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on 30 December 2013
I bought this laptop based on the fact I had many games I wanted to play. However, I wanted a laptop as I am in different places all of the time. I have been very techy for a long time, because I love to try everything. I knew what spec would be good for the price. I am super-happy with my laptop, the gt 635m graphics handles battlefield 4, team fortress 2, crisis 3 way over expectation. I was worried that I would find things slow as it is a 5400rpm hdd. However, tested, these speeds are over average and very rarely do I notice speed issues. Here are some games I play and some comments:
Battlefield 4: Easily handles on medium - high with ultra becoming a bit stuttery, but still is playable
Crysis 3: Again medium - high settings amazing
TF4: High - Ultra Easily
I was also worried because of the wifi and brightness issues. Visit: [...]
this tells you that although windows 8.1 is supported on z500, it is not recommended as there are problems with drivers. So don't upgrade yet!
Also the screen res - its not that bad. games look really good and all of the games I play support it. The screen surprised me actually, because it didn't look bad compared to my 1920x1080 PC monitor
You may want to uninstall some of the unneeded applications/things Lenovo put on there.
Build quality is good BUT (Amazons Fault) - 1st order: Black and not white. Even though there is no black option on the amazon website. However sent back easily and quickly
2nd: Huge chip in the side. Again sent back and replaced
3rd: Perfect!
Backlit keyboard looks VERY nice in the dark, but a bit tacky in the day
The webcam does not look like HD but apparently is. Luckily I don't use it. BUT don't but this for the webcam as its terrible
There is flex in the keyboard but not a problem to me.
Last thing is that it (graphics card) doesn't get over temp when playing games (I monitored). However, still recommend buying a cooling stand as demanding games shouldn't really be played on laptops.
I hope this review helps but I recommend (for gamers with a low budget) this laptop.
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on 26 November 2013
My only disappointment with this laptop is that, finding myself needing a laptop urgently, I purchased it from a well known PC retailer and subsequently found it on Amazon for over £100 less later on. Although this was obviously my fault and not the laptop's. It was also irritating to sit through the well known PC retailer's hard-sell scare talk about needing a helpline and insurance which I declined to take up due to it being a scandalous rip off.

The laptop itself is fantastic. It's easily the best one I've owned in line of five laptops that includes a Sony Vaio, that was more than twice the price of this one at the time. (The Sony Vaio was the actually the worst due to a faulty, overheating chip. Sony extended the warranty by a year for the laptops affected but then made it so difficult to reach someone on their premium rate 'customer service' line who could both understand and resolve the situation that it rendered the gesture completely useless. I probably could have had the laptop fixed myself for less than the astronomical phone bills I started receiving).

Windows 8 did take a little getting used to. I had freezing problems and teething problems with drivers that took up some time trying to fix. It was also annoying and counterintuitive, hiding the restart and shut down function and removing the start button for example. However, all these problems were resolved in one go by the free upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. However, make sure you're not doing anything important if you upgrade. You're not given any option to postpone the restart and it takes over an hour to install. (I had been doing extremely well in a big online poker tournament when the installation started, much to my chagrin).

I love the features on this laptop, such as the touch screen and the backlit keyboard (fn and space to activate) and the spec is great for the price. It really looks the part too with a stylish and sleek design. And no matter how hard it works the temperature never seems to get above luke warm. But what I really wanted to get across in this review was just how robust these laptops are.

I had placed a full jug of water on a shelf above my desk whilst working away on my laptop - and I think it's obvious what's coming next. I reached up to get the jug and my grip somehow slipped, flipping the jug over the side, lid flying off and sending water pouring over my desk light and laptop. The light fizzled for a few seconds before going out permanently and my poor laptop completely died. It was totally drenched in water. Black screen and no sign of life whatsoever. I quickly used my phone to look up what to do when faced with a laptop spillage. It said to wipe it down, shake out the excess water and leave it upside down in a warm dry place for 2-3 days. I didn't hold out much hope as there was so much water involved but I took a few days off and let it dry out. I fleetingly wished I'd let the well known PC retailer shake me down for that insurance.

