Lenovo has been pumping out a lot of laptops lately. All of them are undoubtedly at least decent, knowing the manufacturer’s history of excellent products. Lenovo G50 80E30181US is one of these newer models, featuring AMD A8 processor, nice 6GB RAM and half a terabyte drive. But are those things useful for you? Let’s see more about that.
Processor-wise, Lenovo G50 80E30181US relies on AMD A8-6410. It’s a quad-core CPU clocked at 2.0GHz, with turbo frequency up to 2.4GHz. It’s a direct competitor to mobile Core i3s from the Intel side, reaching a 2500 grade in PassMark software tests. Considering the low price of this laptop, it’s quite good bang for your buck, and everyday computing is piece of cake for the AMD processor. You can even try some heavier stuff such as editing graphics or videos, although expect less than optimal performance running advanced software.
That being said, the 6GB memory will help. It’s more than the usual four gigabytes, giving you an upper hand with multitasking. The RAM is upgradeable to 16GB so feel free to add more. In order to do that, you’ll have to remove the installed chip(s) first as they occupy the two memory slots on mainboard.
The 500GB 5400RPM hard drive offers good baseline storage, the same amount than other budget notebooks do. Half a terabyte is equal to a hundred thousand images, so adequate space for vacation photos and more is guaranteed. The manual also has steps for replacing the hard drive, so putting in a bigger one or even an SSD is possible. But indeed the current 500GB drive has to be removed first, as there is space for only one drive at a time.
Display and graphics
Lenovo G50 80E30181US has a 15.6 inches display with 1366×768 resolution. Many are the opinion about this setup, but for general use I’d say it’s fine. Besides, you’d have to pay double this price to get a Full HD display. And if it’s a basic home laptop you’re after, I don’t know if better 1920×1080 resolution would justify price that much higher. The display doesn’t support touch either, but in my experience the pre-installed Windows 8.1 works fine on a normal screen once you get used to it. It takes maybe a week, after that Windows 8 is a smooth sail.
There’s a trend to include a tiny graphics engine within a laptop processor. Due to size limitations this is often the only way to go. But there is a downside to this: integrated units are damn slow. In other words, this means bad gaming experience. In Lenovo G50 80E30181US, the unit is called Radeon R5 (Beema), a bit slower than the famous Intel HD 4000. To give you a real life example, Battlefield 4 should average around 20FPS on low settings. It is playable, but lag would be constantly visible. If you use Optifine and low details, Minecraft should reach up to nice 50 frames per second.
Lenovo G50 80E30181US contains three USB ports. One of those is USB 3.0, it has a blue connector for easy identification. Full size HDMI and VGA outputs are provided too, so connecting a PC display or HDTV is possible if you prefer a bigger screen.
Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45), 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 are available for networking. DVD burner is included as well, and the SD card slot can be used to expand storage or upload files from portable devices.
The laptop has a fixed webcam and microphone. Resolution of the cam is 640×480 (0.3MP), not a lot, but should suffice for occasional video chats.
Are there other important things?
Lenovo G50 80E30181US is quite light for a 15 incher. It weighs 4.6 pounds while most other notebooks are in the 5+ lbs range. Of course, for travelers it’s still quite much, although carrying it with you now and then shouldn’t be a hassle. Users reported three-four hours of use on the 4-cell battery, about the same than competitors offer.
Another thing some people commented was the bloatware. There are Lenovo and third party programs pre-installed. They can be annoying because system usually runs slower. But nobody forces you to keep the crapware installed: after you delete them, the computer should run at a speed it deserves.
The keys on this model are not backlit. A dedicated numeric pad is available, which many people find easy to type numbers with.
Lenovo G50 80E30181US is a decent laptop for homes or small offices where huge performance is not required. The AMD A8 processor and 6GB RAM are enough for all daily software, and fans of Minecraft will also get smooth frames on this rig. HDMI, WiFi and Bluetooth all are useful connections to have. For the price, I can’t find anything big to complain. Just uninstall the bloatware and you’re good to go. The Lenovo should make an excellent computer for the budget-minded or perhaps start-ups looking for an economical laptop.