Notebookcheck

Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75 Notebook (A10-7300) Review Update

Till Schönborn, Stefanie Voigt (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 12/19/2014

Two are better than one. Lenovo only demands 550 Euros (~$669) for its extensively configured IdeaPad Z50-75, which not only features AMD's latest quad-core APU, but also plenty of storage and a total of two graphics chips. Just how well does the dual-graphics technology fare in real-world use?

For the original German review, see here.

The final verdict about Lenovo's IdeaPad Z50-75 was rather restrained in our first review. Although we confirmed the affordable multimedia laptop's good all-round qualities, the configuration did not really provide a decent price-performance ratio at the time.

That was not least due to the installed dual-graphics solution called Radeon R6 M255DX, which could not really completely use its performance potential. Scaling problems and annoying micro-stutters are now finally to be things of the past with AMD's new Catalyst Omega driver - reason enough for us to give the Z50-75 a second chance.

The differences to our first review sample are limited to a marginally faster Kaveri APU - the A10-7300 instead of the A8-7100 - and twice the memory capacity of 8 GB RAM rather than 4. The 15.6-inch WXGA screen and the 1 TB hard drive have not been changed, just like the purchase price of approximately 550 Euros (~$669). Can this laptop now better withstand rivals like Acer's Aspire E1-572G or Asus' X555LN?

We will not examine casing, input devices or interfaces in the following report since we described these points in-depth in the review of the IdeaPad Z50-70.

Display

Unlike our previous review sample, the 15.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1366x768 pixels (100 dpi) does not come from LG, but from its Taiwanese competitor Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO). The quality of both products is identical. LG's product has a slight lead in brightness with 224 vs. 211 cd/m², although both screens are sooner below average. The CMO screen, however, provides a higher contrast of 674:1 rather than 536:1 (LG).

211
cd/m²
206
cd/m²
208
cd/m²
213
cd/m²
229
cd/m²
209
cd/m²
208
cd/m²
207
cd/m²
207
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 229 cd/m² Average: 210.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 90 %
Center on Battery: 229 cd/m²
Contrast: 674:1 (Black: 0.34 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 8.27 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6.1
ΔE Greyscale 9.01 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
41.4% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.28
AdobeRGB
AdobeRGB
sRGB
sRGB

No matter which screen the buyer gets, it is always a simple TN screen, and not a higher-quality, more expensive IPS model. A clear bluish cast is visible in state of delivery, but it can be corrected via an adapted color profile. Generally, the color reproduction (DeltaE 8.3) and grayscale (DeltaE 9.0) have room for improvement. However, the buyer has to accept such restrictions in this price range even in the competition.


ColorChecker (non-calibrated)
ColorChecker (non-calibrated)
Saturation Sweeps (non-calibrated)
Saturation Sweeps (non-calibrated)
Grayscale (non-calibrated)
Grayscale (non-calibrated)

The Z50-75 suffers extremely under the combination of glare-type screen and low brightness outdoors. The content is only well-legible in the shade. However, the laptop turns into an unhandy mirror in direct sunlight. To be fair we have to emphasize that the IdeaPad has not primarily been made as a portable device but is more thought for the desk at home where larger problems will rarely evolve.


Outdoors (overcast skies)
Viewing angles: Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75 Notebook
Viewing angles: Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75 Notebook

Like with every TN screen, the user will have to sit as centered as possible in front of the screen for the ideal image quality. The slightest vertical shift leads to a loss in the contrast ratio and drastic color deviations. The elbowroom is a bit more generous to the sides, but viewing angles of over approximately 40 degrees should also be avoided here when possible.

Performance

Maximum Turbo clock rate: 3.2 GHz
Maximum Turbo clock rate: 3.2 GHz

The A10-7300 is the currently second-fastest low-voltage APU for consumer laptops following the FX-7500. Despite its four CPU cores with a clock rate of 1.9 to 3.2 GHz, the Kaveri chip built in the 28-nanometer technology has a maximum power dissipation of 19 watts (TDP). Thus, the processor is slightly above contending Intel models, such as the Core i3-4010U (TDP: 15 watts) nominally, but at the same time it also incorporates a somewhat stronger integrated graphics unit.

