Review Lenovo B5400 MB825GE Notebook

Sebastian Jentsch (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 02/03/2014

Taken out of service. "The best price performance ratio for the price-conscious budget" – Lenovo's inexpensive office notebook is not focused on the design but the performance is very good in return.

Lenovo B5400 MB825GE: Simple and boring? What is Lenovo's basic business notebook capable of?
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE: Simple and boring? What is Lenovo's basic business notebook capable of?

For the original German review, see here.

It does not matter if you are a consumer or a business user: If you invest in technology, you want it to be fast enough for the next couple of years. This should be no problem since Lenovo claims groundbreaking processor performance and robust security features, right? We have a look at Lenovo's 15-inch business notebook that seems to be well equipped with a Core i5-4200M (standard voltage), a 1 TB hard drive and a GeForce GT 720M. Business devices without the ThinkPad branding represent Lenovo's low-cost series and are cheaper than the L-series ThinkPads (starting at 650 Euros, ~$879).  

There are several inexpensive office devices. Because of the price we use the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 (Core i3; starting at 570 Euros, ~$770) as well as HP's ProBook 450-H0V92EA (Core i3; 599 Euros, ~$810) for the comparison. The latter is also available with an AMD APU (ProBook 455).

Case

Simple, functional, but still modern – that is the plastic chassis of the B5400. The edged design with the wedge-shaped sides and the flat areas at the sides remind us of the Lenovo B580 (May 2013), but the case changed in many details. The stability of the case is not the best and that affects the quality impression. The palm rest is firm but the whole base unit can be twisted when you grab it at the edges. The display cover is connected with the base unit via firm hinges, but they cannot avoid bouncing.

The plastic frame of the panel is partly loose and there is also a small gap between the frame and the display. We could clearly dent the display cover at the center and also twist it. You will notice that the pretty heavy 15-inch device will bend when you try to lift it at one corner.

Connectivity

The port replicator...
The port replicator...
...improves the handling of peripherals.
...improves the handling of peripherals.

The standard connectivity features are complemented by a port for a ThinkPad OneLink (Pro) Dock. The power connector used to be round and yellow, but it is now black and rectangular. You can remove a special cover so that the OneLink Dock (starting at 95 Euros, ~$128) can be attached. Only the Pro version for 160 Euros (~$216) offers an additional DisplayPort and DVI-out.

Right side: Combined audio port, USB 2.0, DVD burner, USB 2.0, AC Power + OneLink
Right side: Combined audio port, USB 2.0, DVD burner, USB 2.0, AC Power + OneLink
Left side: Slot for a Kensington lock, VGA-out, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, 2x USB 3.0
Left side: Slot for a Kensington lock, VGA-out, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, 2x USB 3.0
Front: Card reader (SD, MMC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, xD)
Front: Card reader (SD, MMC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, xD)

Communication

The Gigabit Ethernet adaptor is provided by Realtek (PCIe GBE Family Controller) while Lenovo uses an inexpensive single-band Realtek RTL8723BE WLAN module (802.11 n). This means you cannot switch to 5 GHz networks if there are interferences with other wireless networks. We are not overwhelmed by the signal quality but the result is satisfying: Windows still had four out of five bars with a distance of 15 meters in our non-standardized test and websites like notebookcheck.com were loaded quickly. Similar to most laptops, the B5400 does not get a connection with a distance of 40 meters to our router (Fritz!Box 7270, transmitting power 100%). The wireless module also supports Bluetooth 4.0

Security 

We could not find the advertised (product page) integrated fingerprint reader. Except for Intel's Anti-Theft (via third party contract) there are no additional security features (nothing in the BIOS either), so this is more like a simple consumer notebook.

Accessories

The box of the B5400 only contains some information, warranty brochures and the 90 Watts PSU. There are no recovery DVDs for Windows 8 and the manual is on the hard drive. 

Software

Solution Center is a monitoring tool for the system. You can find backup options as well as diagnostics (hardware scan) and management options for wireless connections. Even the warranty status and the product registration are visible, but the security settings of the Solution Center only use Windows settings. Special battery settings or the convenient deactivation of single devices (for example the webcam) that we know from ThinkPads are not available.

