Lenovo’s new IdeaPad Z570 is a notebook that falls in the lower price bracket. It’s a segment that is crowded with laptops from pretty much every manufacturer out there. System configurations are also pretty identical and choosing one can be confusing.

Pretty and feature-rich

Lenovo's new Sandy Bridge offering – IdeaPad Z570

Going by the specifications, the new IdeaPad Z570 doesn't look a lot different from offerings from other brands. So what makes the Z570 any different?

Features
In terms of system configuration, the 15.6-inch Lenovo IdeaPad Z570 isn’t too impressive. It only runs an Intel Core i3 2310M processor that operates at an average 2.1 GHz. It’s based on the new Sandy Bridge architecture, so clearly laptops using the new platform have started returning to the market. There’s 3 GB of DDR3 memory and Lenovo has bundled the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Basic on the laptop. There is no discrete graphics solution provided, though. This makes it clear the Z570 is no way prepared for any serious gaming. But, it does have many other nifty features. There is a large 640 GB hard drive in it, which means space for a ton of media. There is 802.11n WiFi supported through the Atheros AR9285 adapter. HDMI connectivity is also present. Suddenly, the IdeaPad Z570 comes alive with all sorts of features you don't expect in a laptop this cheap.

Design and Build Quality
The IdeaPad Z570 although in the lower end bracket of laptops, is an attractive thing to look at. The colour on the model we received isn’t too great but the finish on the lid and the Lenovo badge does makes it stand out. It’s not the slimmest of laptops and it’s by no means light-weight. The weight is probably has to do with its build quality, which is pretty good for a laptop that costs less than Rs. 35,000. The top for example, is made of metal and has a very sturdy feel to it.

Chiclet-style keyboard on the IdeaPad

Chiclet-style keyboard on the IdeaPad

Finer aspects of the design and build quality can be seen when you open the lid. The line of touch-sensitive buttons give it a very elegant look. The buttons are meant for controlling the volume of the speakers, setting screen profiles and cooling modes. The software works well with the touchscreen buttons. Operation is extremely simple. The power button too looks great and looks like it came out from a really high-end laptop. We really like the look and feel of those buttons. The tiny, but bright, backlight used for these touch sensitive buttons and also the activity indicators looks very nice indeed. Another set of indicators are positioned next to the large trackpad. These are primarily to display the power on status, charging status, wireless connectivity and trackpad status.

Speakers and the well designed power button

Speakers and the well designed power button

The keys are scalloped and have a depression in them. At first, using it feels a little awkward but the keys do have a nice feel to them. There is a little bit of feedback and the keys wobble a little bit if you press them on one corner. The speakers are positioned on the same panel as the touch-sensitive buttons.
Performance
The hard drive performance isn’t particularly fast. The laptop recorded close to 40MB/s write speeds while recording a 4GB file to the drive. Assorted data was even slower with write speeds dropping to 31MB/s. While the Z570 has a ton of storage capacity, the drive used simply lacks the performance. PCMark Vantage churned out an overall score of 4609, which is a good bit lower than a slightly slower clocked quad core Core i7 processor. Graphics performance doesn’t impress either. OpenGL tests on Cinebench show scores frame rates of just 8.41 fps. Good graphics solutions will do close to four times that on a notebook.

Thankfully, HD playback is effortless. A 1080p video runs while using just 2-3 per cent CPU utilisation which is quite literally close to nothing. HDMI connectivity means that you can play movies from the laptop on a large screen TV.

Touch-sensitive buttons next to the right-hand side speaker

Touch-sensitive buttons next to the right-hand side speaker

The display is bright and vibrant. Colour rendition is natural too. Although it uses a glossy screen, it’s hard to hide the average performance in the darker regions of scenes. Viewing angles are pretty poor as well. Overall though, the visual experience is great as long as you’re sitting right in front of the laptop. If you exclude the average contrast ratio, it’s actually a decent screen. Audio quality is decent but  the speakers aren’t very loud .

Even with benchmarks running, we noticed no heating whatsoever on the top surface of the laptop. There is some heating on the lower surface, towards the centre of the laptop which is noticeable when you place the laptop on your lap. The laptop is extremely quiet and the cooling very effective. The test of battery life using our stringent battery drain test went pretty well. The 6-cell battery powered the laptop on for 1 hour and 19 minutes, which although not excellent, but is still good for a laptop in this price range.

Verdict

 Lenovo's new Sandy Bridge offering - IdeaPad Z570

Pretty and feature-rich


The IdeaPad Z570 sells for Rs. 33,190, which makes it easily one of the more affordable laptops around. The Z570 has a lot going for it. It might not be a workhorse and you most definitely will not be playing Crysis on it. One thing’s for sure though, it has a ton of features that matter and a good design and for the majority of the tasks that you'll need it to do, it will do just fine.

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