The one here is simply called Radeon R6 and features 384 Shader units that clock with up to 533 MHz. In the case of Lenovo's Z50-75, a dedicated Radeon R5 M230 has been installed additionally, which adds another 320 Shaders with a frequency of 855 MHz. Both graphics cards calculate one image alternately in the AFR process to achieve a higher 3D performance. The manufacturer dubs the entire Crossfire array Radeon R6 M255DX.

Unfortunately, the narrow, single-channel bus of the memory slows down the (graphics) performance of many laptops - a nuisance that AMD wants to counter with stricter specifications for the manufacturers in future. Our review sample sets an example and uses both memory channels with 2 x 4 GB DDR3 1600. Nonvolatile data is stored on a hybrid hard drive with a generous capacity of 1000 GB.

System information: Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75

Processor

Dwindling CPU Turbo...
Dwindling CPU Turbo...
...during longer load.
...during longer load.

The large Turbo headroom often makes it difficult to forecast the exact performance of current CPUs. Is the maximum clock really achieved? If so, in which applications and for how long?

First we can ascertain that this review sample reaches the full 3.2 GHz in practice. However, this is limited to very short load peaks and simple single-thread benchmarks like SuperPi. In return, the A10-7300 starts the single-core test of Cinebench R11.5 with 2.9 GHz just to settle to 2.4 GHz after a few seconds. We have observed a similar behavior in other Kaveri laptops; the score of 0.68 points also matches previously ascertained values.

The clock rate drops even further in multi-threading. The initial 2.1 GHz gradually drops to 1.8 GHz, which is just below the base rate. Consequently, the A10-7300's score of 1.98 to 1.81 points is even lower than that of the nominally weaker A6-6310 Beema chip that, however, noticeably lags behind in the single-thread test. The bottom line: The A10 APU can marginally defeat a Core i3-4010U in a comparable price range. We did not ascertain differences between AC and battery modes.

Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
0.68 Points ∼28%
Acer Aspire E5-551-T8X3
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10-7300, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
0.67 Points ∼27% -1%
Acer Aspire E5-551G-F1EW
Radeon R7 M265, FX-7500, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
0.68 Points ∼28% 0%
Asus F555LD-XX243H
GeForce 820M, 4010U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
0.76 Points ∼31% +12%
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
0.56 Points ∼23% -18%
Asus X555LN-XO112H
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
1.13 Points ∼46% +66%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1.81 Points ∼7%
Acer Aspire E5-551-T8X3
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10-7300, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
1.8 Points ∼7% -1%
Acer Aspire E5-551G-F1EW
Radeon R7 M265, FX-7500, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1.89 Points ∼7% +4%
Asus F555LD-XX243H
GeForce 820M, 4010U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
1.81 Points ∼7% 0%
Lenovo IdeaPad G50-45
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1.98 Points ∼7% +9%
Asus X555LN-XO112H
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
2.54 Points ∼9% +40%
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
1992
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
4391
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
5276
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
4596 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
7400 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
2662 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
0.68 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
21.05 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
1.81 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
23.91 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
159 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
58 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Help

Storage Devices

HD Tune benchmark
HD Tune benchmark

Lenovo has not opted for just any 1 TB hard drive but for a so-called SSHD. These drives combine the high capacity of an HDD with the responsiveness of an SSD by integrating an additional flash storage cache. Seagate's laptop SSHD (ST1000LM014) installed here has a capacity of 8 GB, which is enough to significantly speed up booting Windows and important programs. All this happens fully automatically in the background; the user does not see the swift cache.

Classic tools like HD Tune only illustrate the advantages of the SSHD technology poorly. The average transfer rate of 87 MB/s is on par with "conventional" hard drives. That is equally true for the access time of 19.8 milliseconds.

Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
Transfer Rate Minimum: 32.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 112.5 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 87.2 MB/s
Access Time: 19.8 ms
Burst Rate: 112.4 MB/s
CPU Usage: 4.1 %

System Performance

Just looking at the subjective routine performance shows that the Z50-75 can stand up to Intel-based rivals. The swift-responding SSHD offers a higher added value than a faster processor in many situations. The operating system can be used right after booting without delays, unlike with hard drives lacking an SSD cache where a certain waiting time has to be figured in. We would also like to praise the 8 GB working memory that proves extremely useful particularly in multitasking involving complex software.

Owing to the SSHD and good OpenCL performance, our review sample easily outperforms Asus' F555LD with a Core i3 processor and even comes dangerously close to the pricier X555LN. Interesting: Like in the CPU benchmarks above, the FX-7500 cannot set itself off against the nominally weaker A10-7300 - consequently, the buyer should save the extra charge for the FX model.

PCMark 8 - Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2742 Points ∼45%
Acer Aspire E5-551-T8X3
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10-7300, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
2574 Points ∼42% -6%
Acer Aspire E5-551G-F1EW
Radeon R7 M265, FX-7500, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2685 Points ∼44% -2%
Asus F555LD-XX243H
GeForce 820M, 4010U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
2335 Points ∼38% -15%
Asus X555LN-XO112H
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
2945 Points ∼48% +7%
PCMark 7 Score
2875 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2742 points
Help

Graphics Card

No smooth 4K rendering in Windows Media Player
No smooth 4K rendering in Windows Media Player

Taken alone, both the integrated Radeon R6 and the dedicated Radeon R5 M230 are only positioned in the low-end sector. First the Crossfire array opens the way for an impressive overall performance. That at least functions exemplarily with AMD's new Catalyst Omega 14.12 in the popular 3DMark series. The gains when dual-graphics is enabled are approximately 70 to 80%, which boosts the Radeon R6 M255DX to the level of a GeForce 840M from Nvidia. This mid-range model is found in many identically priced laptops of other manufacturers.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2316 Points ∼5%
Acer Aspire E5-551-T8X3
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10-7300, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
1290 Points ∼3% -44%
Acer Aspire E5-551G-F1EW
Radeon R7 M265, FX-7500, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1914 Points ∼4% -17%
Asus F555LD-XX243H
GeForce 820M, 4010U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
1280 Points ∼3% -45%
Asus X555LN-XO112H
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
2341 Points ∼5% +1%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G75Mnkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4200U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
1749 Points ∼3% -24%
3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1559 Points ∼4%
Acer Aspire E5-551-T8X3
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10-7300, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
940 Points ∼2% -40%
Acer Aspire E5-551G-F1EW
Radeon R7 M265, FX-7500, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1342 Points ∼3% -14%
Asus F555LD-XX243H
GeForce 820M, 4010U, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
902 Points ∼2% -42%
Asus X555LN-XO112H
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
1567 Points ∼4% +1%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G75Mnkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4200U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
1306 Points ∼3% -16%
3DMark 11 Performance
2101 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
37550 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
4368 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
1252 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
626 points
Help

Gaming Performance

In the past, unfortunately, we had to discover that though dual-graphics scaled perfectly especially in synthetic tests, games rarely benefited from it. But what is the situation like now? 

Again, the Catalyst Omega 14.12 presents a certain improvement compared with former driver versions. The paragon for ideal dual-graphics utilization is doubtlessly Tomb Raider with a performance gain of over 80%. However, the frame rates in BioShock (+44%) or Total War (+ 35%) are also absolutely impressive. The latter displays noticeable micro-stutters so that the real added value is rather moderate. A few other titles barely, if at all, benefit at least in playable settings, which is also likely due to the occasional CPU limitation. Ultimately, the GPU array places itself above Intel's HD Graphics 4400 but under a dedicated GeForce 820M