Rescue and Recovery is Lenovo's tool for creating backup media. However, our B5400 came without it, but you can still download it from Lenovo's website. You can also order a Recovery-Kit in case of an emergency on the following website: lenovorecovery.com. Other preloaded applications are Lenovo Quick Control (control your PC with a smartphone), Cloud Storage (SugarSync, 30-day trial), Power DVD (player) as well as a trial version of MS Office.

Maintenance

A maintenance cover provides easy access to the components of the B5400. You can clean the fan and also replace the WLAN module and the CMOS battery. We can also find an empty mSATA slot and one empty memory slot (1x 8GB occupied). Upgrading the latter and using a dual-channel memory configuration would improve the performance of the integrated GPU.

Warranty

The Lenovo B5400 comes with a standard one-year carry-in warranty where you have to send the device to the manufacturer. There are also several warranty options, for instance an extension to three years or accidental damage protection. All options can be found on the according website from Lenovo. An extension to 2 years is available for 27 Euros (~$36) or 60 Euros (~$81) with the accidental damage protection.

90 Watts PSU
90 Watts PSU
Quick-start guide, warranty information
Quick-start guide, warranty information
Lenovo Solution Center
Lenovo Solution Center
Lenovo Quick Control
Lenovo Quick Control
Webcam 1280x720: very blurry, even with daylight
Webcam 1280x720: very blurry, even with daylight
Reference EOS 1100D
Reference EOS 1100D

Webcam

Lenovo praises the 720p HD webcam of the B5400 for conference calls and online chats. However, the actual picture quality does not support this statement. It is very bad, even with daylight, and pictures are clearly unusable.

Input Devices

Keyboard

"The much praised AccuType keyboard ensures comfortable working and less typos." Praise is not the right word here; the keys have a spongy feedback, a flat surface (lower accuracy) and a comparatively limited travel. The pressure point is firm, but this is not enough to provide a good feedback. The arrow keys are cramped between the keyboard and the numeric keypad. The spongy stroke is a result of the slightly bouncy keyboard, and the effect is bigger above the optical drive.

Touchpad

The touchpad with the dedicated buttons has a pretty smooth plastic surface. We are not dealing with hard plastic, so there will be unpleasant wear on the pad after some time. The surface executes inputs without delays, but unfortunately that does not apply for the buttons. Their travel is too limited and they have different clicking noises (muffled on the right side). The pressure point, especially of the right button, is very imprecise. The overall feedback of the buttons is very poor.

Touchpad: greasy look, poor feedback
Touchpad: greasy look, poor feedback
Numeric keypad: standard layout, small keys
Numeric keypad: standard layout, small keys
Keyboard: slightly spongy feedback
Keyboard: slightly spongy feedback

Display

Backlight is visible at the frame
Backlight is visible at the frame

Cheap TN panels with a low resolution are a tiresome topic, not only for the reviewers, but especially for users who have had to work with them for a couple of years. Our review unit with its 1366x768 pixels (16:9) only manages a meager 100 ppi, but at least it has a matte surface. The colors are subjectively convenient after calibration and the distinct blue cast is almost gone. However, not many users are going to calibrate their displays, so the blue cast is a problem. 

An average brightness of 205 cd/m² is not overwhelming, but it is sufficient for the office. Unfortunately it is limited to only 120 cd/m² on battery power, which makes it very hard to use the notebook outdoors.

185
cd/m²
176
cd/m²
174
cd/m²
219
cd/m²
210
cd/m²
207
cd/m²
229
cd/m²
227
cd/m²
216
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 229 cd/m²
Average: 204.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 76 %
Center on Battery: 120 cd/m²
Black: 0.42 cd/m²
Contrast: 500:1
Illumination
Brightness Center
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
210 cd/m² ∼30%
HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA
214 cd/m² ∼31% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
231 cd/m² ∼33% +10%
Black
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
0.42 cd/m² * ∼8%
HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA
0.67 cd/m² * ∼13% -60%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
0.80 cd/m² * ∼16% -90%
Contrast
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
500 :1; ∼31%
HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA
319 :1; ∼20% -36%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
289 :1; ∼18% -42%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
9.13 * ∼61%
HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA
11.77 * ∼78% -29%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
12.22 * ∼81% -34%
Greyscale DeltaE2000
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
10.13 * ∼68%
HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA
11.53 * ∼77% -14%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
12.47 * ∼83% -23%
Gamma
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
2.7 * ∼54%
HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA
2 * ∼40% +26%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
2.2 * ∼44% +19%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
50 % ∼50%
HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA
35.76 % ∼36% -28%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
35.2 % ∼35% -30%

* ... smaller is better

We measured 50% coverage of the AdobeRGB color space. This is not sufficient for professional scenarios, not to mention the low resolution. The photospectrometer measures the grayscale and color performance ex-works. The formerly mentioned blue cast is supported by numbers with a DeltaE value of around 10 (target value: smaller than three). However, the table above does show that the B5400 with its comparatively high contrast is not too bad within the competition.

