PC

Ideapad's a safe bet with a reasonable price tag

The Lenovo Ideapad 700 may not look arresting, but it handles daily computing tasks without a hitch, at just $1,499.
The Lenovo Ideapad 700 may not look arresting, but it handles daily computing tasks without a hitch, at just $1,499.PHOTO: LENOVO

The Lenovo Ideapad 700 won't set pulses racing. It looks bland, inoffensive and utterly forgettable.

It is the reasonably-priced, safe choice that you end up with because it can do a bit of everything fairly well, at just $1,499.

Whether you are watching a Full-HD video on its ample 15.6-inch display, or editing a document with an office productivity app, the Ideapad 700 handles daily computing tasks without a hitch.

It is powered by Intel's latest Core i7 processor. However, the laptop has a miserly 4GB of RAM, compared with rivals that offer 8GB RAM.

This is somewhat mitigated by the presence of a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD) for the Windows 10 operating system and your apps. Supplementing the small SSD is a 500GB hard drive.

Because of its SSD, the Ideapad feels responsive. Its sequential read speed is surprisingly fast at around 779MBps but, on the other hand, it is relatively slow at writing data (155MBps).

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $1,499

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-6700HQ (2.6GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M 4GB GDDR3

    RAM: 4GB

    SCREEN SIZE: 15.6 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, HDMI, Ethernet port, microSD, audio jack

    BATTERY: 45 watt-hour

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3/5

    OVERALL: 3/5

If you do need more RAM, Lenovo offers an 8GB model for $1,408. However, that version lacks an SSD.

The Ideapad's Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M graphics chip is slightly better than an entry-level model. It can run older games at modest settings. For instance, Bioshock Infinite ran smoothly enough at around 49 frames per second at High setting and the native 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution.

The Ideapad's in-plane switching (IPS) display offers excellent viewing angles. There are also no reflections or glare because the display has a matte finish. But the screen is not as bright as I would have liked, even at maximum brightness. As a result, I found myself using it at 100 per cent brightness all the time.

A minor blemish on this laptop's versatility is the lack of a built-in optical drive. Although games and videos are now often streamed or downloaded from an online server, an optical drive still has some use, especially if your Internet connection is slow.

The Ideapad's closest rival is probably the HP Pavilion Gaming Notebook, which costs the same and has almost the same hardware. The Pavilion looks more snazzy with its green keyboard backlight, but despite having "Gaming" in its name, its performance won't satisfy most gamers.

Actually, for $1,500, the Aftershock M-15 is a better gaming laptop than either the HP or Lenovo.

The Ideapad lasted 4.5 hours in our video-loop battery test, which is average for a 15-inch model using a standard voltage mobile processor.

Mainstream users will find the Ideapad 700 a versatile and reasonably-priced laptop.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2016, with the headline 'Ideapad's a safe bet with a reasonable price tag'. Print Edition | Subscribe