Diablo III - 1366x768 High AA:on (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
31.9 fps ∼11%
HP EliteBook 755 G2
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10 Pro-7350B, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
31.4 fps ∼11% -2%
Tomb Raider - 1366x768 High Preset AA:FX AF:8x (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
33.6 fps ∼7%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
33.6 fps ∼7% 0%
Acer Travelmate P276-MG-56FU
GeForce 840M, 4210U, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
33.5 fps ∼7% 0%
HP EliteBook 755 G2
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10 Pro-7350B, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
18.3 fps ∼4% -46%
Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293
GeForce 820M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
24.6 fps ∼5% -27%
Acer Aspire E17 E5-721-69FX
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
12.5 fps ∼2% -63%
Acer Aspire E5-551-T8X3
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10-7300, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
19 fps ∼4% -43%
BioShock Infinite - 1366x768 High Preset (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
33.3 fps ∼10%
Acer Travelmate P276-MG-56FU
GeForce 840M, 4210U, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
40.1 fps ∼12% +20%
HP EliteBook 755 G2
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10 Pro-7350B, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
23.2 fps ∼7% -30%
Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293
GeForce 820M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
27 fps ∼8% -19%
Acer Aspire E5-551-T8X3
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10-7300, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
22.36 fps ∼6% -33%
Metro: Last Light - 1024x768 Low (DX10) AF:4x (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
20.7 fps ∼11%
HP EliteBook 755 G2
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10 Pro-7350B, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
20.5 fps ∼10% -1%
Company of Heroes 2 - 1024x768 Minimum / Low / Off AA:Off (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
14.5 fps ∼18%
Asus Zenbook UX302LA-C4003H
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680 + 24 GB SanDisk SSD U100 Cache
14 fps ∼18% -3%
Dota 2 - 1366x768 Medium / On, Render Quality: 70 % (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
32.8 fps ∼27%
HP EliteBook 755 G2
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10 Pro-7350B, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
27.6 fps ∼23% -16%
Acer Aspire E5-551-T8X3
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10-7300, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
24.5 fps ∼20% -25%
Total War: Rome II - 1366x768 High Preset (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
30.6 fps ∼12%
HP EliteBook 755 G2
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10 Pro-7350B, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
22.7 fps ∼9% -26%
Asus Zenbook UX302LA-C4003H
HD Graphics 4400, 4200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680 + 24 GB SanDisk SSD U100 Cache
24 fps ∼9% -22%
Thief - 1024x768 Very Low Preset (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
15.8 fps ∼11%
Acer Travelmate P276-MG-56FU
GeForce 840M, 4210U, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
32.4 fps ∼22% +105%
HP EliteBook 755 G2
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10 Pro-7350B, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
12.5 fps ∼8% -21%
Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293
GeForce 820M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
20.8 fps ∼14% +32%
Dell Latitude E5550
HD Graphics 4400, 4310U, Lite-On LCS-128L9S
13 fps ∼9% -18%
Acer Aspire E5-551-T8X3
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10-7300, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
18.8 fps ∼13% +19%
Acer Aspire E5-551-T8X3
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10-7300, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
11.8 fps ∼8% -25%
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor - 1280x720 Lowest Preset (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
32.5 fps ∼12%
Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293
GeForce 820M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
26.3 fps ∼10% -19%
Dell Latitude E5550
HD Graphics 4400, 4310U, Lite-On LCS-128L9S
16.5 fps ∼6% -49%
Acer Aspire E17 E5-721-69FX
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
14.2 fps ∼5% -56%
Alien: Isolation - 1024x768 (Very) Low, Off, Shadow Map 512 AF:1x (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
30.7 fps ∼9%
Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293
GeForce 820M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
42.3 fps ∼13% +38%
Acer Aspire E17 E5-721-69FX
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
21.9 fps ∼7% -29%
Ryse: Son of Rome - 1024x768 Low Texture Res. + Low Graphics Quality (Rest Off/Disabled) AF:2x (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
14.1 fps ∼10%
Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293
GeForce 820M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
18.3 fps ∼13% +30%
Acer Aspire E17 E5-721-69FX
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
13.4 fps ∼10% -5%
F1 2014 - 1024x768 Ultra Low Preset (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
37 fps ∼27%
Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293
GeForce 820M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
90 fps ∼67% +143%
Acer Aspire E17 E5-721-69FX
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
38 fps ∼28% +3%
Civilization: Beyond Earth - 1024x768 Minimum Preset (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
34.4 fps ∼17%
Acer Travelmate P276-MG-56FU
HD Graphics 4400, 4210U, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
23.5 fps ∼12% -32%
Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293
GeForce 820M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
36.3 fps ∼18% +6%
Acer Aspire E17 E5-721-69FX
Radeon R4 (Beema), A6-6310, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
33.2 fps ∼17% -3%
Dragon Age: Inquisition - 1024x768 Low Graphics Quality (sort by value)
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A10-7300, Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive
20 fps ∼7%
Dell Latitude E5550
HD Graphics 4400, 4310U, Lite-On LCS-128L9S
19.7 fps ∼7% -1%
low med. high ultra
Diablo III (2012) 63.540.631.920.6fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 61.347.133.617.5fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 51.63833.313.1fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 20.717.913.67.8fps
Company of Heroes 2 (2013) 14.5149.33.8fps
Dota 2 (2013) 40.732.822.2fps
Total War: Rome II (2013) 50.339.530.66.4fps
Thief (2014) 15.813.110.65.1fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014) 32.522.213.912fps
Alien: Isolation (2014) 30.720.311.68.9fps
Ryse: Son of Rome (2014) 14.18.34.2fps
The Evil Within (2014) 19.313.7fps
F1 2014 (2014) 37292215fps
Civilization: Beyond Earth (2014) 34.412.37.46.5fps
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (2014) 20.717.99.8fps
Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014) 2013.95.53.7fps
The Crew (2014) 219.3fps