Lenovo B5400 vs. sRGB
Lenovo B5400 vs. sRGB
Lenovo B5400 vs. AdobeRGB
Lenovo B5400 vs. AdobeRGB
CalMAN Grayscale - Blue cast
CalMAN Grayscale - Blue cast
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps - Cyan & magenta with a high deviation
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps - Cyan & magenta with a high deviation
CalMAN ColorChecker - DeltaE(2000) = 9
CalMAN ColorChecker - DeltaE(2000) = 9

Thanks to the low display brightness on battery you can only use the B5400 in the shade. Our pictures were taken on a winter day right before sunset, so it was not really bright.

Unfortunately only 120 nits on battery power.
Unfortunately only 120 nits on battery power.
This is usually just enough for indoor environments.
This is usually just enough for indoor environments.
Viewing angles Lenovo B5400 MB825GE with CMO N156BGE-L11 panel, TN LED
Viewing angles Lenovo B5400 MB825GE with CMO N156BGE-L11 panel, TN LED

Good viewing angles are not provided by the B5400. The picture is only good under ideal conditions, and it gets worse as soon as you leave the sweet spot. The picture is too dark when you look from above, and you can hardly recognize the top third of the display content when you look from below. It is also hard to see the content from the sides. The possible angles are slightly wider but you will have to live with inverted colors with an angle of 40 degrees.

Performance

The heart of the B5400 is an Intel Core i5-4200M from the current Haswell generation, which is supported by 8 GB single-channel memory. The dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT 720M GPU is rather unusual for an office device, but it is the right choice for occasional gaming. Finally, you get a Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 with a capacity of 1 TB; you can use around 870 GB out of the box.

System information CPU-Z CPU
System information CPU-Z Cache
System information CPU-Z Motherboard
System information CPU-Z Memory
System information CPU-Z SPD
System information GPU-Z HD 4600
System information GPU-Z GT 720M
HD-Tune 84 MB/s seq. read
CrystalDiskMark 98 MB/s seq. read
 
System information Lenovo B5400 MB825GE

Processor

Cinebench R15 Single CPU@3.0 GHz
Cinebench R15 Single CPU@3.0 GHz
Cinebench R15 Multi CPU@3.0 GHz
Cinebench R15 Multi CPU@3.0 GHz

More and more notebooks are now equipped with very frugal low voltage CPUs from the Haswell generation (TDP of 15 Watts), even in some 17-inch devices, where the runtimes and the low emissions are not very important. This is, however, not the case with the Core i5-4200M (37 Watt) and the result is a significant performance advantage over the Core i5-4200U (e.g. Dell Latitude 3540). The processor with a letter "U" in the designation falls behind by 18 - 23%.

Inexpensive office notebooks can also be equipped with Pentium and Celeron CPUs (2117U), AMD APUs or Core i3 processors. Cinebench R11.5 shows the i5-4200M clearly beats the mentioned rivals. The slowest chip is the aged Trinity APU (-68%), and a Celeron 1037U (-55%) is not much faster either. The closest rival is the Core i3 with a deficit of 21 up to 30% depending on the benchmark. 

Our Core i5-4200M can often use its full Turbo clock (2.5 up to 3.1 GHz) in our tests and works on a constant level, even under continuous load. The good results cannot be maintained on battery power, a repeated run of Cinebench R11.5 determines the following results: Single 1.34 points; Multi 2.86 points; OpenGL (GT 720M) 30.5 fps. We noticed that only a repeated run of the OpenGL test boosted the fps from 25 to the mentioned 30.5.

