable at native resolution (1366x768) with medium quality settings on the 5500 internal graphics.
Although the included HDD is only 5200 RPM, performance was good overall at roughly 80MBps.
The case is solid with no noticeable flex. All surfaces other than the screen bezel are "brushed metal" textured matte plastic and don't show grease or fingerprints easily.
The laptop is very easy to upgrade. There is a single large bottom panel that exposes both memory slots, the HDD caddy, and the mini-PCIe slot (wifi card pre-installed and the antenna wires routed to the slot). Everything is reachable with minimal effort.
All drivers are loaded onto the C drive of the laptop - no need to go to the Lenovo site to download them! I copied them to a USB thumbdrive as a backup.
Cons: The CPU won't recognize higher speed RAM - the hard limit is DDR3-1600, so if adding memory get the lowest CAS (at 1.35 volts or lower) rating you can. The CPU also won't recognize regular-voltage RAM. There are two slots for a maximum of 2x8GB.
Key travel is extremely limited, around 2mm. There isn't much feedback from hitting keys. The NumLock key is right next to the backspace and will be hit on accident unless you get used to the layout.
The battery is probably too small. In real-world testing I got about 3 hours of web browsing with the screen at high brightness. The laptop is low-power overall and could do a lot better with a bigger battery.
The screen is TFT and has poor side to side viewing angles - although colors don't badly shift brightness is very affected. Up and down is not as bad as most screens of this type - just some color shifting depending on screen tilt.
There are many, many hidden partitions on the drive for BIOS options, recovery options, and other things. Cloning the drive to a SSD was very difficult, and I ended up changing the BIOS boot settings to "Legacy" from UEFI-only and re-installed Win8.1
Overall Review: The BIOS and boot options are accessed by booting from a power button hidden next to the power port; there is no keyboard code for entering the BIOS.
The wired LAN port has an attached flap - this is designed to stay in place as you connect the cable, it doesn't stay moved out of the way if you try and open it manually.
The (small) power brick connector looks very much like a USB type-A port, there's probably the possibility of confusion if you don't pay attention to the port layout.
6GB of RAM seems enough for most uses, I ended up not needing to upgrade it to 8.
Pros: Good value and lightweight. The all plastic case feels a little cheap after using Samsung Chronos, and Dell Precision Laptops with metal housings, but this didn't cost anywhere near what those models cost and is also much lighter. Screen is bright and keyboard is large and comfortable. Optical drive is a plus since a lot of slimlines are not including them. Battery life is good at 2.5 hours or so for web browsing and regular tasks like data entry, office productivity. Case is matte finish and doesn't show fingerprints or get "slimy" to the touch when using the palmrest or trackpad. The trackpad itself is responsive unlike other brands like ASUS and Samsung. Latest Intel Chipset and Video which is a plus.
Cons: Windows 7 was difficult to get installed because the wifi and Bluetooth drivers offered by Lenovo didn't work. There was another driver that said the system wasn't supported but I cannot remember which one it was. I ended up getting the drivers from Lenovo for the Bluetooth and wifi from my own internet search that came from another model. All other aspects of the W7 downgrade were fine. Change bios to use legacy support worked fine, backed up my W8 key before hand with produkey for reinstall later and made restore discs before the downgrade. Also Intel support was somewhat lacking with this being the newest intel chipset.
Overall Review: http://support.lenovo.com/us/en/downloads/ds034048
Broadcom Wifi Driver for W7
Broadcom Bluetooth Driver for W7
Broadcom Wifi Lan Software for Keyboard Switch to Work
Cons: Nothing major
Overall Review: I bought this laptop for work. I am a graduate student and mostly use the computer for Microsoft office and image analysis on ImageJ. The processor is snappy, it boots quickly, and has no issue opening large image files.
The battery life is decent for a laptop, it's probably a little on the small side for this computer.
As others have commented, the keyboard buckles a bit when typing, but I have not found this to affect anything.
Obviously not a gaming rig but this would be great for college students or most work purposes.
I do not expect you will find a better machine at or even near this price.
