Have you ever experienced Monday Morning epiphanys that beat you down to such an extent that you start blaming yourself for your existence? On this particular day of the week every worldly force join hands to act against you but you have to reach work no matter what. On one such Monday, I was through with my morning battle and made it to office in time! They say ‘a good deed never goes unrewarded’ and the same happened to me. Waiting for me, on my desk, was a special box. My good man, Nimit, had acquired a review unit of the Lenovo Ideapad 500! I have been using the machine for quite some time now and here is what I feel the Lenovo Ideapad 500 notebook is about.
Design, Construction, and Ergonomics
Tear through the cardboard box and there you are with the sleek Lenovo Ideapad 500-15ISK wrapped in plastic and some safety padding. You get a charging module and some documentation with the Notebook. So pulling it out of the wraps, the Lenovo Ideapad looks chic in black and feels premium to the touch. While it looks all premium and stylish, the black cover on the lid is a fingerprint magnet and in addition to it, it can easily get scratched. So, to keep the lid nice and shinyfor a longer time, you need to be extra careful.
Open up the lid and you are greeted with a wide 15.6″ screen and a keyboard nestled in a brushed aluminium finish furface. The screen gets a matte finish and the base gets a stripe texture on it. The overall build quality is decent and we heard no creaks while operating. When shut, the Ideapad 500 measures 38.4cm in length, 26.5cm wide and is only 2.46cm thick. At just 2.3kgs, its lightweight construction is a boon for those who should carry their notebooks on their back every day.
The fullHD screen is equipped with an Intel RealSense 3D camera setup on the top and is underlined by the Lenovo branding. The base consists of the standard keyboard and touchpad geometry. The keys are backlit and firm, and provide a good feedback.
The touchpad is decent as well and has a single module at the bottom that has click function on either ends. To the right of the base is the CD/DVD tray, 4in1 memory card reader, USB2.0 port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. On the left is the cooling fan vents, VGA, Ethernet, HDMI and two USB ports.
The USB ports on the left are USB 3.0 compatible. For safety purposes the Ideapad is equipped with a Kensington Lock port. It benefits from JBL stereo speakers and Dolby Home theatre tech.
With a design leaning to the premium edge, the Ideapad 500 boasts quite some muscle on the inside. The Lenovo Ideapad 500 15ISK makes use of a 2.5GHz Intel I7-6500U Processor. This 6th gen Intel Core Processor is assisted by AMD MESO XT DDR3L 4GB Graphics processor unit and 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3L RAM. Onboard Intel HD graphics run alongside the AMD GPU.
The Ideapad offers 1TB of SATA (5400 RPM) and 8GB SSHD of storage space. The Ideapad comes with a Intel RealSense equipped camera setup that has some intuitive features that helps you interact with the laptop through hand gestures and facial expressions. The built-in 3D Camera can be used for gaming, entertainment, and video chats.
All this hardware is powered by a battery that is claimed to provide power upto 4 hours. Our review unit had Windows 10 Home edition loaded into it and the whole package seemed to be prepared to replace my office workstation for a while. The battery performance, in our humble opinion, could have done better in practice.
With the 6th gen Intel i7, 8GB of RAM and a dedicated GPU, there are hardly any daily tasks that could stop or make the machine stutter. My usage mainly comprised of heavy internet browsing, Youtubing, and writing along with moderate photo & video editing, music, movies, and gaming. Multitasking is like breeze on this Ideapad and no lag was experienced at all.
Even at times when the browser was overstuffed with more than 15 tabs, while the music apps were on full chat and streaming files to my smartphone, the overall experience was glitch free. The screen has a good viewing angle and has a decent colour reproduction. It’s not one of the best out there but reds look like reds and blues stay blue.
Speaking of Blues, listening to music via JBL units under the Ideapad dip you in the right mood of the tune. It may not be suffice to hold up as the party starter and shake up the dance floor but is more than enough to entertain you while you dig into your couch for watching a movie or a TV show, doing away with the need of headphones. The 15.6 inch display does good justice to HD movies and the audio experience is just a penny-less than to be called immersive.
As mentioned earlier, Youtube-ing, social networking, internet-ing is absolute lag-free. It is the heavy duty applications like Photoshop, Audition, and Premiere Pro where the Ideapad trips over its tongue. I am not complaining that the hardware stumbles while dealing with softwares but takes a second to put the fed command into action. Few glitches popped while on Photoshop and Premiere pro but nevertheless my work never slowed down.
Gaming and Graphics
Gaming is not the forte of this notebook and the performance revealed it all. Serious gamers wouldn’t be too thrilled, though casual gamers are in for a treat. Casual games or even lighter games were handled like a boss but with high-end high graphic games the Ideapad 500 did show its limitations. You could manage to pull off a couple of races and missions but eventually the experience becomes a bit dry due to low frame rated and gaming textures.
The company claims that the battery pack provides power up to 4 hours but when tested in actual conditions including internet browsing, watching online videos, and writing, the Ideapad 500 lasted for a lesser time. When gunned hard for games and heavy duty softwares, the battery dried up a little shy of two hours. The large display, always-on backlit keys and the performance hardware drain the battery rapidly.
The Ideapad 500 is available in different variants and at different prices. We received the Lenovo Ideapad 500 50ISK in a box that read an MRP of INR 75,990. You can, however, get your hands on one for a price of about INR 53,000. The little over 50k pricetag keeps the Ideapad 500 in the league of affordable stylish laptops. Also in the club of Intel i7 (6th gen) powered laptops the Ideapad 500 is one of the best deals. For those who are looking out for a perfect machine that can deliver their daily doese of of audio, video, writing, internet and occasional gaming, the Ideapad 500-15ISK is a great. If you are, however, a hardcore gamer with an unrelenting focus on graphical performance, you should be looking elsewhere.