Cinebench R11.5
CPU Multi 64Bit
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
3.21 Points ∼18%
HP ProBook 455 G1 H6P57EA
1.03 Points ∼6% -68%
Samsung ATIV Book 2 - 270E5E
1.39 Points ∼8% -57%
Acer Aspire E1-522-45004G50Mnkk
1.45 Points ∼8% -55%
Wortmann Terra Mobile 1512
1.47 Points ∼8% -54%
HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA
2.45 Points ∼14% -24%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
2.55 Points ∼14% -21%
Dell Latitude 3540
2.47 Points ∼14% -23%
CPU Single 64Bit
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
1.36 Points ∼74%
HP ProBook 455 G1 H6P57EA
0.68 Points ∼37% -50%
Samsung ATIV Book 2 - 270E5E
0.74 Points ∼40% -46%
Wortmann Terra Mobile 1512
0.75 Points ∼41% -45%
HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA
0.95 Points ∼51% -30%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
1.06 Points ∼57% -22%
Dell Latitude 3540
1.11 Points ∼60% -18%
Legend
      Lenovo B5400 MB825GE Intel Core i5-4200M, NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
      HP ProBook 455 G1 H6P57EA AMD A4-4300M, AMD Radeon HD 7420G, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
      Samsung ATIV Book 2 - 270E5E Intel Pentium 2117U, Intel HD Graphics (Ivy Bridge), Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
      Acer Aspire E1-522-45004G50Mnkk AMD A4-5000, AMD Radeon HD 8330, Toshiba MQ01ABD050
      Wortmann Terra Mobile 1512 Intel Celeron 1037U, Intel HD Graphics (Ivy Bridge), WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
      HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA Intel Core i3-3120M, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT0 12-9WS142
      Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041 Intel Core i3-4000M, Intel HD Graphics 4600, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
      Dell Latitude 3540 Intel Core i5-4200U, AMD Radeon HD 8850M, WDC Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVX-75JC3T0
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
6667 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
12185 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5843 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.36 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
31.07 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
3.21 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
37.77 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
290 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
119 Points
Help

System Performance

We use PCMark 7 and 8 to determine the system performance. The former shows our review unit clearly ahead of the competition. All systems in our chart use conventional hard drives, so there is no advantage from an SSD. PCMark 8 shows a more detailed result with its four sub-scores. The B5400 cannot maintain the lead in the Storage and Home scores. An SSD would change this result, but such a drive is not available in this price category.

PCMark 7 - Score
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
2885 Points ∼44%
Acer Aspire E1-522-45004G50Mnkk
1469 Points ∼22% -49%
HP ProBook 455 G1 H6P57EA
1586 Points ∼24% -45%
Wortmann Terra Mobile 1512
1647 Points ∼25% -43%
Samsung ATIV Book 2 - 270E5E
2053 Points ∼31% -29%
HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA
2201 Points ∼33% -24%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
2538 Points ∼38% -12%
PCMark 8
Home Score Accelerated
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
2949 Points ∼60%
HP ProBook 455 G1 H6P57EA
2273 Points ∼46% -23%
HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA
3784 Points ∼77% +28%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
2958 Points ∼60% 0%
Creative Score Accelerated
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
3062 Points ∼51%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
2590 Points ∼44% -15%
Work Score Accelerated
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
4719 Points ∼90%
HP ProBook 455 G1 H6P57EA
3681 Points ∼71% -22%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
4361 Points ∼84% -8%
Storage Score
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
1899 Points ∼38%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
2289 Points ∼46% +21%
PC Mark
PCMark 72885 points
PCMark 8 Home2949 points
PCMark 8 Creative3062 points
PCMark 8 Work4719 points
Help

Storage Devices

CrystalDiskMark shows that the Seagate Momentus SpinPoint is not the fastest hard drive. The sequential reading performance is average, but the other drives are faster in regard to the 4K reading performance. The WDC Scorpio Blue of the low cost Terra Mobile 1512 is even 39% faster in total.

Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
Intel Core i5-4200M, NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA
Intel Core i3-3120M, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT0 12-9WS142
HP ProBook 455 G1 H6P57EA
AMD A4-4300M, AMD Radeon HD 7420G, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
Intel Core i3-4000M, Intel HD Graphics 4600, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
Wortmann Terra Mobile 1512
Intel Celeron 1037U, Intel HD Graphics (Ivy Bridge), WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
-9%
10%
15%
39%
Read Seq98.6682.9
-16%
107.8
9%
110.3
12%
99.39
1%
Write Seq91.6579.16
-14%
102.5
12%
109.6
20%
99.29
8%
Read 4k0.3230.315
-2%
0.351
9%
0.373
15%
0.467
45%
Write 4k0.6250.607
-3%
0.682
9%
0.708
13%
1.26
102%
Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
Transfer Rate Minimum: 46.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 112.2 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 84.3 MB/s
Access Time: 17.2 ms
Burst Rate: 141.7 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1.6 %

