Notebookcheck

Review Lenovo IdeaPad Z510 Notebook

Sascha Mölck (translated by Martina Osztovits), 11/17/2013

Old packaging, new content. Lenovo wants to attract users looking for the highest possible performance for as little money as possible with the new IdeaPad Z510 series . The Z510 comes with a Haswell CPU, a GeForce GPU and a matte Full HD display for about 700 Euros (~$944). Our review reveals whether the IdeaPad is only convincing on paper or also in practice.

For the original German review, see here.

The IdeaPad Z510 series consists of a number of 15.6-inch mid-range multimedia notebooks. The Z510 models are successors of the Z500 notebook series. With the IdeaPad Z500-MBYG2GE (Core i7-3632QM, GeForce GT 645M) we reviewed a member of this series. While the Z500 models still featured Ivy Bridge CPUs, Lenovo uses Haswell CPUs in the Z510 series. The Z500 model reviewed by us achieved a total rating of "Good" (79%). In theory, the Z510 should perform better, as the computer's battery life should be longer and its waste heat and system noise should be lower because of its Haswell CPU. Our review reveals whether this is actually true.

We compare the notebook to the following competitors: Asus N56VB-S4050H (Core i7-3630QM, GeForce GT 740M) and Acer Aspire E1-572G (Core i5-4200U, Radeon HD 8750M). Both of them belong to the same category as the IdeaPad and are very similarly equipped. The Aspire model reviewed by us only featured an HD display (1366x768 pixels), but it is also available with a matte Full HD display.

At first glance the Lenovo Z510 series appears to use the same case as the Z500 series. But, this is not completely true. The computers are slightly different, but they also have a lot in common. This review will give a detailed description of the differences. Please refer to the review of the Z500 for information about case, input devices, and connectivity.

Case

The case of the Z510 is about 5 mm wider and about 2 mm longer than the Z500's, but it got only significantly less than 1 mm higher. In general, the two series share the same shape, materials, surfaces, colors, build quality, and stability. The recess of the battery looks slightly different. While the Z500's was completely rounded, the Z510's is flattened on one side.

Connectivity

None of the three competitors have a surprising connectivity. All of them come with at least one USB 3.0 port. The IdeaPad features two, the Asus even has four ports. Users of both computers particularly benefit from these if they transfer much data between two external hard drives. Compromises have to be accepted in Ethernet. The Lenovo only features Fast Ethernet, while the two competitors come with Gigabit Ethernet. The interface layout of the Z510 slightly differs from the Z500's, but it is not ideal on both notebooks: The ports are on both sides of the palm rests.

Left side: Power, One-Key Recovery button, VGA out, Ethernet, HDMI, 2x USB 3.0
Left side: Power, One-Key Recovery button, VGA out, Ethernet, HDMI, 2x USB 3.0
Right side: Audio combo, card reader, USB 2.0, DVD burner, Kensington security lock slot
Right side: Audio combo, card reader, USB 2.0, DVD burner, Kensington security lock slot

Operating System and Recovery

The IdeaPad uses Windows 8 (64-bit) as the operating system. A Windows 8 DVD is not included. The system can be repaired with Lenovo's One-Key Recovery system, which can also be used to recover the factory state. In order to run it, you simply need to press the One-Key Recovery button (left side beside the vent holes) when the notebook is turned off. The notebook boots and displays a menu, which allows accessing the BIOS. Select "System Recovery" from the menu.

Maintenance

Alike the Z500, the Z510 is not especially easy to maintain. In order to get to the hardware and the battery, you have to open the case. The first step is to remove the keyboard. For this purpose, loosen the three rear screws on the underside of the case. Afterwards, insert a screwdriver into one of the screw holes and carefully push out the keyboard with it. Please note: The keyboard is connected to the motherboard by a ribbon cable. Now there is limited access to the fan which allows cleaning it.

Removing the keyboard will uncover several screws. First of all loosen and remove the retaining screw of the DVD burner. Afterwards loosen the other screws. Attention: One of them is hidden beneath a Lenovo sticker. In the next step, remove all screws of the underside of the case. Three of them are at the front edge, three at the edge of the DVD shaft and four are hidden beneath the rubber feet, which can be easily removed as they are not glued. Once you removed all screws, you can remove the bottom tray. A putty knife can be used for this task. But be careful: The underside is also held by a number of plastic hooks, which break easily.