Emissions

System Noise

Although the integrated fan is always active even when idling, its low speed level is only noticed in very quiet surroundings. That, alongside the hard drive's restrained hum, results in a noise level of just above 32 dB(A). Alternatives like Asus' X555LN or Acer's Aspire E1-572G are within a similar range here.

The Z50-75 is noticed considerably more during load with approximately 37 to 38 dB(A). However, we would not yet call that a really distracting operating noise. The fan's low-pitched and stable noise characteristic particularly contributes to this positive impression.

Noise Level

Idle
32.1 / 32.4 / 32.4 dB(A)
HDD
32.4 dB(A)
DVD
36.8 / dB(A)
Load
36.9 / 38.4 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-451 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

The laptop only heats up marginally even in the vent's area when the Windows desktop is idle. Light load, such as browsing, does not increase the temperatures much so that it is quite possible to use the device on the lap without restrictions. Two spots first surpass 40 °C during full load. The wrist rest and many other surfaces remain relatively cool.

The Z50 slightly throttled both the CPU (1.5 GHz; 72 °C) and graphics card (785 MHz; 72 °C) in our stress test via Prime95 and FurMark. That is, however, not an unusual behavior for modern ULV hardware. For the sake of completeness, we have to note that FurMark could only test the dedicated Radeon R5, and thus an even higher load would be conceivable. Nevertheless, our stress test represents an even higher practical load than any real-world application, including games.

 28.4 °C
83 F
27.3 °C
81 F
23 °C
73 F
 
 30.5 °C
87 F
30 °C
86 F
23.2 °C
74 F
 
 27.6 °C
82 F
30.4 °C
87 F
25 °C
77 F
 
Maximum: 30.5 °C = 87 F
Average: 27.3 °C = 81 F
22.1 °C
72 F
25 °C
77 F
24.2 °C
76 F
22.2 °C
72 F
28 °C
82 F
26.6 °C
80 F
22.3 °C
72 F
26.1 °C
79 F
24.8 °C
77 F
Maximum: 28 °C = 82 F
Average: 24.6 °C = 76 F
Power Supply (max.)  33.1 °C = 92 F | Room Temperature 20.7 °C = 69 F | Fluke 62 Max
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 33.2 °C / 92 F, compared to the average of 30.9 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Multimedia.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 42.1 °C / 108 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F, ranging from 21.1 to 71 °C for the class Multimedia.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 36.2 °C / 97 F, compared to the average of 38.8 °C / 102 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 27.3 °C / 81 F, compared to the device average of 30.9 °C / 88 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (34.7 °C / 94.5 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 29.1 °C / 84.4 F (-5.6 °C / -10.1 F).