Pros: In regards to Scott C's post. I read his review of this particular laptop and for the most part made my final decision based off of his review. I did research on the lenovo brand as well as making sure it lined up with my plans of use for a notebook. A student attending college classes needing something with decent power. A quick CPU that an i5 delivers, Ample memory plus capability to add more easily. Hard Disk I can easily replace to a higher capacity but I don't see the need right now as I have two 2TB USB drives. It's a quick little machine at a "GREAT" price tag. Thanks new egg. Window's 8.1 installed. Yeah the interface takes some getting used to after using XP, Vista, ME, 9x for so long. But it brings a fresh take to the table. We'll see as time goes. Boot process is lightning fast.
Cons: The keyboard does take a little getting used to as it is a little tighter than my previous laptop which I'm hanging on to. Just as backup machine. I wish the keyboard was back lit but I can't have everything for a nice price tag. The only other thing I could probably say would be a nice addition since it is a High Definition display is having a blu ray player out of the box instead of DVD but that could be a later upgrade.
Overall Review: Windows 8.1 is a fresh new GUI. I like having the up to date at least until 10 is released OS to learn and familiarize myself with, The more hands on you have with something the better. The laptop isn't piled with unwanted software at start which is a nice change for once at least from what I've seen. I can't stand Mc Afee but I won't turn down a free trial. Again the keyboard will probably be the biggest thing to get used to but it's not that big of a deal to overly concern yourself with when considering this machine. It's a great laptop for students. It's lightweight and affordable. Gaming I haven't done anything really with but I can imagine most MMO's you can play such as WOW for one as long as you don't crank the setting to maximum. Other than that Great laptop. Thanks Lenovo, and Newegg!
Pros: The price, for one. I got this for $389 from Newegg and for the price, it's pretty solid.
Very upgradable and requires very little work to do so. I was able to put 16gigs DDR3 + a Samsung SSD in this thing out of the box and it took about two minutes. The upgraded version runs Linux Mint blazingly fast, and even before upgrade, my one-time bootup of Win10 wasn't _terribly_ slow.
Graphics ability is good. Even though it isn't a dedicated card, HD5500 doesn't slow down even a little on playback, etc. Very decent.
Comes with a DVD drive, which is a rarity these days.
Screen brightness is okay compared to my (2010-era) laptop.
It's tremendously light. It's not an ultrabook, obviously, so the lightness is because of cheaply-made plastic yuckyness (see cons below). Even so, it's light.
Cons: There are tons of cons about this machine that started rearing their heads once it was no longer returnable. I typically ignore "usual cons" (screen resolution, slow HDD...) on machines that are this cheap but these are "beyond low-quality".
The biggest problem is the extremely flimsy, low-quality case. I expected super-flimsy for the price and even I was surprised at how cheap it felt. That alone would have been fine, but a few months later, the internal plastic that holds the screen mount screws into place broke off completely. Picture this: There was no way to put the two back case screws in because of the break, so every time I opened/closed the screen, the back of the case would separate so that the guts of the machine were exposed. After taking it apart and inspecting, I realized I had to buy a new bottom case cover + wristpad. Got 'em used on a popular online auction site for ~$50 and after totally rebuilding the thing + spending $40, got it back to functioning fine.
Then, the flimsy membrane keyboard broke; a key fell out randomly. Another trip to the auction site, another $20 and it works fine. It was a cheap fix that took a bit of time, and if you're not hardware savvy, it may have been a bummer. I didn't mind too much.
Now, it's starting shocking me whenever I lift it by the front right of the case (earphone jack area). I'd say that I get a small electric jolt ~50% of the time I lift it there. I'm not too thrilled about that.
The trackpad randomly stops working and it only starts working again when I stop using it and (seriously...) blow on it, so it's as if there's dust there but there's not. Also, since I changed the palm rest, this is an entirely new trackpad and still, the problem persists. I'm assuming it's some sort of electrical issue.
Other small things:
* Randomly runs hot, even when idling
* Doesn't behave well with Linux hibernate functionality.
* Wifi is about 50% slower than that of a ~700 Acer. To be expected, I guess, and given
that Lenovo blacklists nearly every Wifi card on the market, not one that's worth fixing
for me personally. FWIW: It's still very capable. I get ~50Mbps (on connections where the
Acer gets ~110-120), so quickness is still there.
* The key layout is weird. The F4 key closes the open screen and the F6 key locks your
trackpad so if you do dev work and use F5 to refresh a lot (like I do), it'll drive you mad.
I ended up having to use xmodmap to completely unprogram both F4 and F6.
* Speakers are moderately loud but have almost no bass.
* A full battery charge lasts ~90 minutes on full brightness, doing average tasks.