Once you removed the bottom tray, you will gain access to the RAM, hard drive, WLAN module, battery, and fan. The latter can be removed for cleaning. The IdeaPad features two RAM slots, which are both occupied by a 4 GB module. Only 2.5-inch hard drives with a height of 7 mm will fit into the computer. The battery can be removed too. It is fixed by two screws and connected to the motherboard by a plug. It is even possible to replace the CPU, which sits in a socket.

Input Devices

Apart from a small difference, the keyboard of the Z510 and the Z500 are identical: The Z510's keyboard does not have a light. Please refer to the review of the IdeaPad Z500 for information about keyboard and touchpad.

Display

Lenovo uses a matte 15.6-inch display with a native resolution of 1920x1080 pixels in the IdeaPad. The N56VB features the same display type, while the Aspire model we reviewed came with a glossy HD display (1366x768 pixels), but it is also available with a matte Full HD display. The average brightness of the Z510 of 294.6 cd/m² is good. The Asus notebook (360.4 cd/m²) is significantly brighter. The Aspire (182.3 cd/m²) is far behind the competitors.

342
cd/m²
306
cd/m²
300
cd/m²
303
cd/m²
317
cd/m²
282
cd/m²
291
cd/m²
259
cd/m²
251
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 342 cd/m²
Average: 294.6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 73 %
Center on Battery: 317 cd/m²
Black: 0.97 cd/m²
Contrast: 327:1
IdeaPad Z510 vs. sRGB
IdeaPad Z510 vs. sRGB
IdeaPad Z510 vs. AdobeRGB
IdeaPad Z510 vs. AdobeRGB

Contrast (327:1) and black value (0.97 cd/m²) of the IdeaPad are not convincing. The Aspire (415:1, 0.47 cd/m²) and especially the N56VB (765:1, 0.52 cd/m²) perform significantly better. The display of the Z510 does not cover AdobeRGB or sRGB. The coverage is about 48.8% (AdobeRGB) and 66.6% (sRGB). These color spaces are important for professional image editing.

We measured the screen against sRGB and identified an average DeltaE-2000 deviation (target space: sRGB) of just under 9. Only blue, yellow-orange, and yellow are in the target range (DeltaE < 5). The display is significantly bluish.

CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - Gray levels
CalMAN - Gray levels
CalMAN - Color saturation
CalMAN - Color saturation

Our photo proves that the notebook can be used outdoors. High brightness and the matte surface make it possible.

The viewing angles are typical for a notebook. Moving in a vertical direction quickly results in image shifts. The display remains legible when viewed from the sides, but the image gets darker when the angle increases.

IdeaPad Z510: outdoors
IdeaPad Z510: outdoors
IdeaPad Z510: viewing angles
IdeaPad Z510: viewing angles

Performance

With the new IdeaPad Z510 series, Lenovo offers some mid-priced 15.6-inch multimedia notebooks. Apart from everyday applications like video playback or Skype, these devices can also run demanding tasks like 3D games or video editing. Currently, our test device costs about 650 to 720 Euros (~$877 to ~$971). Lenovo offers several models with different processors, hard drive capacities and operating systems. At the time of testing, the cheapest model (IdeaPad Z510 59400165) features the same hardware as our test sample, but it comes without Windows OS. Its price is about 630 Euros (~$850).

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
HWInfo
System information: Lenovo IdeaPad Z510

Processor

With the Core i5-4200M, our IdeaPad is powered by a standard volt (not ULV) CPU. The dual-core CPU is based on Intel's latest Haswell architecture and clocks in at 2.5 GHz. The Turbo can increase the clock rate to up to 3 GHz (both cores) or 3.1 GHz (only one core). Its direct Ivy Bridge predecessor is called Core i5-3210M. Both CPUs have the same base and turbo clocks. Thanks to Haswell improvements, the Core i5-4200M should perform about 10% better.