So three days later I tentatively pressed the on button and much to my delight it starts up. And it works absolutely fine! I was so happy! The only problem I encountered with it was with the pointer pad thingy. It was completely unresponsive to begin with but after a few days I could move the pointer around again. A few days after that the left click came back to life and then the right click a couple of days after that. The only residual damage is that it no longer allows you to click and drag using the pad and the right click is less sensitive. However, this is obviously resolved by using a mouse instead and is a small price to pay considering the scale of the accident.

I'm still amazed now that my laptop still works. I actually feel kind of proud of it each time I come to use it. Apparently the Ideapads don't fit into Lenovo's reputation for build quality but I found my experience to be different. My previous Acer laptop, costing about the same, lasted just over a year and would never have withstood that type of abuse. Lenovo is definitely going to be my brand of choice for the foreseeable future.

After reading some other reviews I noticed that a lot of users are having a problem adjusting the screen brightness on this laptop. This problem is actually caused by an update to the Intel graphics driver and can be fixed by reinstalling the previous version of the driver. There is a good explanation on how to do this here: [...] (It says it's for the P500 but also applies to the Z500). I hope this helps!
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on 14 December 2013
Ordered this for my daughter for xmas, when I first saw the price I had to double check that I'd ordered the correct spec. For an i7 machine I was pleasantly surprised when it came in for less than £550!!. Full spec was i7 processor 2.2ghz (with turbo ability to 3.2ghz when required), 6 gb memory, 1 tb (massive)hdd, onboard intel hd4000 graphics AND a dedicated Nvidia geforce gt635 (2 gb on board memory) graphics card, built in dolby theatre 4 software, 720p webcam, built in bluetooth, wifi, card reader, back lit keyboard (looks great all lit up with a white back light instead of the cheesy red or blue back lit ones I'd seen). The housing I got was the white one ( it's not shiny white it's a satin look ), feels top quality. The inside is a brushed aluminium look (not plastic actually metal) on the keyboard surround and silver plastic around the screen. I personally love windows 8 and have been using it since January on my desktop pc, I updated it to 8.1 and quite a few things weren't installed after the update so I'd recommend going onto lenovo website and download and install ALL the windows 8. 1 drivers on there for graphics cards etc. I've read a few reviews about 8.1 brightness issue on this laptop.. but they all recommended using the older driver on lenovo website and my brightness adjustment came back on. Another issue was that there was no dolby theatre 4 after 8.1 update but all I did was install the realtek hd sound driver off lenovo website and then go into the installed realtek folder in windows and double click on the dolby theatre .msi file to install it manually, I have no idea why it doesn't autoinstall itself but it all works perfect for me now. This laptop oozes quality, the screen isn't a full HD one which is the only negative thing I can say about it, but for this price I for one aren't complaining .

EDIT. I stand by all my opinions I posted above but the internal microphone hasn't worked from day one!! ( as confirmed by Lenovo themselves by doing all the checks they told me to do over the phone), and the battery now only charges to 99% so the battery reset gauge software to recalibrate the battery is useless as it requires to charge the battery to 100% then drain it to 0% then fully recharge it again. occasionally it goes from 50% to 0% in 15 mins!! while only surfing the internet!!. I held out for replacement stock to come back in, and when 4 came back into stock (I bought directly from amazon) I promptly arranged for a replacement instead of refund. I received an email confirming the reservation of the laptop and they emailed me the returns labels etc. However the following morning I got another email telling me there was no stock so I could still have a refund or replace it with another laptop ( but for the cost of this machine there was nothing with as good specs as this one). When I called customer services to ask why they'd proceeded to sell the 4 in stock instead of allocating one for me, I was told it was because I did the RMA online and the system doesn't auto reserve the replacement stock!!!!!, What kind of mickey mouse computer system does amazon use that it cant auto allocate a replacement for an item that is in stock!!!. My daughter is not happy as she wanted a white laptop for Christmas, and the only white one is this I7 one which from other retailers on here is about £160 more than I originally paid!!!. Shame on you amazon.
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on 2 January 2014
This laptop is great in many ways, however there were a couple of draw backs: the battery's durability has reduced significantly within the space of two months and the screen became very dark one day, I first thought it was a hardware issue but then the Lenovo support team guide me to some settings and they said it was a common issue.
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on 17 March 2014
This is just okay. If you are a software developer like me, using the function keys a lot, then you should think twice before going for this. The function keys can be used only by depressing the Fn key and the appropriate function key. So two keys to be used simultaneously. For example, if you need to press F1, you have to depress Fn and then simultaneously press F1. Otherwise F1 has an additional function on it (mute). It mutes the speakers on the laptop!
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on 9 March 2015
Buy at risk, had mine for less than two days when screen backlight failed (Buying refurb is risk you take I guess). Therefore use at night with lights off was fine, but during daylight hours impossible without straining eyes.