Graphics

Cinebench R15 OpenGL HD 4600 @1150 MHz
Cinebench R15 OpenGL HD 4600 @1150 MHz
Cinebench R15 OpenGL GT 720M @936 MHz
Cinebench R15 OpenGL GT 720M @936 MHz

Graphics are handled by the HD Graphics 4600 from Intel, which is accompanied by the entry-level GT 720M GPU from Nvidia (1 GB DDR3). The GPU supports Optimus and can be deactivated. Both chips also support DirectX 11.1. Intel's integrated GPU works with 200 MHz up to 1,100 MHz, while the counterpart from Nvidia runs with 775 - 938 MHz (core).

We use the dedicated GPU (GT 720M) for the 3DMarks, which has no problem outclassing every HD Graphics 4000HD Graphics (Ivy Bridge) and Radeon HD 7420G. However: The ThinkPad Edge E540 uses a HD 4600 (Core i3) and only falls behind by 9 - 14%. The two GPUs of our review unit are therefore on an almost similar performance level. This leads to the justified question why the manufacturer integrated a dedicated GPU in the first place. Is the GT 720M better for gaming?

3DMark (2013)
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
4782 Points ∼20%
Samsung ATIV Book 2 - 270E5E
1887 Points ∼8% -61%
Wortmann Terra Mobile 1512
1926 Points ∼8% -60%
HP ProBook 455 G1 H6P57EA
1963 Points ∼8% -59%
HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA
2688 Points ∼11% -44%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
4114 Points ∼17% -14%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
5670 Points ∼7%
Samsung ATIV Book 2 - 270E5E
2280 Points ∼3% -60%
Wortmann Terra Mobile 1512
2303 Points ∼3% -59%
HP ProBook 455 G1 H6P57EA
2717 Points ∼4% -52%
HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA
2790 Points ∼4% -51%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
5165 Points ∼7% -9%
Legend
      Lenovo B5400 MB825GE Intel Core i5-4200M, NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
      Samsung ATIV Book 2 - 270E5E Intel Pentium 2117U, Intel HD Graphics (Ivy Bridge), Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
      Wortmann Terra Mobile 1512 Intel Celeron 1037U, Intel HD Graphics (Ivy Bridge), WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
      HP ProBook 455 G1 H6P57EA AMD A4-4300M, AMD Radeon HD 7420G, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
      HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA Intel Core i3-3120M, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT0 12-9WS142
      Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041 Intel Core i3-4000M, Intel HD Graphics 4600, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
8415 points
3DMark Ice Storm52859 points
3DMark Cloud Gate4782 points
3DMark Fire Strike782 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The GT 720M is better suited for gaming than the integrated HD 4600, which is supported by the results of Tomb Raider and BioShock Infinite. The accordingly equipped ThinkPad Edge E540 is about 45 and 38% slower. The Cloud Gate scores above are of limited relevance for the gaming performance.

Tomb Raider - 1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX AF:4x
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
GeForce GT 720M, 4200M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
37 fps ∼9%
Samsung ATIV Book 2 - 270E5E
HD Graphics (Ivy Bridge), 2117U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
11 fps ∼3% -70%
HP ProBook 455 G1 H6P57EA
Radeon HD 7420G, A4-4300M, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
14.9 fps ∼4% -60%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
HD Graphics 4600, 4000M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
20.3 fps ∼5% -45%
BioShock Infinite - 1280x720 Very Low Preset
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
GeForce GT 720M, 4200M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
43.9 fps ∼15%
Samsung ATIV Book 2 - 270E5E
HD Graphics (Ivy Bridge), 2117U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
16.4 fps ∼6% -63%
HP ProBook 455 G1 H6P57EA
Radeon HD 7420G, A4-4300M, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
26.1 fps ∼9% -41%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
HD Graphics 4600, 4000M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
27.21 fps ∼9% -38%
low med.high ultra
Tomb Raider (2013) 52.73721.3fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 43.928.323.5fps
Dota 2 (2013) 77.129.6fps

Emissions

Fan exhaust
Fan exhaust

System Noise

The fan of the B5400 is usually very quiet and is sometimes even deactivated during idle. We can only measure the slight noise of the hard drive (31.1 dB(A)) in this scenario. The DVD drive is very loud with up to 46.8 dB(A) during DVD playback. Most drives are somewhere between 35 up to 38 dB(A). The system noise under maximum load is very moderate, our stress test only results in 38.6 dB(A) with a slightly pulsating fan behavior.