The processor clocks at 3 GHz during the single thread tests of Cinebench. Every now and then, the clock rate of one core is increased to 3.1 GHz. The CPU runs at 3 GHz during the multi-thread tests. The IdeaPad can keep up with the Asus (Core i7-3630QM, GeForce GT 740M) in single threaded tests, while the processor of the N56VB profits from its two additional cores and its higher Turbo rates during multi-threaded tasks. The Aspire (Core i5-4200U, Radeon HD 8750M) is slower than both competitors. This is not surprising as it features a ULV model of the Core i5-4200M with a significantly lower clock rate.

The results of the three devices are close in the GL tests. The IdeaPad and the N56VB feature the same GPU. The performance of the Radeon core in the Aspire is about on par.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4496
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
9789
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6698
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5797 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
12186 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
6473 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
45.35 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
3.25 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.37 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
57.14 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
299 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
118 Points
Help
Cinebench R11.5 - OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z510
GeForce GT 740M, 4200M, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
45.35 fps ∼37%
HP Pavilion 15-e052sg
Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics, A8-5550M, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
26.58 fps ∼22% -41%
Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927
GeForce GT 720M, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB LITEONIT LSS-24L6G SSD Cache
27.65 fps ∼23% -39%
HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15-b004sg Ultrabook
GeForce GT 630M, 3317U, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-60HXZT3 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
29.8 fps ∼24% -34%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G75Mnkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4200U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
37.85 fps ∼31% -17%
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5
GeForce GT 740M, 3230M, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
37.88 fps ∼31% -16%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z500-MBYG2GE
GeForce GT 645M, 3632QM, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
39.24 fps ∼32% -13%
Toshiba L50-A-10Q
GeForce GT 740M, 4700MQ, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541075A9E680
41.03 fps ∼33% -10%
Asus N56VB-S4050H
GeForce GT 740M, 3630QM, WDC Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-80HXZT3
42.12 fps ∼34% -7%
Acer Aspire V5-573G-54208G50aii
GeForce GT 750M, 4200U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT0 12-9WS142
42.33 fps ∼35% -7%
Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z510
GeForce GT 740M, 4200M, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
3.25 Points ∼18%
HP Pavilion 15-e052sg
Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics, A8-5550M, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
2.06 Points ∼12% -37%
HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15-b004sg Ultrabook
GeForce GT 630M, 3317U, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-60HXZT3 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
2.4 Points ∼14% -26%
Acer Aspire V5-573G-54208G50aii
GeForce GT 750M, 4200U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT0 12-9WS142
2.45 Points ∼14% -25%
Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927
GeForce GT 720M, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB LITEONIT LSS-24L6G SSD Cache
2.46 Points ∼14% -24%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G75Mnkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4200U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
2.51 Points ∼14% -23%
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5
GeForce GT 740M, 3230M, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
3.01 Points ∼17% -7%
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5
GeForce GT 740M, 3230M, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
3.01 Points ∼17% -7%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z500-MBYG2GE
GeForce GT 645M, 3632QM, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
5.35 Points ∼30% +65%
Toshiba L50-A-10Q
GeForce GT 740M, 4700MQ, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541075A9E680
5.68 Points ∼32% +75%
Asus N56VB-S4050H
GeForce GT 740M, 3630QM, WDC Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-80HXZT3
6.41 Points ∼36% +97%

System Performance

The system runs smoothly. We did not observe big delays. The very good results in the PCMark benchmarks confirm our impression. The Aspire (Core i5-4200U, Radeon HD 8750M) and N56VB (Core i7-3630QM, GeForce GT 740M) perform significantly worse as they lack an SSD cache, which the Z510 features.

