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Lenovo E50-80 Notebook Review

Manuel Christa, Stefanie Voigt (translated by Bernie Pechlaner), 09/03/2015

Business made affordable. Among professional users, Lenovo have built up a good reputation with their solid ThinkPad-line. The E-series consists of affordable business notebooks, but lacks the premium name. Is the series truly an affordable alternative?

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For the original German review, see here.

Among business users, Lenovo have made a good name for themselves with their ThinkPad-line. A high-quality notebook equipped with security features in that line costs at least a grand, though. To attract customers looking for a more affordable alternative, Lenovo released the B-series, which we took a look at last year when we evaluated the Lenovo B50-30. Last spring we also reviewed the lower-priced business notebook ThinkPad Edge E550. The E-series now supersedes the B-series and the ThinkPad-name disappears from the line, leaving us - in this case - simply with the Lenovo E50-80.

Just like the previously mentioned notebooks, the E50-80 comes equipped with the ULV processor Intel Core i5-5200U and features a 15.6-inch display with a resolution of only 1366 x 768 pixels. Seems that for 650 Euro (~$735) you can't expect much more than a basic business notebook. At least the E50-80 comes with a fingerprint sensor.

Lenovo E50-80 (E50 Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
4096 MB 
, DDR3 PC3-12800
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1366 x 768 pixel, N156BGE-EB1, TN LED, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Broadwell-U PCH-LP (Baseline)
Storage
Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142, 500 GB 
, 5400 rpm, 412 GB free
Soundcard
Realtek ALC233 @ Intel Broadwell PCH-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Audio combo-jack, Card Reader: SD card reader, 1 Fingerprint Reader
Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Wireless-AC 3160 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Optical drive
HL-DT-ST DVDRAM
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 24.7 x 380 x 262 ( = 0.97 x 14.96 x 10.31 in)
Battery
31 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p HD
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Win8.1 CD, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
2.3 kg ( = 81.13 oz / 5.07 pounds), Power Supply: 245 g ( = 8.64 oz / 0.54 pounds)
Price
649 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case & Connectivity

Lenovo E50-80
Lenovo E50-80

Lenovo uses matte, black plastic for the construction and the case does looks similar to the B-series (see the B50-30). Noticeably different are the display hinges, which, according to Lenovo, are particularly strong. The claim isn't unfounded: the lid doesn't bounce when it's opened nor when the laptop is jostled around. One-handed opening is not possible, however. Another difference is the thickness: the B50-30 measured 28 mm, the E50-80 is slightly slimmer at 25 mm.

The back of the display lid feels different than the rest of the notebook, as Lenovo uses a soft-touch finish here, which makes the E50-80 look more upscale. There aren't really any issues with the fit and finish, although the chassis of the review notebook isn't quite a sturdy and resilient as a ThinkPad would be.

The notebook has the bare minimum of physical ports. The left side houses the power jack, VGA, LAN, HDMI and 2x USB 3.0, while the right side features the audio combo-jack, USB 2.0, and a Kensington lock slot. The Onelink docking-port, which can also supply power to the notebook as well, allows the user to connect an external docking station. The Lenovo Onelink Pro Dock, for example, costs about 150 Euro (~$170). The ports are distributed evenly and the USB ports are far enough apart so they both can be used simultaneously. Unfortunately, most physical ports are located on the sides towards the front of the notebook, which can cause issues for a lefthander who needs to plug in several cables (LAN, HDMI, etc.) at the same time.

Input Devices

Touchpad
Touchpad
Keyboard
Keyboard

Lenovo makes use of the same AccuType keyboard we're already familiar with. On characteristic of this keyboard are the slightly rounded lower edges of the keys. Typing at a good clip is possible and we didn't notice any rattling keys or other issues. The middle of the keyboard does flex somewhat, which takes away from the perceived quality, but that is of no consequence during actual use. 

The touchpad is very precise and reliable and multitouch-gestures execute without any lag. This is important for the traveling professional, since a mouse is frequently either not available or can't be used. The two dedicated mouse buttons are quite stiff, so it is sometimes easier to tap the touchpad surface instead. The (significantly less expensive) predecessor B50-30 had issues with its touchpad; the E50-80 is fortunately not affected by stutters.

