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on 12 January 2014
I did fair bit of research and finally bought this computer.

Its very good specs machine for its price. Its fast and does feel like a machine with i5 and dedicated graphics. Reviews of its graphic cards were very good at benchmarking websites. It looks good and is slimmer than other 15 inch screens. Keyboard is back lit which can be switched off if you wish to, sound quality is decent but better than £650 toshiba which I had to return due to faulty keyboard. Keyboard is good with keys not too big or too small and register fairly soft touch consistently. Hard disk is slow rpm (5400) but works faster than anticipated. screen is fairly big. Windows 8 takes a bit getting used to but with win 8.1 upgrade it is easier to use and I actually prefer it to win 7 now.

Camera is very poor quality.
Screen resolution is not HD but you know it before buying. It does not have any perceptible affect on netflix/dvd movies, family photos and internet browsing and office work. I do not play games so cannot comment.
I had to roll back video driver after it told me to upgrade and sort out wifi issue but it was easy to find through lenovo support app pre-installed on the computer.
Other big drawback is you have to remove keyboard, dvd drive and a few other things to reach RAM slot if you wish to upgrade (same for hard disk drive) . I upgraded RAM on all my old laptops myself as RAM slots were easy to reach. I bought this computer knowing this as it was the best configuration at this price. In fact at 4 GB RAM it works better than I thought it would. May be Win 8.1 has something to do with it.
(I am mostly mac user but like this machine a lot).

I do not any experience of lenovo customer service so far but took a chance as budget was limited. I would recommend buying it.
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on 20 January 2014
After a few weeks of searching for the right laptop at the right price I decided to take a chance on the Lenovo Z500. It matched my requirements and had relatively good reviews. I was looking for a laptop at around £400 - £500 (bought on amazon for £449)with i5, 4GB+ RAM, 1TB hard drive and a dedicated graphics card for casual gaming.

I have been very impressed with this laptop. It is light, thin, sleek and built to a high standard. It looks great! I have to disagree with other reviews that complain about the keyboard and touchpad. I find all laptop touchpads a chore to use but found the z500's a lot better than some others I have used. It seems technically sound and I haven't had any issues with it. The keyboard is very snazzy and I love the illumination behind the keys (which can be turned off). The keys function as they should and I haven't had any issue with key presses not registering as other reviews on amazon have stated. I like the spacing of the keys and layout too.

The screen is bright and clear and I have not had any issues with the brightness adjustment as per other reviews (perhaps this issue has been rectified?) It is a glossy screen and I could imaging this could cause glaring if used outdoors on a sunny day. The resolution is a little lower than I'm used to but it is more than adequate. I think the screen choice was deliberate as I have read that many midrange dedicated (laptop) graphics cards operate best at this resolution (1366 * 768). The sound is great too, very crisp, good depth and good volume.

The battery life is better than I am used to, it averages between 4.5 and 5.5 hours depending on use. I was very please with the battery life but others may not think that is good? There is also very good software for power management included which allows you to manage power profiles and optimise the life cycle of the battery. Also a dust removal feature which controls the speed of the main intake/outtake fan, it pulses very quickly to expel any dust.

The internal spec is great and runs Windows 8 very efficiently and boots up surprisingly quick even though the hard drive is fairly slow. I do intend on upgrading the hard drive to a SSD eventually but for now it will do just fine. I haven't tried opening the laptop up yet so cant comment on the difficulty some people have had in upgrading the RAM or HD. Windows 8 isn't as bad as I thought or was made to believe. Once you understand the layout, update it to 8.1 and get everything the way you like it (and remove all the useless 3rd party software), its very similar to Windows 7. The glaring difference is the removal of the start bar but once you understand that the new start bar is the Windows 8 app sliding screen, its fine. Everything else can be accessed by other means anyway. I would have preferred Windows 7 but I'm not fussed now.

One of the main buying points for me was the dedicated graphics card, the GT 635M. It was the best card for the money and spec I wanted. I have only tried one game, Shogun 2 total war. It run very well, surprisingly well in fact. On the stated resolution, most graphics settings were set to Ultra. I'm a big fan of RTS games and it run really well and looked great. I fully intend to try Skyrim on it which I am sure will run fine on medium - high settings. Youtube videos show that it does run on the GT635.