5.6
Windows 8 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.2
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.6
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
5.6
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.6
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage8145 points
PCMark 74214 points
PCMark 8 Home3091 points
PCMark 8 Creative3388 points
PCMark 8 Work4426 points
Help
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z510
GeForce GT 740M, 4200M, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
4214 Points ∼64%
HP Pavilion 15-e052sg
Radeon HD 8550G + HD 8670M Dual Graphics, A8-5550M, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
1996 Points ∼30% -53%
Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5
GeForce GT 740M, 3230M, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
2544 Points ∼38% -40%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G75Mnkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4200U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
2711 Points ∼41% -36%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z500-MBYG2GE
GeForce GT 645M, 3632QM, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
2805 Points ∼42% -33%
Acer Aspire V5-573G-54208G50aii
GeForce GT 750M, 4200U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT0 12-9WS142
2878 Points ∼43% -32%
Asus N56VB-S4050H
GeForce GT 740M, 3630QM, WDC Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-80HXZT3
3065 Points ∼46% -27%
Toshiba L50-A-10Q
GeForce GT 740M, 4700MQ, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541075A9E680
3183 Points ∼48% -24%
Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch 59372927
GeForce GT 720M, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB LITEONIT LSS-24L6G SSD Cache
3340 Points ∼50% -21%
HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15-b004sg Ultrabook
GeForce GT 630M, 3317U, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-60HXZT3 + 32 GB LiteOn LMT-32L3M SSD Cache
3923 Points ∼59% -7%

Storage Devices

HD Tune
HD Tune
CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark

Lenovo equipped the IdeaPad with a hybrid hard drive from Seagate with a revolution speed of 5400 rpm and a capacity of 500 GB. It addition, it features an SSD cache (8 GB). The CrystalDiskMark results show that the write rates of the hard drive are significantly higher than the read rates. In addition, the sequential read rate of 51.31 MB/s is unusually low. The average transfer rate reported by HD Tune of 88.9 MB/s is significantly better. Nevertheless, we did not feel that the hard drive is unusually slow.

Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
Transfer Rate Minimum: 7.6 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 113.8 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 88.9 MB/s
Access Time: 17.7 ms
Burst Rate: 155.8 MB/s
CPU Usage: 5 %

Graphics card

Lenovo uses an Optimus solution consisting of Intel's HD Graphics 4600 and GeForce GT 740M for rendering. The Intel chip is relatively frugal and is used for everyday tasks and on battery. The GT 740M GPU is used during demanding tasks, e. g. 3D games. Both cores support at least DirectX 11. The GeForce is a mid-range GPU. Its base clock is about 980 MHz. The Turbo can increase the clock rate to 1058 MHz and the notebook also uses it.

In the 3DMark benchmarks the Asus notebook (Core i7-3630QM, GeForce GT 740M) performs better than the IdeaPad, although they are equipped with the same graphics card, as the N56VB profits from its fast quad-core CPU. So, the lead of the N56VB decreases if the results do not depend heavily on CPU performance, e. g. in 3DMark 2011. The same is true for the Aspire (Core i5-4200U, Radeon HD 8750M). The Radeon GPU of the Acer is about on par with the GeForce GT 740M, but the Acer cannot always keep up with the IdeaPad in the 3DMark benchmarks, as it features the weakest CPU of the three.

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
10361 points
3DMark Vantage6592 points
3DMark 112061 points
3DMark Ice Storm52373 points
3DMark Cloud Gate5375 points
3DMark Fire Strike1147 points
Help
Lenovo IdeaPad Z510
Intel Core i5-4200M, NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G75Mnkk
Intel Core i5-4200U, AMD Radeon HD 8750M, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
Asus N56VB-S4050H
Intel Core i7-3630QM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, WDC Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-80HXZT3
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p
Intel Core i7-4700MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M SLI, Samsung SpinPoint M8 HN-M101MBB
3DMark (2013)
1%
31%
123%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score5237350492
-4%
67664
29%
83684
60%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score53755433
1%
8226
53%
12684
136%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Standard Score11471209
5%
1269
11%
3143
174%

Gaming Performance

Thank to Haswell CPU and GeForce GPU the IdeaPad also performs well in computer games. Most games can be played in HD resolution (1366x768 pixels) with medium to high quality. The computer can also run current top titles like Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts. But, Batman: Arkham Origins caused problems. As the game always crashed when loading contents, we cannot report any frame rates.