Display

The E50-80 comes with a matte 15.6-inch TN panel, which features a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. At this price point, this is about as good as it gets. The English product page does mention an optional Full-HD display, but at the time of writing, this display wasn't available in Germany. Those who need the higher resolution need to pay about 100 - 200 Euro (~$113 - ~$126) and consider a notebook like the ThinkPad Edge E550.

Given the price point, the screen brightness of 236 cd/m² is perfectly adequate and usable. Brighter environments - for example outdoor use - require above 300 cd/m². Values like that are normally only found in more expensive notebooks though. The contrast ratio of 558:1 is pretty solid.

Compared to the predecessor B50-30, which only cost about half as much, both the brightness as well as the contrast of the review notebook are slightly better. Competitors at the same price point don't have better screens and either rank the same, or significantly worse. The Fujitsu Lifebook A555, for example, is way to dark at 174 cd/m².

244
cd/m²
236
cd/m²
238
cd/m²
233
cd/m²
251
cd/m²
226
cd/m²
233
cd/m²
237
cd/m²
225
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 251 cd/m² Average: 235.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 90 %
Center on Battery: 251 cd/m²
Contrast: 558:1 (Black: 0.45 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 8.32 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 9.54 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
Gamma: 2.42
CalMAN - Color Checker
CalMAN - Color Checker
CalMAN - Graylevels
CalMAN - Graylevels
CalMAN - Saturation
CalMAN - Saturation

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The color accuracy is marred by a bluish hue, which is almost always a typical drawback of low-cost TN panels. The DeltaE-deviations are pretty substantial and the color temperature is much too cool at 11000 °K. Although the color cast isn't detrimental for the given usage-scenario, it's still very noticeable to the trained eye.

The viewing angle stability is, again in typical manner for TN displays, very limited. In the horizontal plane, the picture pales and inverts quite quickly; in the vertical plane the picture remains stable even at very shallow angles.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles
Outdoor use
Outdoor use

Performance

A glance at the spec sheet confirms that we need keep our expectations in check as far as the performance is concerned: the Intel Core i5-5200U is a frugal dual-core, middle-class CPU. 4 GB of RAM can be considered the bare minimum to ensure a stutter-free work experience with business applications. The standard hard drive is also not comparable to an SSD or a hybrid drive. Even without running any benchmark tests, it's clear that the hardware will only able to handle simple office and multimedia tasks.

 

Processor

The E50-80 comes with an Intel Core i5-5200U. The frugal dual-core ULV CPU has a base clock speed of 2.2 GHz, although the Turbo can overclock both cores to 2.5 GHz and a single core to 2.7 GHz. Even with the notebook running on battery, the Cinebench scores remain the same, which indicates that the CPU operates at full power at all times.

Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo E50-80
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
1.23 Points ∼50%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E550-20DGS00300
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
0.96 Points ∼39% -22%
Lenovo B50-70 59-407828
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB
1.16 Points ∼48% -6%
HP 15-r220ng
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
1.2 Points ∼49% -2%
Dell Vostro 3558
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
1.27 Points ∼52% +3%
Fujitsu Lifebook A555
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128GCSU
1.23 Points ∼50% 0%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo E50-80
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
2.73 Points ∼10%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E550-20DGS00300
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
2.27 Points ∼8% -17%
Lenovo B50-70 59-407828
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB
2.53 Points ∼9% -7%
HP 15-r220ng
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
2.81 Points ∼10% +3%
Dell Vostro 3558
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
2.81 Points ∼10% +3%
Fujitsu Lifebook A555
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128GCSU
2.82 Points ∼10% +3%
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
1645
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
10442
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
3045
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.23 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.73 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
13.54 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
43 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
246 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
16.72 fps
Help

System Performance

Users who are used to notebooks equipped with SSDs will immediately realize that Lenovo uses a simple platter-based drive for their E50-80. Simple applications like Explorer, browsers, or office-type applications open with a slight delay. Those who are familiar with the performance - or lack thereof - of a standard hard drive won't have much of an issue working with the machine, however. A comparison of the benchmark results show that the Fujitsu Lifebook A555 outperforms the competitors, since it's equipped with an SSD and 8 GB of RAM instead of only 4 GB. 

PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Lenovo E50-80
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
2347 Points ∼27%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E550-20DGS00300
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
2784 Points ∼32% +19%
Dell Vostro 3558
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
2541 Points ∼30% +8%
Fujitsu Lifebook A555
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128GCSU
4147 Points ∼48% +77%
PCMark 7 Score
2347 points
Help

Storage Devices

HDTune
HDTune

The 500 GB hard drive - a Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142 - is 7 mm thin and rotates at only 5400 RPM. Even in this price bracket, faster performance is possible: the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E5500 comes with a 7200 RPM drive. Nonetheless, the performance of the Seagate drive is fair average at 88 MB/s; the Hitachi drive used in the ThinkPad Edge is only about 10 MB/s faster. It's doubtful that the difference would be of much consequence  - although a hybrid drive and especially an SSD would be noticeably faster.

Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
Transfer Rate Minimum: 24.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 116.1 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 87.9 MB/s
Access Time: 18.4 ms
Burst Rate: 187.7 MB/s
CPU Usage: 10.4 %

GPU Performance

The Intel HD Graphics 5500 is integrated into many of the current Broadwell CPUs. The HD Graphics can't compete with a dedicated GPU of course, but that isn't really required since the notebook hasn't been designed for demanding applications. Business users who run office-type applications should be happy with the performance. 

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Lenovo E50-80
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
758 Points ∼2%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E550-20DGS00300
HD Graphics 5500, 5005U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
909 Points ∼3% +20%
Lenovo B50-70 59-407828
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB
948 Points ∼3% +25%
HP 15-r220ng
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
942 Points ∼3% +24%
Dell Vostro 3558
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
913 Points ∼3% +20%
Fujitsu Lifebook A555
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128GCSU
1000 Points ∼3% +32%
3DMark 11 Performance
758 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
32636 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
3351 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
516 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The E50-80 isn't intended for gaming, so we can't expect too much in that regard - especially since there isn't a dedicated GPU. A quick check with the older, but rather 3D-intensive strategy game Total War: Rome II confirms that assumption. Most older games run quite well, even though the graphics have to be set to (very) low details. Some notebooks in this price bracket, like the Acer Aspire E5-473Gcome with a dedicated GPU.

low med. high ultra
Total War: Rome II (2013) 261916fps

Emissions & Energy

System Noise

The ULV processor only has a TDP of 15 watts and doesn't generate a lot of heat. Despite that fact, the fan is always on and audible as well. Even when working on simple tasks like word processing or browsing the Internet, the notebook is never silent. A 15-inch notebook with an ULV processor shouldn't really produce that much noise. Competitors with the same CPU behave much better: the fan systems of the Dell Vostro 15 3558 and the Fujitsu Lifebook A555 don't spin at all when the user is performing normal daily tasks. Even though the E50-80 is a rather inexpensive business notebook, this is a fairly obvious shortcoming. A notebook in this category is, after all, designed for long work days.

Noise Level

Idle
32.3 / 32.3 / 32.3 dB(A)
DVD
36.1 / dB(A)
Load
34.2 / 35.2 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-360 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

The fan might be noisy, but at least it's effective. Under maximum load levels, we measured temperatures of up to 38 degrees C, but that shouldn't really occur during normal use. The palm rest and the keyboard area never gets unbearably warm.  

During the stress test we subject the notebook to full load for at least one hour. The CPU sensors recorded a maximum temperature of about 70 degrees C, which is far from critical. The CPU cores operate at their base frequency for most of the time. 

Max. Load
 38.2 °C
101 F
29 °C
84 F
26.7 °C
80 F
 
 38 °C
100 F
33.7 °C
93 F
27 °C
81 F
 
 35.3 °C
96 F
35.6 °C
96 F
29.3 °C
85 F
 
Maximum: 38.2 °C = 101 F
Average: 32.5 °C = 91 F
39.7 °C
103 F
28.2 °C
83 F
26.8 °C
80 F
40.3 °C
105 F
31 °C
88 F
26.8 °C
80 F
35.2 °C
95 F
32.2 °C
90 F
28 °C
82 F
Maximum: 40.3 °C = 105 F
Average: 32 °C = 90 F
Power Supply (max.)  52.6 °C = 127 F | Room Temperature 24.5 °C = 76 F | Voltcraft IR-360
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 32.5 °C / 91 F, compared to the average of 29.4 °C / 85 F for the devices in the class Office.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 38.2 °C / 101 F, compared to the average of 33.9 °C / 93 F, ranging from 21.2 to 62.5 °C for the class Office.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 40.3 °C / 105 F, compared to the average of 36.4 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 29.6 °C / 85 F, compared to the device average of 29.4 °C / 85 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (35.6 °C / 96.1 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.3 °C / 82.9 F (-7.3 °C / -13.2 F).