I've squeaked ~4 hours out if it's super-dim but don't expect more than that.
Overall Review: I've mentioned this before in other reviews but: I tend to prefer solutions that are cheap. For me, buying a machine + maxing out its upgrades for < $550 was important, so for people like me (for whom the performance + price point outweigh the inevitable mishaps and lost time for fixes later), I'd recommend it.
Knowing what I know now, I'd likely have spent $100ish more to get a better-made machine with approximately the same performance.
All in all: It's a capable machine at a good price. I'd have given it 4 eggs if not for the electric shock, but I can't it good conscience give 80% to a machine that could ostensibly kill a person on a pacemaker, etc.
Pros: Reasonably fast
Easy to swap for SSD
Plenty of RAM for general usage
Decent build quality
Cons: None really
Overall Review: For a time, this was simply the best laptop you could get for the money. Unfortunately, that time has passed, and there are now other laptops occupying the same slot. Still, this was a solid buy, and if you can get similar specs in the range of $400, go for it; you won't be disappointed.
Pros: I'm just adding this on as an edit to my other comment, which claims this thing has a 32-bit OS, but it is confirmed to have a 64-bit OS. I apologize if it was a factor/will be a factor in your decision-making process.
Also, the graphics that are integrated in this laptop aren't bad. I could easily do some light gaming on this.
Cons: It's near impossible to find an edit button on this site.
see my other review.
Overall Review: This laptop can fairly easily get dirty, or at least you tend to notice it more easily. Just brush it off and it'll be good. It's not really a con, but it's something I just want to point out.
I don't know if this is con-worthy, but Lenovo has actually created it's own partition in my laptop's hard drive. Either that, or they have a different drive in there, which would be pretty cool, especially for an SSD RAID config. Probably the former. I find this quite odd. Why anyone would want to go out of their way to put Lenovo programs on their laptop is beyond me. Let alone take extra space on the hard drive just in dedication to those programs. I know I never use them, but some others might beg to differ. It is probably on your laptops, too. To check, just go to any folder, go to my pc, or this pc and there will be 2 partitions, one being Windows8_OS, or Windows10_OS, and there will be another drive right next to it that is labeled LENOVO.
Other than that, I can't think of any more pros and cons off the top of my head.
Pros: This is the first(and probably last) competitively priced Lenovo laptop I will ever see/have ever seen.*
*when it's on a huge sale. I got it for 389.99 and not a penny more. I'm not saying that other products don't have to be on sale to get the best deal for the price range, but usually if not nearly all the time(except for this one, of course), Lenovo gets beaten out on Price To Performance ratio.
cool as a cucumber
easily upgradable(all you have to do is take a standard-sized Phillips screwdriver, turn the laptop over (when it's been turned off, of course.), unscrew 3 screws at the bottom(the side opposite the battery), slide it open, and BAM! you can upgrade it's RAM, wireless card, and HDD however you see fit.)
fast start-up considering it has a 5400rpm stock Hard Drive
survived through all the carnage and craziness of my long trip along the mountains long enough for me to type up this review
gets a strong wifi signal from my room to the kitchen, which is on the other side of my house.
upgrades to Windows 10 eventually
has foam padding for the Hard drive/solid state drive(SSD sold separately)
Cons: the keyboard is a bit push-in squishy. It hasn't caused any problems, but it's just a thing to watch out for.
the pc starts up pretty fast, but it takes awhile to get going.
runs/used to run(Windows 10 is coming out soon to a computer near you!) windows8.1
yes, I just went there, but it's desktop mode really pays off for it, so it's not too much of a con, really.
a 32-bit OS as far as I can tell, which means that any RAM upgrade beyond 4GB is not nearly as useful as it is w/a 64-bit OS, since that's all a 32-bit OS can support. And I say nearly because of the integrated graphics.
BLOATWARE including SUPERFISH, which is a virus that infects system 32. Why does Lenovo allow this to happen? I don't know. But
All the bloatware can be cleaned up using not-included anti-virus programs.
Verified retailers shouldn't be putting viruses on their computers.
As many of these problems grow, we will just have to deal with them.
Start by downloading THIS TODAY!!!(Seriously. you may not know it, but think vertically).
Thanks for reading my comments and thoughts on this.
And of all the software to be put on this thing, it doesn't come w/Microsoft Office, or office 365 or whatever you darned kids call it these days.