If you require a significantly higher gaming performance, you could consider the Lenovo IdeaPad Y510P (Core i7-4700MQ, GeForce GT 750M SLI), which is able to run many games in Full HD and maximum quality. However, at about 1200 to 1300 Euros (~$1619 to ~$1754) it is also significantly more expensive than the Z510. A scaled-down Y510P model with  Core i5-4200M and GeForce GT 755M is available and costs less than 800 Euros (~$1079), but it comes without Windows operating system.

low med.high ultra
World of Warcraft (2005) 63.836.2fps
Crysis - GPU Benchmark (2007) 78.439.4fps
Crysis - CPU Benchmark (2007) 64.732.5fps
Trackmania Nations Forever (2008) 86.630.3fps
Resident Evil 5 (2009) 68.432.5fps
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (2010) 65.146.6fps
Batman: Arkham City (2011) 935931fps
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) 54.937.828fps
Anno 2070 (2011) 125.957.232.9fps
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (2012) 4114.6fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 974725.9fps
F1 2013 (2013) 114857630fps
Battlefield 4 (2013) 52.235.321.5fps
Call of Duty: Ghosts (2013) 61.942.519.4fps
Lenovo IdeaPad Z510
Intel Core i5-4200M, NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G75Mnkk
Intel Core i5-4200U, AMD Radeon HD 8750M, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
Asus N56VB-S4050H
Intel Core i7-3630QM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, WDC Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-80HXZT3
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p
Intel Core i7-4700MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M SLI, Samsung SpinPoint M8 HN-M101MBB
Tomb Raider
4%
25%
256%
1024x768 Low Preset9792.6
-5%
111.4
15%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX AF:4x4745.5
-3%
57.9
23%
142.7
204%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FX AF:8x25.930.8
19%
35.3
36%
105.8
308%

Emissions

System Noise

The noise ranges from 30.9 to 32.4 dB while idle. These values are alright. The N56VB (29.8 to 32.8 dB) is on par, while the Aspire (31.3 to 33.6 dB) is significantly louder. During medium load (3DMark06) and full load (stress test: Prime95 and Furmark) the noise of the Z510 increases to 37.6 and 39.1 dB respectively. The Asus (38.2 and 39.2 dB) is on par again. The Aspire (35.3 and 39.8 dB) is only on par with the competitors under full load. Overall, the Z510 works quieter than its predecessor. But the DVD burners of the two computers are very loud, especially when seeking.

Noise Level

Idle 30.9 / 30.9 / 32.4 dB(A)
HDD 31.7 dB(A)
DVD 46.2 / dB(A)
Load 37.6 / 39.1 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

IdeaPad Z510: stress test
IdeaPad Z510: stress test

None of the three competitors gets especially warm while idle. They are all in the green. Under load the case temperature of the IdeaPad exceeds 40 °C. The same is true for the Asus, albeit to a lesser extent. The Aspire gets hottest, which is surprising as it is equipped with a ULV CPU.

During the stress test (Prime95 and Furmark run for at least one hour) the CPU clocks at 3 GHz on mains. The GPU starts with full Turbo speed (1058 MHz), but the clock rate falls to 980 MHz after about 3 minutes and remains there constantly. However, the stress test is not an everyday scenario. The results of our gaming and applications benchmarks do not show any anomalies. The CPU temperature leveled off at about 87 °C on mains.

When the stress test is run on battery, the CPU clocks at 2.5 GHz and the graphics core runs at minimum speed (135 MHz). The latter surprised us and we reran 3DMark 2011 and the Tomb Raider benchmark on battery. The results of the two benchmarks confirm that the computer cannot really be used for gaming on battery. The 3DMark 2011 result falls to 372 points and the Tomb Raider benchmark reaches frame rates of 20.7 fps (min.) and 9.6 fps (medium).

Max. Load
 40.4 °C45 °C26.2 °C 
 43 °C41.9 °C25.6 °C 
 31.1 °C34.8 °C29.1 °C 
Maximum: 45 °C
Average: 35.2 °C
25.7 °C30.1 °C36 °C
25.6 °C30.5 °C44.3 °C
25.2 °C31.6 °C35 °C
Maximum: 44.3 °C
Average: 31.6 °C
Power Supply (max.)  50.8 °C | Room Temperature 24 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The stereo speakers of the Z510 are on the same place on the underside of the case as the Z500's. Contrary to the Z500, Lenovo advertises with the manufacturer of the Z510's speakers: JBL. This is also printed on the case and a sticker. The sound of the speakers is enjoyable and voluminous and the ears will not even hurt after prolonged listening. We were a little surprised that the sound is also that good without activated Dolby Home Theatre Software (preinstalled). Activating it will improve the sound even more. Users can use preinstalled sound profiles or experiment with individual settings. If you are not satisfied by the sound of the speakers, you can connect external speakers or headphones.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