Overall, I love this laptop and the price was great. Anyone looking for a recommendation for a casual gaming, great spec, great price laptop then look no further.

Any queries, I will do my best to respond.
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on 3 December 2013
For those wondering what this spec actually means: Lenovo IdeaPad Z500 15.6-inch Laptop - Dark Chocolate (Intel Core i5 2.6GHz, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD, DVDRW, LAN, WLAN, Bluetooth, Webcam, Nvidia Graphics, Windows 8 for £429)

As reported by CPU-Z:

- CPU: Intel i5 3320M (Ivy Bridge) running at 2.6GHz.
- RAM: 4gb of DDR3 running at a DRAM frequency of 798.1MHz (therefore 1600Mhz).
- Graphics: Intel HD 4000 (Nvidia GeForce GT635M 1GB shows in device manager but not in CPU-Z).
- HDD: Samsung/Seagate ST1000LM024 1TB 5400 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 2.5".

Windows experience index as standard is 4.5.

Overall the machine is nicely put together and is excellent spec for the money. However, the keyboard is really flimsy, especially around the return key. I will be putting an SSD in it and installing Windows 7 as frankly a 5400rpm HDD with this spec is a massive waste. It chugs away doing the simplest of tasks, but that's HDDs, not the fault of this machine.


I've just opened the machine up to install an SSD and have found the following:

- Three screws are missing from the underneath, front of the case - could this signal a refurb model!?
- An existing warranty sticker covering the CD drive screw has had another one applied over the top - again signalling a refurb.
- A few shims under the flimsy keyboard can easily fix the flexing / sponginess issue.

Amazon, if you're going to sell refurbished laptops, you really should say so!
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on 9 January 2014
I bought this laptop for taking to university every day and occasional light gaming while I'm away from my powerful desktop machine.
The build quality is mostly fantastic with a few small annoyances here and there. For example, certain areas of the keyboard flex slightly when keys are pressed heavily. Also, the rubber feet on the bottom are a bit more hard than I'd like so the grip isn't fantastic.
The biggest flaw with this laptop is the 5400RPM hard drive which makes booting as slow as a wet week compared to my other machines which all use SSD boot drives.
I was however aware of this when I bought the laptop and I bought a USB3 2.5" enclosure to put the hard drive in with the intention of replacing it with an SSD.
I ordered the version sold as "Core i5, 4GB, 1TB HDD" which contains an i5-3230m and 1x 4GB stick of ddr3 1600MHz (this makes a ram upgrade much cheaper as there is a free slot).
Windows 8 is incredibly unintuitive and just doesn't work on a non- touchscreen device in my opinion but this can be downgraded to windows 7 if you wish.
Other than that it's a fantastic laptop and I'm very happy with my purchase.
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on 29 January 2014
I purchased this on Amazon for £449, because the specs seemed good and it was about 100 quid cheaper than its retail price. It arrived promptly courtesy Amazon's excellent service. It was packaged well and it was evident that it is a brand new laptop. I opened the package and set up the laptop. In the looks department it is a fairly sturdy looking lappy minus the sleek curves that we see in some of the other brands. Initial set up was relatively quick, but 10 minutes after the set up the laptop hanged! The screen went blank while the laptop remained switched on. I waited for about an hour for it to reboot itself but it did not, which forced me to restart it by pressing down the start button for a few seconds! This was the least I was expecting from a brand new laptop and I was very disappointed. Well, it did restart and then it worked smoothly until I noticed the stick-on glue patches between the screen's frame and the screen - obviously meant to stick the frame to the screen. Perhaps this is how the frame and the screen are held together in all laptops, but the glue patches are NEVER visible from the front of the screen. This is a big design and workmanship flaw in this laptop according to me. The initial hanging and then this flaw sealed the fate of this laptop for me. Also, for an i5 processor, the laptop was lacking in speed. So, this was promptly returned and I am awaiting full refund as I write this review.

