Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lenovo IdeaPad Z560

The Lenovo Z-series IdeaPad is a budget-friendly multimedia notebook aimed to be a tier lower than the popular Y-series. The Z-series comes in two sizes including a 13.6 and 15.6-inch model, both of which offer unique styling and configurations. In this review, we take a look at the 15.6-inch IdeaPad Z560 and see how it stacks up against the competition.

Lenovo IdeaPad Z560 Specifications:

* 15.6-inch 720p (1366 x 768) glossy panel with LED backlighting
* Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
* Intel Core i3-350M dual-core processor (2.26 Ghz, 3 MB Cache)
* Integrated Intel HD graphics
* 3GB DDR3 dual-channel RAM (1GB + 2GB)
* 500GB 5400RPM Western Digital hard drive (WD5000BEVT)
* Broadcom 802.11n Wireless LAN, Bluetooth
* DVD burner combo drive
* 1-year global limited warranty
* 6-cell Li-ion battery (48Wh)
* Weight: 5.7 lbs.
* Dimensions: 14.8" (L) x 9.8" (D) x 0.70-1.40" (H)
* MSRP: $850

Build and Design
The Lenovo IdeaPad Z560 has a stylish appearance with a piano-black glossy cover with chrome "Lenovo" lettering and a brushed metal bezel for the palmrest and keyboard trim. The exterior look is very nice and could almost pass off for a business notebook in the right setting. Inside the Z560 has a nice metal palmrest, a large textured touchpad, and big contoured touchpad buttons. Even the keyboard looks great, sharing the design from the Edge-series ThinkPads with the hybrid ThinkPad and Island-style keys. One interesting feature about the Z560 is the rescue-and-recover button that is recessed and almost hidden. It is the same size as the numlock and capslock indicator lights next to it, but if you press it with a ball-point pen it activates the mode.

Build quality is about average for a notebook in this class, offering a relatively sturdy chassis with durable plastic and alloy components. The screen lid offers adequate protection for the screen, only allowing the LCD to show distortions under heavy pressure. The screen is held down by friction of the screen hinges alone and seems to be held firmly shut when the notebook is hanging at your side. The main body of the notebook feels pretty strong, with no flexing or twisting when you hold the system by the edge of the keyboard. The brushed metal palmrest does an excellent job at resisting flex over the width of the palmrest, with that rigidity stretching up to the keyboard tray and speakers. Overall the body is very sturdy and should hold up well to daily abuse.

Users looking to upgrade the IdeaPad Z560 will find it easy through a single panel on the bottom of the notebook. After removing no less than 10 screws, the plate can comes off to expose the hard drive, wireless card, two pieces of RAM, and heatsink/processor combo. Users looking to pop in their own WWAN device will be disappointed though, as the Z560 has the required connection area, but no soldered on slot.
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