While idle the power consumption ranges from 7 to 10.4 Watt. Considering that the IdeaPad is equipped with a conventional mobile CPU and a dedicated graphics chip, these values are pleasing. The Aspire (6.2 to 10.6 Watt) is even more frugal. The N56VB (10.8 to 25.1 Watt) is significantly more power hungry. Under medium load (3DMark06) and full load (stress test: Prime95 and Furmark), the power consumption of the Z510 increases to 57.9 and 55.3 Watt respectively.  The second value is lower, as the computer does not run at full speed under full load. The Asus has a power consumption of 75.7 and 82 Watt respectively. But, it should be considered that this computer features a powerful quad-core CPU. Thanks to its ULV CPU, the Aspire (40.8 and 50.7 Watt respectively) is the most frugal.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.2 / 0.4 Watt
Idle 7 / 10.2 / 10.4 Watt
Load 57.9 / 55.4 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

The battery of the IdeaPad lasts 6:56 h when idle. The battery life of the N56VB (4:48 h) is significantly shorter. Neither computer can keep up with the Aspire (9:02 h). We test the idle scenario with the Battery Eater Reader's test with minimum display brightness, active energy saving profile, and disabled radio modules. Under load the IdeaPad achieves a battery life of 1:29 h. The Asus and the Aspire perform worse, but the latter's battery life is only a few minutes shorter. We tested the battery life under load with the Battery Eater Classic test with maximum brightness, profile "Maximum performance", and enabled radio modules.

The WLAN test ends after 3:27 h on the Lenovo. The N56VB (3:40 h) and especially the Aspire (4:26 h) keep running longer. This test automatically loads web pages every 40 seconds. The energy saving profile is selected and the display brightness is set to about 150 cd/m². DVD playback stops after 2:43 h on the IdeaPad. The N56VB (2:46 h) is on par. The Aspire (3:21 h) has the longest battery life again. The DVD test is run with energy saving profile (or higher if the DVD does not play smoothly), maximum brightness and disabled radio modules.

Although the Aspire's battery has the smallest capacity, the Acer takes the lead in battery life (Lenovo: 48 Wh, Asus: 56 Wh, Acer: 37 Wh). The ULV CPU pays off here.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
6h 56min
WiFi Surfing
3h 27min
DVD
2h 43min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 29min

Verdict

The IdeaPad Z510
The IdeaPad Z510

The IdeaPad Z510 has a good system and gaming performance. Thanks to its hybrid hard drive the computer works rather fast. The battery life is acceptable and the power consumption is moderate. In addition, Lenovo packs the components in a relatively slim, robust case with good build quality. We also liked the bright Full HD display and the matte surface a lot. Unfortunately, it has a low contrast and is bluish. Furthermore, the Z510 inherited several weaknesses from its predecessor: The DVD burner is loud and the notebook only features a Fast Ethernet port. In addition, the device is not easy to maintain.

Consider the Asus N56VB if you require as much CPU performance as possible. Thanks to its Core i7 processor, it performs better in this aspect. However, it also costs more than the IdeaPad. A scaled-down N56VB model with Core i5-3230M processor for about 700 Euros (~$944) would be another alternative. In addition, the Asus is easier to maintain. The Acer Aspire E1-572G can be considered if battery life is important besides computer and gaming performance. The Aspire is the best compromise of all three here and you don't even have to do without a Full HD display. Our test device with matte Full HD display is currently available for about 600 Euros (~$809). So, the Aspire is the cheapest of the three. Information about its Full HD display is available in our review of the Acer Aspire E1-572.