Noise Level

Idle 31.8 / 33.5 / 34.6 dB(A)
HDD 32.3 dB(A)
DVD 46.8 / dB(A)
Load 37.6 / 38.6 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test (Prime95+FurMark): Starting with 3.0 GHz, GT 720M @936 MHz
Stress test (Prime95+FurMark): Starting with 3.0 GHz, GT 720M @936 MHz
Stress test (Prime95+FurMark): After 10 minutes with 2.5 GHz, GT 720M @936 MHz
Stress test (Prime95+FurMark): After 10 minutes with 2.5 GHz, GT 720M @936 MHz

A lot of performance, a lot of heat? This seems to be the case for the B5400. Our comparison devices, most of them 15-inch notebooks, are slightly cooler, but that is not really surprising when you consider the low voltage processors. However, Lenovo's ThinkPad Edge E540, where the hot spots are 22 up to 27% cooler, also shows that standard voltage systems can be better. 

We used our stress test to simulate the maximum load for the system. The processor reduced its clock to 2.5 GHz after 10 minutes but remained constant after that, while the CPU temperature leveled off at 81 °C. The GT 720M, which is also stressed, was able to maintain the maximum Turbo clock (936 MHz). Nvidia's GPU seems to be favored by the energy management. Throttling is, however, no problem; the clock never drops below the nominal value. A 3DMark benchmark run immediately after the stress test did not result in a lower score.

 37.6 °C33.4 °C23.3 °C 
 33 °C34.2 °C24.5 °C 
 29.3 °C30.9 °C28.5 °C 
Maximum: 37.6 °C
Average: 30.5 °C
24 °C34.6 °C41.9 °C
24 °C36.6 °C40.8 °C
24.3 °C30.6 °C33.9 °C
Maximum: 41.9 °C
Average: 32.3 °C
Power Supply (max.)  29.6 °C | Room Temperature 21.3 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The stereo speakers of the B5400 are above the keyboard behind a perforated plastic cover. They produce a sufficiently rich sound but lack bass. The performance is decent for an office notebook and they do not distort with higher volumes. We recommend headphones or external speakers for a better sound experience.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The B5400 with a standard voltage CPU and a dedicated GPU has the highest energy consumption within our comparison. It needs 77 Watts during our stress test and still 64 Watts with medium workloads (3DMark06). Notebooks with a 35/37 Watts TDP, but without a dedicated GPU, are significantly more frugal; the Edge E540 only needs half of that (36 up to 39 Watts) and the HP ProBook 450 is even more frugal (-57%).

If you want the lowest energy consumption for the office, you do not necessarily have to live with the reduced performance of a low voltage system (Intel or AMD APU). The average idle consumption (idle, maximum display brightness) shows the lowest result for the ThinkPad Edge E540 (35 Watts) with 7.7 Watts, followed by the ULV rivals HP ProBook 455Wortmann Terra Mobile 1512 and Samsung ATIV Book 2 - 270E5E with 11, 13.6 and 9 Watts. Only the consumption under load is usually much higher for the faster cores, but most office notebooks are idling quite a lot during a typical business day.

The 90 Watts power supply unit does not have any problems with the consumption. A complete recharge of the battery takes 2:34 hours.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.3 / 0.1 Watt
Idle 6.5 / 13.7 / 14.6 Watt
Load 64 / 77.5 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 960

Battery Runtime

We can see a clear difference between the B5400 and the competition in regard to the battery runtimes, but they do not favor our review unit. All the competitors have an advantage of at least 40% in total. Our WLAN test (script refreshes websites every 45 seconds, brightness at 150 cd/m²) results in 263 minutes for the ThinkPad Edge E540 (48 Wh) and only 164 minutes for our review unit. The ProBook 450 (47 Wh) only has an advantage of 16% in this scenario. The 48 Wh battery capacity of the B4500 is similar to the competitors (37 or 35 Watts TDP respectively).

Our test also includes the runtime during DVD playback. We decided to use a high-resolution movie from the hard drive (150 cd/m ², flight mode). The loop stopped after 3 hours and 5 minutes.

Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
326 min ∼22%
HP ProBook 455 G1 H6P57EA
516 min ∼34% +58%
HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA
506 min ∼34% +55%
Wortmann Terra Mobile 1512
377 min ∼25% +16%
Samsung ATIV Book 2 - 270E5E
424 min ∼28% +30%
Classic / Load
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
78 min ∼5%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
91 min ∼6% +17%
HP ProBook 455 G1 H6P57EA
102 min ∼7% +31%
HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA
134 min ∼9% +72%
Wortmann Terra Mobile 1512
151 min ∼10% +94%
Samsung ATIV Book 2 - 270E5E
140 min ∼9% +79%
WLAN
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
164 min ∼11%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
263 min ∼18% +60%
HP ProBook 455 G1 H6P57EA
261 min ∼17% +59%
HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA
191 min ∼13% +16%
Wortmann Terra Mobile 1512
258 min ∼17% +57%
Samsung ATIV Book 2 - 270E5E
259 min ∼17% +58%
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
5h 26min
WiFi Surfing
2h 44min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
3h 05min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 18min

Verdict

Lenovo offers a powerful notebook with the B5400 that should have sufficient performance for many years. The emissions are reasonably low, even with the dedicated GPU. But that is all the praise, our review unit is otherwise average at best. This also applies for the input devices, which are especially important for an office device. A spongy typing experience and the cheap touchpad are not very convenient. The stability of the flexible plastic case is just acceptable for the desk. The ports are reasonable for the undemanding office class (2x USB 3.0) and you can attach Lenovo's OneLink Dock for more peripherals and improved handling. Battery runtimes are comparatively short and the TN panel has limited viewing angles and a visible blue cast. However, the contrast (495:1) is decent. Finally there are smaller issues, like the unusable webcam (picture noise even with daylight) and the very loud DVD drive.

So there are not many reasons for acquiring the B5400. You can get a ThinkPad Edge E540 (Core i3, 35 Watts) from the same manufacturer for around 570 Euros (~$770) if you can waive the dedicated Nvidia GPU. It manages an overall rating of 84% with its stability, quality impression, very good input devices and slightly better runtimes. Slightly more expensive, but also better: HP's ProBook 450-H0V92EA (Core i3; 599 Euros, ~$810). The 15-inch notebook has very good input devices and very low emissions, only the display has a lower contrast.

Review unit courtesy of ...

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In Review: Lenovo B5400 MB825GE, courtesy of Cyberport.de
In Review: Lenovo B5400 MB825GE, courtesy of Cyberport.de

Specifications

Lenovo B5400 MB825GE

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM86 (Lynx Point)
:: Memory
8192 MB, 1x 8 GB, one empty slot, single-channel
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M - 1024 MB, Core: 775-938 MHz, Memory: 1001 MHz, DDR3, 9.18.13.1183 ForceWare 311.83, Optimus with HD Graphics 4600
:: Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, CMO N156BGE-L11, TN LED, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB, 1000 GB 5400 rpm , 870 GB free
:: Soundcard
HD Audio
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: Headphones, Microphone, Card Reader: SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC, OneLink Dock
:: Networking
Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Realtek RTL8723BE Wireless LAN 802.11n PCI-E NIC (n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GU70N
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 28.5 x 378 x 259.5
:: Weight
2.371 kg Power Supply: 0.461 kg
:: Battery
48 Wh Lithium-Ion, 6-cell, 4.4 Ah, 10.8 V
Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 8 h
:: Price
549 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 0.9 MP 1280x720, Speakers: 2x, Stereo, Keyboard: Accu Type, Keyboard Light: no, Lenovo Solution Center, Quick Control, Cloud Storage, PowerDVD, MS Office (trial version)

 

