Lenovo Z51 Review – Jack of all Trades
Wait a minute, laptop review on an Android Blog? How do you think we write articles or edit videos? We sure don’t do the aforementioned on android devices and here’s where laptops come in play! They help us in maintaining workflow and make sure our job gets done in an efficient manner.
Lenovo contacted me and offered if I wanted to review the Z51. Looking at my HP ultrabook in it’s pitiful condition, I agreed.
If you’re looking for very in-depth benchmarks, sorry to disappoint you. This review is solely based out of my daily use and is targeted at your average consumer. So, how good/bad is it? Let’s find out!
Had there been a scale of thickness ranging from Razer Blade at 0 to MSI GT70 at 10, Lenovo Z51 would sit at around 4-5 mark. At first it almost looked like an ultrabook but once I picked it up, it did have a certain heft to it. For a mid-range laptop (depends on which config you choose to buy), it has a good design with sleek edges and use of brushed metal finish in the palm rest area.
Top and bottom faces of the laptop are black but once you open the laptop, you’ll notice it’s all silver with black keys. Overall, it gives a nice contrast to the eye. Apart from the colour contrast there is also a contrast in terms of materials used. The top lid is matte plastic which is fairly fingerprint resistant. The area around the keyboard seems very sturdy and has a brushed metal look. Metal or not, it looks premium.
On both sides, there were ample of I/O ports and there was nothing that I was missing in particular. The only complain I had in terms of I/O was that the SD card slot housed only half portion of the SD card which resulted into half of the SD card jutting out of the port with chances of getting damaged pretty easily.
“Full HD? AWESOME!”
That was my first impression when I read the specs of the Z51. Things changed when I booted the laptop. What I had missed was that the display was a glossy TN panel.
What TN panel actually means is that it has god awful viewing angles and colour reproduction. On the other hand, if the display is glossy, it means it’ll act as a mirror when using the laptop outside or if you have any source of light behind you, it’ll gloriously shine on your screen and hence distract you. Remember, always go for a matte display and an IPS (In-Plane Switching) Panel which gives excellent viewing angles and great colour reproduction!
TL;DR -> If you read TN Panel in the specs of any laptop, just avoid it. Unless there is a budget constraint, of course.
In my search to find the speakers, when I flipped the laptop, I found them at the bottom towards the edge. I was pretty sure they were going to sound bad.
I was WRONG.
Damn, those tiny little speakers back a punch! Powered by Dolby, the speakers on Z51 were the biggest surprise for me! Sure, they did lack a bit of bass but I can ignore that for it’s ability to deliver such good audio without distortion.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard has a good tactile feel to it. Typing on this beauty was a joy! Coming from a laptop which has no numeric pad, this was a subtle change. I adapted to the new keyboard fairly quickly. While numeric pad didn’t really help me in punching numbers in a fast manner ( in my case at least. Your usage may vary) as I still somehow used the number row on top but yes, it did help a lot in gaming. More on that later.
Z51’s touchpad has an irritating sandpaper type finish. God, that was so awful that I kept cleaning the touchpad every now and then thinking that it was dust. The texture put me so off that even with it’s good accuracy, I didn’t feel like using it. Also, the buttons on it were not satisfactory. It felt very cheap. Being a single strip of plastic which acts as left click or right click depending upon where you press it, it is impossible to use it in FPS (First Person Shooting) or TPS (Third Person Shooting) games where you’ve to press right button for aiming and then left button for shooting.
Packing 5th generation Intel i5 processor, AMD R9 (2GB) GPU coupled with 8GB of RAM, Z51 performs pretty well! Like mentioned in the beginning of the article, I did not perform any in-depth benchmarks. I used it for my daily tasks which include surfing the internet, checking social media, watching videos on YouTube, coding on Eclipse and Netbeans, editing videos and playing games.
Before we proceed, here’s what you should be aware about laptops which have discrete GPU (i.e. apart from integrated Intel HD Graphics): You get a significant performance boost when laptop is plugged in as the discrete GPU is power hungry and laptop’s own battery is not able to provide it full wattage. Once plugged in, the discrete GPU gets all the juice it needs and you get to utilize the additional horsepower!
Z51 just blazed through video editing and rendering process. It was such a joy as compared to my aging ultrabook! While gaming it provided close to 30fps in low-medium settings and around 48-60fps when plugged in (depending upon the games and the graphical settings).
Battery was pretty sufficient for me. It lasted about 3.5-4 hours on normal use. While gaming without plugging it in, it lasted about an hour. Games are power hungry, you see!
Nothing is perfect and so is Lenovo Z51. It doesn’t tick all of the boxes, but it is the jack of all trades. It provides good enough performance for its price with awesome sound and some compromises.
At the price of close to Rs. 60k, is it worth it? Yes and no. It all comes down to different use case scenarios and considering you’re spending 60k it’s no harm in spending a little bit more to get a better laptop, if you so choose but that is a never ending cycle.
Nothing is perfect and so is Lenovo Z51. It doesn't tick all of the boxes, but it is the jack of all trades. It provides good enough performance for its price with awesome sound and some compromises. At the price of close to Rs. 60k, is it worth it? Yes and no. It all comes down to different use case scenarios and considering you're spending 60k it's no harm in spending a little bit more to get a better laptop, if you so choose but that is a never ending cycle.