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In Review: The Lenovo IdeaPad Z510-59393217, courtesy of:
In Review: The Lenovo IdeaPad Z510-59393217, courtesy of:

Specifications

Lenovo IdeaPad Z510
Processor
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M - 1024 MB, Core: 980-1058 MHz, Memory: 1000 MHz, ForceWare 331.65, Optimus
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR3, dual channel, two RAM slots (both occupied)
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, ChiMei N156HGE EA1, TN LED, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM86 (Lynx Point)
Harddisk
Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive, 500 GB 
5400 rpm , 400 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: audio combo, Card Reader: SD, MMC,
Networking
Realtek RTL8102E Family PCI-E Fast Ethernet (10/100MBit), Atheros AR9485 WiFi Adapter (b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
Optical drive
HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GU70N
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 25.6 x 380 x 265 ( = 1.01 x 14.96 x 10.43 in)
Weight
2.2 kg ( = 77.6 oz) Power Supply: 338 g ( = 11.92 oz)
Battery
48 Wh Lithium-Ion, 14.4 V, 3350 mAh
Price
749 Euro
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 64 Bit
Additional features
Webcam: HD web cam , Speakers: Stereo (2x 2 Watt), Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, Cyberlink PowerDVD 10, Cyberlink Youcam, Cyberlink Power2Go, McAfee Internet Security (trial version), Microsoft Office 365 (trial version), 24 Months Warranty

 

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Good: No glossy surfaces.
Good: No glossy surfaces.
The color of the lid is called Dark Chocolate.
The color of the lid is called Dark Chocolate.
The DVD burner reads and writes all kinds of DVDs and CDs.
The DVD burner reads and writes all kinds of DVDs and CDs.
A number pad is available.
A number pad is available.
No maintenance hatch.
No maintenance hatch.
You need to remove the bottom tray to get to the inner components.
You need to remove the bottom tray to get to the inner components.
There are two RAM slots.
There are two RAM slots.
It is possible to replace the hard drive.
It is possible to replace the hard drive.
The fan can be removed for cleaning.
The fan can be removed for cleaning.
The GPU is soldered.
The GPU is soldered.
The processor can be replaced.
The processor can be replaced.
Good: Two WLAN antennas are available.
Good: Two WLAN antennas are available.
The battery can be removed.
The battery can be removed.
It has a capacity of 48 Wh.
It has a capacity of 48 Wh.
The hinges...
The hinges...
...keep the lid safely in place.
...keep the lid safely in place.
The IdeaPad Z510 outdoors.
The IdeaPad Z510 outdoors.
Lenovo preinstalls several apps.
Lenovo preinstalls several apps.

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Pro

+decent system performance
+decent gaming performance
+bright, matte Full HD screen
+attractive case
+slim design
+good speakers
+hybrid hard drive
 

Cons

-bluish screen with low contrast
-loud DVD burner
-only Fast Ethernet
-not easy to maintain

Shortcut

What we like

The good system and gaming performance and the case. In addition, we appreciate the display brightness and the matte surface.

What we would like to see

Easier maintainability.

What surprises us

Lenovo used speakers belonging to the better notebook speakers in the IdeaPad Z510 which are rarely found in computers for this price range.

The competition

Asus N56VB-S4050HAcer Aspire E1-572G, HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15-b004sg, HP Pavilion 15-e052sg, Toshiba Satellite C55-A-1D5, Lenovo G505s-20255, Toshiba Satellite P50-A-11L, Asus F550DP-XX022H, Toshiba Satellite C855-2J4, Acer Aspire E1-571G, Lenovo IdeaPad S500 Touch, Toshiba Satellite L50-A-10Q, Acer Aspire V5-573G.

Rating

Lenovo IdeaPad Z510
04/15/2014 v4
Sascha Mölck

Chassis
72 / 98 → 73%
Keyboard
56%
Pointing Device
58%
Connectivity
64 / 95 → 67%
Weight
62 / 67 → 89%
Battery
79%
Display
73%
Games Performance
78 / 93 → 84%
Application Performance
83%
Temperature
82%
Noise
88 / 95 → 93%
Audio
60%
Camera
38 / 85 → 45%
Average
69%
75%
Multimedia *
Weighted Average
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Lenovo IdeaPad Z510 Notebook
Author: Sascha Mölck, 2013-11-17 (Update: 2013-11-17)