All in all, avoid if you can. You'd get better value for your money elsewhere.
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on 17 February 2014
This is a good laptop for its price range. Like others have said, some things are less than ideal like the slightly squishy keyboard, not very responsive track pad and relatively low resolution (1366x768). Also, you can't remove the battery. None of these issues really bother me for what I want it for however there were quite a few issues to be resolved when I first took delivery of the laptop. If you're not a tech person, consider asking someone for help to set this thing up. As for the Windows 8 argument, I'm fine with it; it takes a little getting used to but I wouldn't dream of saying it's a reason not to get the laptop.

Some issues and how to fix them:
1. You need to download some updates before you upgrade to Windows 8.1 which doesn't come with the laptop.[...] has information about what to do if you're stuck at this stage, unable to find the update in the store.
2. The windows update then seems to lead to the "brightness error", where you get stuck on the dimmest brightness setting and it's very annoying searching for a fix when you can hardly see. [...] Post #163 has got the solution here.
3. Mine was dropping my wireless connection all the time and I had a hard time figuring out what the issue was. [...] This is the driver site of the network adapter. Find the right one (Windows 8, 64 bit) and download and install it and the problem goes away.
4. The computer has a hard time at the beginning knowing whether to use the integrated graphics or the nvidia card. If you go the nvidia control panel - which you can get to from right-clicking on the desktop - you can change "global settings" or set individual programs to be used with the nvidia card.

Once I got those issues sorted I was quite happy with it. it's a well-made and fairly smooth running piece of equipment for it's price. Consider shelling out for an SSD if you want better performance - the hard drive is the slowest part. If you buy an enclosure ( for example is what I have) you can put the HDD from the laptop in it and use it as an external 1tb hard drive.
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on 27 December 2013
For specifications,this is a great deal,fairly high spec for what i needed it for,delivery was swift as usual,happy with this laptop and would recommend to anyone for under 500.
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on 15 February 2016
I bought this laptop for university for my PhD course as a little treat. The first 6 months of using this laptop was fantastic, this was prior to the windows 8.1 update which somehow screwed up the brightness and sound drivers on the laptop. So after re-installing new drivers on the Lenovo website everything was fine again.

I have to say the speed of it is quite good for i5 intel core and with 4GB of RAM. The sound system is not as loud as other laptops, however one cannot really complain about it as I have speakers to plug in. My main criticism after a while, the laptop begins to have difficult in turning on. Sometimes I would be waiting a good 5 – 10minutes for the laptop to actually switch on and vice versa (shut down).

But I would say after a year and a half – it was ok; however when I decided to update my laptop to windows 10, everything went horribly wrong. I can say DO NOT UPDATE TO WINDOWS 10. Lenovo has not updated the Lenovo z500 drivers for this laptop and every problem under the sun couldn’t be fixed by myself. So I had to send the laptop to Germany which is the closest repair centre. To this very day, the service by lenovo’s technical support team has been pretty poor in my opinion as it takes a long time to fix things.

Good Spec for Price (quite nice speed) i5 and 4GB RAM
Keyboard is nice and I can glide easily whilst typing
Screen quality good

Beware that this may not last a while (have a sneaking suspicion it could be refurb.)
Battery life = poor (Not removable battery)
Camera quality poor
Problems switching laptop on and off

As a side note – if you do need to send things for repair… all repairs will be in Germany so you might have to wait a while to have anything back…
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on 16 March 2015

- Backlit keyboard is a very useful feature.
- Keyboard (for the most part, see the cons) is good, easy to use and easy to keep clean.
- Laptop fan is very quiet.
- Fast (for a bit).
- Can play good games on mid to lower settings (for a bit).