Amazon warehouse have offered to refund laptop and return postage or refund a repair upto £77. I will go for full refund option a buy a new laptop for piece of mind next. I will never buy a refurb again without looking first, this one had some heavy scratches where repair work was done and looked like someone had forced the keyboard out with a screw driver (not professional), if i had of seen it in a shop would have walked away.

Only criticism of Amazon warehouse is that they said they would not do a direct replacement as none are available? I currently see 5 on there listing so not sure why that is apart from the £40 raise in price since I purchased mine.

When laptop worked it was great can't fault it but I was upgrading from a very old low spec laptop. Windows 8 really will take some getting used to but can see once I find my way around it, it wont be to bad.
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on 11 November 2013
This review is for the i7 (i7-3632QM) 6Gb Z500 (white).

During two to three weeks of looking for the right laptop, I kept coming back to the Lenovo Z500, and eventually took the decision to purchase. So far I do not regret my decision at all - to me, this is an excellent laptop. My requirements were a slim but well built laptop, with a backlit screen and a backlit keyboard, minimum 6Gb RAM, built in SD card reader, dedicated graphics card, and an aluminium keyboard panel. This laptop meets all of these criteria (I'm not 100% sure the keyboard surface is aluminium, but it looks and feels like it is, and this is OK with me. I really didn't want plastic that would show up fingerprints. The keyboard keys are plastic, but these wipe clean quite easily).

The laptop, while nice and slim, is not the lightest laptop but is probably around average for a laptop of this size, and that is not an issue for me. It has a solid, well built feel to it. The backlit keyboard can look a little tacky if turned on during the day, mainly when you are not looking directly down at the keys, but in the gloom or at night not only does it serve a purpose but it looks pretty smart too.

I have seen a number of web reviews saying the screen is not that great, for me it looks perfectly fine, and packs a punch when the brightness is turned up. The audio is the best I've heard from a laptop, not at all tinny, but if you want it loud then obviously you will need external speakers.

Some have commented on Windows 8, I cannot factor that into my review as I removed the existing hard drive (1Tb) before even turning the laptop on, and replaced it with a 128GB (Crucial M4) SSD, and then installed Windows 7 on the laptop instead. Never have I seen such a complicated process to replace a hard drive in a laptop! I had to dismantle much of the laptop to get to it (I didn't count but would say I had to remove about 15 various screws in total, as well as disconnect and remove the keyboard panel as well as the bottom plastic casing which was particularly tricky), as would be the case if you wanted to replace the battery or update the RAM. Reattaching the keyboard cables was very fiddly and the air was blue for a while. Certainly I would not recommend anyone do this who isn't familiar with the inner workings of computers! (albeit the benefit is amazing).

Battery life is so-so, I seem to get about 2.5-3 hours use from it for just regular use i.e. web browsing or playing music, but that is with the battery only charging to 60% capacity (there is an Lenovo power management app that lets you set your battery to only charge to 60% if you mainly use the laptop connected to mains, this will help with your battery life in the long term). Having the screen brightness dimmer on battery than on mains makes a small difference also.

All in all I think this is the best laptop I could have got for my money. I'm very happy with the purchase.