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The Z50-75's idle consumption of 7.1 to 12.9 watts is consistently approximately 3 watts higher than the Intel-based Z50-70 sister model. This will, of course, hardly be noticed on the electricity bill, but it will affect the battery life as we will see in the next section.

Our review sample treated itself to a high 46.3 to 53.7 watts when the hardware was put under full load. That is also a bit more than comparably fast contenders, but the included 65-watt power supply copes with that easily.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.2 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 7.1 / 10.1 / 12.9 Watt
Load midlight 46.3 / 53.7 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Extech Power Analyzer 380803

Battery Runtime

Despite the relatively high energy requirement, Lenovo installs a weak 32 Wh battery that only provides correspondingly moderate runtimes. Our idle scenario was stopped after only 4 hours and 26 minutes, which we simulated using the Battery Eater Reader's test (minimum brightness, Wi-Fi off, energy-saving mode) as usual.

The user will only be able to browse on the Internet or play videos for just over 2 hours in everyday use when the screen's brightness is set to 150 cd/m². It is also possible to drain the battery in roughly 60 minutes when the hardware is loaded with a 3D application.

We can give a small consolation point for the rather short charging time. Overall, the Z50-75 remains to primarily be a laptop for stationary use.

Reader's test
Reader's test
Wi-Fi test
Wi-Fi test
H.264 test
H.264 test
Classic test
Classic test
Charging
Charging
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
4h 26min
WiFi Surfing
2h 16min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
2h 08min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 03min

Verdict

Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75

Our second test of Lenovo's Z50-75 results in an overall mixed verdict once more, which we will now analyze in summary.

We will start with the pro sides: Above all, the voluminous storage configuration stands out in view of the low price. The modern hybrid hard drive proves to be a sensible compromise between capacity and speed and ensures a very responsive overall system subjectively. The laptop also copes with multitasking and more demanding software owing to the quad-core APU and even is almost a match for the Core i3 competition.

Users who limit themselves to low graphics settings can enjoy the smooth rendering of many up-to-date games. AMD's dual-graphics technology proves to be better developed than in previous tests, though it does not yet always present a noticeable performance gain in every case. This could be due to the CPU limitation and the narrow 64-bit interface of the Radeon R5 M230 installed here. We will soon provide more exact analyses in a special article about this topic.

Again, the screen disappointed us with its outdated WXGA resolution and weak viewing angles. While this is also true for many rivals, our second major point of criticism - the short battery life - cannot be put aside as easily. The Z50-75 finds itself at the very far end of our rankings with less than 2.5 hours of Wi-Fi browsing. Though this might be acceptable for a stationary multimedia laptop, whether the IdeaPad will ultimately survive among the countless alternatives in the market is yet to be seen.

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Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75. Test model courtesy of AMD Germany.
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75. Test model courtesy of AMD Germany.

Specifications

Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75 (IdeaPad Z50 Series)
Processor
Graphics adapter
AMD Radeon R6 M255DX - 2048 MB, Core: Radeon R5 M230: 855 MHz, Radeon R6: 533 MHz, Memory: Radeon R5 M230: 900 MHz, Radeon R6: 800 MHz, Catalyst Omega 14.12, Dual Graphics
Memory
8192 MB 
, 2x 4 GB DDR3-1600, 2 of 2 slots filled
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1366 x 768 pixel, Chi Mei N156BGE-EB1, TN screen, LED backlight, glossy: yes
Mainboard
AMD A76M
Storage
Seagate ST1000LM014 Solid State Hybrid Drive, 1000 GB 
, 5400 rpm
Soundcard
AMD Kaveri - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: headset jack (3.5 millimeter), Card Reader: SD
Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000MBit), Atheros Communications AR9565 Wireless Network Adapter (b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0
Optical drive
HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GUA0N
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 25 x 384 x 265 ( = 0.98 x 15.12 x 10.43 in)
Battery
32 Wh Lithium-Ion, 4 cells
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 1.0 megapixels
Additional features
Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, 65 watt power supply, Cyberlink PhotoDirector 3, Cyberlink PowerDirector 10, Cyberlink PowerDVD 10, Cyberlink Power2Go, McAfee LiveSafe-Internet Security (trial), MS Office 365 (trial), 24 Months Warranty
Weight
2.5 kg ( = 88.19 oz / 5.51 pounds), Power Supply: 349 g ( = 12.31 oz / 0.77 pounds)
Price
550 Euro