- The battery is shocking, and this is with me using the battery optimisation function from day 1. I have had the laptop 14 months now but after less than a year if I unplugged the laptop the battery would run out within 5 minutes. I can't imagine how badly it would be performing had I not used the optimisation function.
- Have had a number of problems with updating drivers and common issues such as the brightness setting error.
- Started to slow down and struggle sometimes with very basic tasks after less than a year.
- Keyboard does not have music buttons so if you're in a game you have to minimize it to change or stop the song you're listening to. Very frustrating, especially considering they felt the need to have a number of buttons instead which to this day I have never used, such as a button that closes the screen. Not sure why that's really necessary when every program you open can be closed by clicking the big red X in the corner.
- USB slots have started to falter. I plugged in my phone to charge. My phone recognises that it's plugged in but doesn't charge. I plug it into a wall socket and it charges fine, so it's definitely a laptop issue.

Overall a decent laptop if you only want it to work well for 10 months and are happy to leave it plugged in forever.
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on 7 March 2015
Was supposed to write a review on this over a year ago when I bought it but never got around to it so here it is. Bought this not last christmas but the Christmas before for £450 which at the time was a great price. I bought the device to do some moderate gaming on and although its not a full beast of a machine it can run lots of games quite well most notably Skyrim you will be able to play at medium settings with a great frame rate on Windows 8.1 however recently I upgraded to the windows 10 Technical Preview which comes with directx12 and was able to bump the graphics up to high quality without suffering terrible frame rates however it does tend to get the fans running quite loudly.

Now I will have to say that this is no longer my main laptop I have since bought a Macbook Pro retina, now I don't want to start a flame war as up until last year I was a super Microsoft fan boy and wouldn't be caught dead with an apple product but anyway here we are, now that being said I have not completely abandoned this machine as it still sits proudly on my desk next to the Mac and I often switch to it when I want to play games as it is far superior in the respect. The machine I bought came with 1tb hard drive and 4gb of ram although I would suggest you buy the model with 8gb of ram as it is incredibly difficult to upgrade yourself. Now continuing with hardware the machine does come with a backlit keyboard which is incredibly useful especially when typing in a dark room although it does not allow you to adjust brightness like a mac does instead you can either have it on or off.

Now the software side of things if I was to write this review last year it would have been completely different and I would of mentioned how there were lots of slowdowns and occasional crashes however I have now discovered that these problems were with windows 8 and the bloatware that Lenovo installs on the machine from the start not the machine itself because as mentioned above I have since upgraded to windows 10 and uninstalled the useless lenovo bloatware which seems to have solved most if not all of the slow down problems that I have experienced. Additional for those interested I have also dual booted ubuntu on the machine which was a breeze in itself and has since become my primary operating system (When not gaming), it has also become my primary OS on my mac also. Ubuntu runs extremely well on the machine and makes excellent use of the machines limited ram so I would suggest that if you are not comfortable installing the beta version of windows 10 to improve the speed of the machine I would strongly recommend ubuntu.

Gaming. Now I did mention briefly above about gaming but I will talk about it in more detail here for those of you that wish to know how to machine performs. As I said the machine isn't the ultimate gaming machine but does allow you to a wide range of games very well. Most recently I have installed Both Metro 2033 Redux games and have been able to play them on medium settings provided you lower the resolution to 1280-720. Another game I play religiously is Star wars the old republic which I can again put onto medium settings without the machine struggling. I can bump that up to High settings If I again lower the resolution to 1280-720 and decrease the view distance however this does heat the machine up a fair bit and makes the fans go mad. World of Warcraft is a game I have played a fair bit of on this machine and am to run it on High settings without having to adjust view distances or lower the resolution. In short the machine can play any 3d game made before 2013 quite easily however it does now struggle with the newer titles, yesterday I attempted to play Dying light and simple couldn't the frame rate where just awful no matter how low I made the settings. This was unfortunate but hey cant complain much especially for how little I paid for it. In closing this machine is excellent if you want to do some light-medium gaming and also get some work done however don't be expecting it to run battlefield 4 or any titles made from this year onward on anything higher than low settings.

For those interested here is a list of all the games I have been able to play on this machine without suffering from frame-rate problems
Metro 2033 - Last light Redux
Fallout 3
Fallout New Vegas
Alien vs predator
Alien colonial marines
Portal 1 & 2
Half life 2
Titanfall (Surprisingly)
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