P.S. Some website reviews have said the Z500 doesnt have an ethernet port, I can confirm it does (or at least the i7 model). I've also taken and uploaded a few photos of the laptop. FOr those interested it also scores an excellent 6.7 (out of 7) in the windows Experience Index score.
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on 12 March 2014
I've had this for several months and after some issues with Battery control and other things which required some support calls to a Lenovo authorised warranty site to update the drivers etc. (I'm not IT savvy but they were very helpful and talked me through the needed steps and sent email instructions) it has worked well and with the i7 CPU is very fast.. Be aware though this does NOT come with MS Office or any other type of Office applications. Windows 8 is also not everyone's favourite OS but can be learned and tolerated. Hence only 4 stars.
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on 17 November 2014
How it looks:
It looks lovely.The white does not pick up marks or fingerprints at all. As for inside it is really snazzy. The backlit keyboard is a great feature. I always, always use it, I can't imagine a laptop without it. The keyboard is so easy to type on and everything is laid out how you would expect. The screen looks great all of the time. Apart from there is a tiny bit of glare but this really isn't a problem. The brightness settings are fine, could do with going a little bit brighter but hardly at all I think I'm just being picky its perfectly okay :D One problem is the mousepad is great and works amazingly but gets scratched easily, and If I knew this would happen would have got a screen protector or something to prevent this so be warned. However do not let this put you off it is a tiny negative outweighed by brilliance of the rest of the laptop. Lights and exterior are all awesome. Fan can get hot while playing games but this has never caused problems and cools down very quickly. It is the same for all laptops.
It runs most (apart from really high demanding games) really well. I have successfully played sims 3 and 4 with very good graphics, there were a few crashes with sims 3 but this was down to windows 8 not the laptop, and can be fixed :) I have also played Skryim very well, with no faults, alongside other games. However if you are looking into serious gaming with high spec games you would want a computer.
Internet surfing:
However if gaming is not your thing, it's excellent for everything else too! The web browser (it comes with internet explorer but chrome is easily installed) is very fast, I'm never waiting for anything to load on the computers part. It's really great and images ect look wonderful.
Windows 8:
If you're new to windows 8 and are not a serious gamer or do serious demanding work with computer (typing and Microsoft office programs are fine) then Windows 8 will be fine for you. It can take a week or so to get used too but after that it is simple. I have had no problems with it and there is plenty of info on how to use it online if you get stuck.
The price:
I think it is maybe a bit expensive but they all are and you do get very good quality. I have had mine nearly a year and there have been no serious faults with it at all yet which is impressive.
Main points:
It holds charge reasonably well, not as well as advertised but that is to be expected.
It does start up really quickly but takes a minute or so before it actually loads anything but still pretty good for laptops.
It is not touch screen but you do not need that for a laptop in my opinion.
Microsoft office does not come with it therefore you will have to pay separately for that which you need to bear in mind.
Dvd player did not work for me but I think that was my fault or lack of trying. It is easy to install a VLC Media player which is simple and works much better.
Lots of space on laptop, more than you would need.
Sd slot is very useful for uploading pictures.
Desktop looks great.
Speakers are AMAZING compared to others. Really nice sound. Bass is handled very well.

This laptop is all round excellent. I nearly go as far to say perfect, nearly. This is as of November 2014. Any other details you would like feel free to comment or message me. Thank you :) Overall very pleased.
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on 19 January 2014
I knew before I bought it than one of the issue was there are only 3 usb ports. I think in this day and age there should be more but the main issue is where they are. 2 of them in the right side exactly where you would have your mouse. I know this is minor but it is irritating especially if you don't have a prime minister desk. Other than that, I found free program on the net to get Windows 7 interface (cannot get used to Windows 8) and that was one issue less. The specifications are really good for the price - I am not gaming- and the machine usually cruises through the tasks, the delivery was prompt and totally uneventful. Just what you want. I must say I don't like the colour and it is a shame it is the only one available for these specs, although I don't really mind (you only look a the screen and keyboard not the shell and here again the choice was clear). I am happy I have not had so far (one month) any bad experience like some other reviewers had apart from an issue with a dim screen that was resolved after a bit of research on the net. the machine is working steadily, I do like the keyboard and find it quite comfortable for an laptop (it has a number keyboard on the side which is very useful). To sum it up, if the usb had not been at the wrong place, it might have been a five star... Would still recommend unless you have a small space to work on and need a mouse.
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