"Office notebooks are boring and heavy plastic devices...
"Office notebooks are boring and heavy plastic devices...
...without a good design and a boxy footprint."
...without a good design and a boxy footprint."
Well, many of these statements also apply to the Lenovo B5400 MB825GE.
Well, many of these statements also apply to the Lenovo B5400 MB825GE.
The mainstream device for 550 Euros (~$743) is positioned between the low-cost devices (B575e) and the entry-level professional series (e.g. L-series).
The mainstream device for 550 Euros (~$743) is positioned between the low-cost devices (B575e) and the entry-level professional series (e.g. L-series).
The Lenovo B5400 is supposed to be fit for everyday tasks, which require a solid construction,...
The Lenovo B5400 is supposed to be fit for everyday tasks, which require a solid construction,...
...durable surfaces and input devices with very good feedback.
...durable surfaces and input devices with very good feedback.
The keys provide a good feedback, but the travel could be longer.
The keys provide a good feedback, but the travel could be longer.
The performance is very good thanks to the Intel Core i5-4200M and the GeForce GT 720M.
The performance is very good thanks to the Intel Core i5-4200M and the GeForce GT 720M.
The anti-reflective display has a reasonable contrast, but the viewing angles are limited.
The anti-reflective display has a reasonable contrast, but the viewing angles are limited.
Ports en masse? Not quite, but, contrary to the consumer devices, Lenovo does at least not waive the VGA port.
Ports en masse? Not quite, but, contrary to the consumer devices, Lenovo does at least not waive the VGA port.
The bulky front with the card reader.
The bulky front with the card reader.
Speakers are below the hinges.
Speakers are below the hinges.
As usual, the battery can be replaced.
As usual, the battery can be replaced.
The 6-cell module has a capacity of 48 Wh.
The 6-cell module has a capacity of 48 Wh.
The large maintenance cover at the bottom is easy to remove.
The large maintenance cover at the bottom is easy to remove.
You can also access the fan to clean it.
You can also access the fan to clean it.
WLAN module.
WLAN module.
One memory slot is empty.
One memory slot is empty.
An empty mSATA slot for according mSATA SSDs.
An empty mSATA slot for according mSATA SSDs.
The 2.5-inch hard drive with a height of 9.5 mm.
The 2.5-inch hard drive with a height of 9.5 mm.
Very good maintainability.
Very good maintainability.
Power button lights up green (Lenovo consumer devices: white).
Power button lights up green (Lenovo consumer devices: white).
The big PSU has a hefty weight of 461 grams,...
The big PSU has a hefty weight of 461 grams,...
...but it does provide up to 90 Watts in return.
...but it does provide up to 90 Watts in return.
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE: TN panel with the typical limited viewing angles.
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE: TN panel with the typical limited viewing angles.
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE: Bulky but not very solid plastic case.
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE: Bulky but not very solid plastic case.
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE: New port for Lenovo's port replicator OneLink Dock.
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE: New port for Lenovo's port replicator OneLink Dock.
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE: Not perfect for the road, the brightness on battery power is limited to 120 cd/m², which is just sufficient for indoor environments.
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE: Not perfect for the road, the brightness on battery power is limited to 120 cd/m², which is just sufficient for indoor environments.
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE: Very good maintainability.
Lenovo B5400 MB825GE: Very good maintainability.

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Links

Compare Prices

Pro

+Good performance
+Reasonable contrast ratio
 

Cons

-Low brightness on battery
-Noisy DVD drive
-Wobbly chassis
-Poor feedback of the input devices
-Distinct blue cast of the display
-Unusable webcam pictures

Shortcut

What we like

The matte display and the good maintainability with one empty mSATA and memory slot.

What we miss

Appealing price or not: Potential buyers are attracted with good hardware but get a low-cost chassis. Is the advantage of a dedicated GPU really worth it?

What surprises us

The cheap and imprecise input devices. It would be really embarrassing if it had a ThinkPad branding.

The competition

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 (Core i3; starting at 570 Euros, ~$770) 

HP ProBook 450-H0V92EA (Core i3; 599 Euros, ~$810) 

Cheaper:

HP ProBook 455 (AMD A4; starting at 450 Euros, ~$608)

Samsung ATIV Book 2 - 270E5E (Pentium 2117U; starting at 500 Euros, ~$676)

Wortmann Terra Mobile 1512 (Celeron; starting at 470 Euros, ~$635)

Rating

Lenovo B5400 MB825GE
01/29/2014 v4
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
72 / 98 → 73%
Keyboard
68%
Pointing Device
65%
Connectivity
73%
Weight
83 / 67 → 100%
Battery
78%
Display
62%
Games Performance
81 / 85 → 95%
Application Performance
91%
Temperature
78%
Noise
81%
Add Points
+65%
Average
75%
73%
Office *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Lenovo B5400 MB825GE Notebook
Author: Sebastian Jentsch, 2014-02- 3 (Update: 2014-02- 4)