Getting the perfect 15.6″ laptop can be a challenging task. There are hundreds of them available to choose from. Somebody says one is better, and the next guy says the same thing about another laptop. The question is, who should you trust? Perhaps us on Tech For Pennies? In the Lenovo Z50 (80EC0087US) review below, we’ll tell you more about this AMD-powered laptop and whether it could perhaps be worthy of buying.
The main things
The core performance of Lenovo Z50 (80EC0087US) revolves around the quad-core AMD A10-7300 APU which is basically a processor and graphics engine combined into one to save space, money and power. It has 1.9GHz clock speed with turbo speed up to 3.2GHz and third party benchmarks indicate the processor is close to the slowest Core i5s in terms of performance. As such, there’s no question this AMD processor wouldn’t be up to both heavy and lightweight tasks.
Memory amount is respectable 8 gigabytes on two 4GB DDR3L sticks. There are hardly any occasions when more RAM would be needed, but the system supports up to 16GB RAM nonetheless.
The storage solution is a traditional 5400RPM 500GB hard drive. Storing all of your files there is convenient (such a drive can host tens of thousands of photos), but if you wanted the smoothest user experience, using solid-state drive would be preferred.
Display and graphics
Lenovo Z50 (80EC0087US) has a glossy 15.6″ non-touch display. It sports a 1366×768 resolution. As somebody else commented, it’s rather sad to see such a low resolution, but that’s pretty much the fate of budget laptops. If you wanted 1920×1080 you’d most likely have to pay more.
The integrated Radeon R6 is responsible for the graphics. Its suitability for gaming is mediocre at best, the performance being somewhere between Intel HD 4400 and 4600. Playing the latest games probably works to a degree, but only on low resolution and settings you might get frame rates around 20 with titles like Thief and Watch Dogs. The older and less demanding the game is, the more settings you can up without having detrimental effect on FPS.
Lenovo Z50 (80EC0087US) offers two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port to connect different peripherals to the laptop. In addition to HDMI output, there’s also VGA for somewhat better monitor support.
Networking consists of Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11b/g/n WiFi adapters. The latter also supports Bluetooth 4.0.
The laptop features a DVD burner, located on right. In addition for data transfers, there’s a 2-in-1 media card reader that supports SD and MMC cards.
A 720p HD webcam is installed on top of the screen.
Some other things to keep in mind?
Lenovo Z50 (80EC0087US) comes with pre-installed Windows 8.1 (64-bit) which some might find annoying, partly because the laptop doesn’t sport a touchscreen.
The keyboard is a non-backlit one and there’s a 10-key numeric pad on the right side of it.
Typical for a budget 15 incher, the laptop weighs 5.29 pounds and its battery lasts up to 5 hours.
Summing it up
Lenovo Z50 (80EC0087US) is a solid laptop for your everyday computing needs. The quad-core CPU and 8GB RAM is a powerful combo which won’t let any home or office user down. The notebook is alright for occasional gaming, although don’t expect to have both high FPS and full settings on it. There are not many things I can complain about by looking at the specs – perhaps Windows 8 would be one, but at some point notebooks based on older Windowses won’t be available anyways. All in all, getting this Lenovo for less than 500 bucks would constitute a good deal in my opinion.