Speakers

The two small stereo speakers aren't exactly a standout. Since the E50-80 is a business and not a multimedia notebook, that's perfectly OK. The speakers sound clear and undistorted, which is exactly what we would expect. More demanding users will lament the lack of bass and richness of tone. We recommend looking for a multimedia notebook with integrated subwoofer instead or external active speakers. 

Power Consumption

ULV processors are known for their low power consumption during idle. We measured between 4 - 7 watts, which is in line with the power draw of the competitors with the same CPU. The predecessor Lenovo B50-30 had a much weaker Celeron processor but didn't consume any less power. The notebook requires about 32 watts at maximum load levels. The power adapter can supply up to 45 watts and is thus more than adequate.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.1 / 0.2 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 4 / 6.9 / 6.9 Watt
Load midlight 30.2 / 32.1 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

Battery Life: WLAN test
Battery Life: WLAN test

Lenovo claims a run time of "up to five hours", which of course means anywhere from 0 to 5 hours. When we ran our realistic WLAN test, the E50-80 lasted about four hours before shutting down. With the communication modules disabled and the screen turned down to the lowest brightness settings, five hours should be possible. Lenovo's claims are therefore believable.

The review notebook doesn't fare too well when compared to the competitors. The Dell Vostro 15 3558, for example, lasts about 2.5 hours longer - a plus of about two thirds. The Fujitsu Lifebook A555 ran for 5 hours and 40 minutes during the WLAN test, which is also a much better result. The Thinkpad Edge E550, which only has a Core i3 CPU and costs about 100 Euro (~$113) less, ran for about 5 hours before shutting down.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
4h 03min

Pros

+ solid hinges
+ matte display
+ efficient cooling

Cons

- fan audible most of the time
- average battery life

Verdict

In Review: Lenovo E50-80. Test model courtesy of notebooksbilliger.de
In Review: Lenovo E50-80. Test model courtesy of notebooksbilliger.de

Since the "ThinkPad"-designator has been dropped from the name of the business notebook, we fully expected that Lenovo had to cut some corners - especially in light of the lower price. We were pleasantly surprised by the chassis, which features a high build quality and very solid - almost perfect - display hinges. Of course, the quality of the chassis still falls short of the even higher standard set by the much more expensive ThinkPad line.    

The selection of physical ports is far from generous, but at least the E50-80 offers compatibility with a docking station. The security aspects will be important to professional users, but unfortunately the E50-80 only features a fingerprint sensor. Hardware encryption, for example, isn't offered at this price point and the software only includes a password manager. At 649 Euro (~$735), a Full-HD display is out of the question as well and the notebook has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels just like the competition. The display quality doesn't wow us, exactly - but at least there aren't any obvious flaws like the ones we encountered with the Fujitsu Lifebook A555. Much better displays are usually only found in notebooks costing more than one grand.

The Lenovo E50-80 leaves us with a favorable impression overall, as it offers everything we would expect at this price point. With its performance and feature set, the notebook has no issues handling the typical office-type tasks one might encounter. The E50-80 is therefore an affordable alternative to much higher-priced business notebooks.

Lenovo E50-80 - 08/23/2015 v4(old)
Manuel Christa

Chassis
76 / 98 → 78%
Keyboard
65%
Pointing Device
72%
Connectivity
66 / 80 → 83%
Weight
61 / 20-67 → 87%
Battery
84%
Display
79%
Games Performance
58 / 68 → 85%
Application Performance
60 / 92 → 65%
Temperature
88%
Noise
90%
Audio
40%
Camera
40 / 85 → 47%
Average
68%
75%
Office - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Lenovo E50-80 Notebook Review
Manuel Christa, 2015-09- 3 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Bernhard Pechlaner
Bernhard Pechlaner - Review Editor
Ended up in the IT sector in the 90s more or less accidentally and have remained in the industry (as a sysadmin) ever since. Always been interested in laptops - first purchase was - if memory serves correctly - a Toshiba Satellite T2115CS with DX4-75 processor, 4 MB of RAM and 350 MB hard disk drive (and Windows 3.1). To this day, laptops appeal to me - much to the chagrin of my wife, who doesn’t seem understand why we need 5-10 of them at any given time ;-).