Top positive review
20 people found this helpful
on 17 March 2014
Stylish laptop, with a dark, brushed metal effect finish. Feels well made and solid. I like the feature of the illuminated keyboard, which has 2 levels of brightness or off settings. Very quiet, my laptop cooler can be heard but not the laptop fan, which only seems to kick in when I'm doing intensive processing such as file conversions. Runs very cool, even without the cooler stand. Better than average speakers, which actually have a nice sound unlike most tinny laptop speakers, and I don't have to plug in external speakers when watching a film on it. It even has decent volume and bass. Screen is good with real HD performance and little glare. Several nice features, such as an intensive fan cleaning process to remove dust build up. The second graphic card, an Nvidia Geforce, only comes into play when intensive graphics are needed, such as in game playing; normal usage utilises the built in on board graphics thus saving power.
Although the keyboard has a nice key travel when typing, the right shift key is quite small and very close to the navigation keys, which I sometimes hit instead. This means that my typing has jumped up a line, which for a touch typist is annoying. I've had to adapt my typing slightly to accommodate this.
Lenovo seem to have cut corners by fitting a Broadcom wireless adaptor. For an otherwise powerful computer, it is let down by the poor performance of the wireless, and when it wasn't dropping out, I was barely managing to connect at 5.5 Mpbs. I have had to purchase an external wireless adaptor to actually get a decent connection. With the Asus USB-AC56 Wireless USB Network Interface Card, I now connect at a solid 650 Mpbs and can achieve download speeds close to the maximum of my fibre connection. Unfortunately, this takes up one of the USB ports, and with only 3 USB ports, 2 x USB 3 and an always on USB 2 port which is used by my cooler, this is not ideal.
I am not a touchpad user, preferring key strokes or a mouse for navigation, so I normally disable touchpads on my laptops as they can cause the cursor to move when my wrist catches them. Unfortunately, I haven't yet found a way to disable this one apart from the FN/F6 key combination, which would be fine if it stayed off, but it seems to have a habit of turning itself on again without warning. A minor irritation.
Lenovo have partitioned the hard drive into two, which I initially thought was fine until I realised that the second partition was only 25GB. As I prefer to move my personal documents and folders off drive C, leaving only the operating system and programs there, 25GB is too small and I really don't understand why, out of a 1TB drive, they made such a small second partition. Having taken the precaution of making a backup of the factory settings on a pen drive, and making sure it worked, I used a third party software to repartition the drives to my own specifications. Be warned, if you do this it destroys the Lenovo disc recovery procedure but the computer can be recovered using the pen drive backup and the Windows 8.1 built in recovery process. Just don't lose the pen drive!
Windows 8.1. Well, I bought this computer because I wanted the extra oomph under the bonnet, not because I'm a games player. I get this with the new Windows operating system, my ebook library, Calibre, opens in seconds instead of the 3 minutes it took on my old laptop running Windows 7 with 4 GB ram, so I am pleased with the performance. However, I hate Windows 8.1! It took a few days to get it sorted out so that it now looks like an operating system I'm familiar with. Lenovo had obviously taken notice of the lack of a start menu and provided Pokki as standard, but I prefer Classic Shell. I have it set up to go straight to the desktop, there are no tiles on the "start" menu, all the live tiles have been uninstalled or disabled, and I don't use the apps feature as I can access everything from the Classic Shell menu. I also upgraded to the Pro version of Windows, which allows me more control using group policy which is not available in the home edition. Apart from the odd occasion when Windows 8.1 pops up an annoyance, such as telling me I can't do something, it now looks and works as I want it but to get it to this point took about 4 days in total, which is not what you want to have to do with a new computer. I can't really blame Lenovo or the laptop for this, but it just adds to the overall initial disatisfaction.
Would I buy this computer again? Yes, and no. If buying again I would certainly make sure it had something other than a Broadcom wireless adaptor installed, which is the biggest fault with it. The other issues can be got round with a bit of fiddling, and I would probably have to do the same with any other make. Overall, the laptop is well built, sturdy, feels like a quality machine and looks good. Performance wise, apart from the wireless, is also good, the fan rarely kicks in, it is cool and with the i7 processor and 16 GB of ram even intensive audio or film conversions barely make a noticable dent in performance.
This laptop would have got 5 stars were it not for the wireless. Given the cost of the machine, having to spend a further £60 odd on an external wireless adaptor just to get a decent connection rather takes the shine off it.