 

The lid's back is made of matte, shiny plastic,...
The lid's back is made of matte, shiny plastic,...
...while the base's upper side looks like brushed aluminum. (Pictures of the Z50-70.)
...while the base's upper side looks like brushed aluminum. (Pictures of the Z50-70.)
This casing is also used for...
This casing is also used for...
...other models of the Z50 line.
...other models of the Z50 line.
Rectangular-futuristic might be...
Rectangular-futuristic might be...
...an apt description for the design.
...an apt description for the design.
The keyboard's good layout...
The keyboard's good layout...
...largely corresponds to the standard.
...largely corresponds to the standard.
The orange-colored, much too small lettering of the FN keys is difficult to see.
The orange-colored, much too small lettering of the FN keys is difficult to see.
The touchpad with a silver bezel...
The touchpad with a silver bezel...
...and faulty buttons.
...and faulty buttons.
On/off.
On/off.
The hinges...
The hinges...
...made a solid impression.
...made a solid impression.
The maximum opening angle is approximately 130 degrees.
The maximum opening angle is approximately 130 degrees.
DVD burner.
DVD burner.
Great: the maintenance cover enables accessing...
Great: the maintenance cover enables accessing...
...various hardware components...
...various hardware components...
...and makes it easy to clean the fan.
...and makes it easy to clean the fan.

Similar Laptops

Devices from a different Manufacturer and/or with a different CPU

Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75 Notebook Review Update
Radeon R6 M255DX, Kaveri A8-7100

Devices with Same Screen Size and/or Weight

Lenovo IdeaPad S340 (i7-8550U, MX230) Laptop Review
GeForce MX230, Core i7 8565U, 14", 1.6 kg
Lenovo IdeaPad 330-17IKB (i7-8550U, GeForce MX150) Laptop Review
GeForce MX150, Core i7 8550U, 17.3", 2.8 kg
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (i5, FHD, GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q) Laptop Review
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, Core i5 8300H, 15.6", 1.703 kg
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (i7, 4K-HDR, GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q) Laptop Review
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, Core i7 8750H, 15.6", 1.842 kg
Lenovo Flex 5 15 (i7-8550U, GeForce MX130) Convertible Review
GeForce MX130, Core i7 8550U, 15.6", 2 kg

Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Pros

+Low operating noise
+Good configuration for a reasonable price
+Easy maintenance
+Acceptable quality level
 

Cons

-Weak battery life
-Dark and viewing angle dependent TN screen
-Dual graphics scaling worthy of improvement

Shortcut

What we like

Considering the purchase price, the Z50-75 stands out with an above-average configuration: Only a few models offer 8 GB of RAM and a hybrid hard drive in this price range.

What we'd like to see

Our greatest wishes for a potential successor include a larger battery and better screen.

What surprises us

Dual-graphics takes a clear step forward with the Catalyst Omega 14.12, but the Crossfire solution is not yet an equal for a strong single GPU. We hope that AMD pushes on with the development here.

The competition

Acer Aspire E1-572G

Asus X555LN

HP 350 G1

Dell Inspiron 15 3542

Lenovo B50-70

Rating

Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75 - 12/11/2014 v4(old)
Till Schönborn

Chassis
71 / 98 → 72%
Keyboard
67%
Pointing Device
70%
Connectivity
65 / 81 → 80%
Weight
60 / 20-67 → 85%
Battery
71%
Display
73%
Games Performance
68 / 85 → 80%
Application Performance
62 / 92 → 67%
Temperature
91%
Noise
88 / 95 → 93%
Audio
50%
Camera
50 / 85 → 59%
Average
68%
73%
Multimedia - Weighted Average
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75 Notebook (A10-7300) Review Update
Till Schönborn, 2014-12-19 (Update: 2018-05-15)