The story of Lenovo is an inspiring one indeed, with the brand going from a relative unknown with a presence only in China to a global force to be reckoned with in the smartphone, computing and IT industries. The company rose to prominence after its 2005 acquisition of IBM’s personal computer business, and has since grown exponentially. Its smartphone business got a huge boost in 2014, when Lenovo acquired Motorola Mobility from Google. Today, it’s the world’s second largest vendor of PCs, narrowly behind market leader HP.
Seeing India as a key market, Lenovo has adopted an aggressive approach. The company unveiled its latest line-up of devices in July, with the Yoga 720 leading the pack. Also launched in July were the Mix and Ideapad ranges. The latter is the company’s premier productivity range, with no-nonsense, run-of-the-mill laptops that are powerful and efficient, while maintaining a convenient form factor. One of the more important devices in the new Ideapad range is the Lenovo Ideapad 520S. Priced from Rs 57,114, the Ideapad 520 sits in the mid-range, with a promise of reliable performance. We review the Lenovo Ideapad 520S.
Lenovo Ideapad 520S Design and Display
As is the case with the Lenovo Ideapad range and just as it was with the Lenovo Ideapad 710S that we reviewed a while ago, the Lenovo Ideapad 520S is as simple and straightforward as it gets when it comes to design. While it isn’t incredibly slim and light, it isn’t too heavy and bulky either. What you get with the Ideapad 520S is comfortable dimensions that make the laptop portable enough to carry around in your backpack without tiring you too much. Weighing about 1.7kg, the laptop comes with an elegant finish and shape that fits in suitably with the pricing and positioning of the laptop.
The Ideapad 520S comes with an excellent keyboard, with keys that feature good travel and are comfortably laid out. It’s also backlit, which helps with working in low-light conditions. Perhaps the only real complaint that I have with the keyboard is the proximity of the power and delete keys, which often led to me accidentally putting the laptop on standby while typing. The laptop comes with a decent set of ports and inputs, including two USB ports, one USB Type-C port, one Thunderbolt port, an SD card reader, HDMI and 3.5mm for audio. You get a proprietary charger, which fortunately comes without the power brick, needing only a large adapter to quickly charge up the laptop.
The screen resolution of the Lenovo Ideapad 520S depends on the variant you buy; both variants have 14-inch screens, but the more affordable Rs 57,114 variant (which we’ve reviewed) comes with an HD screen, while the Rs 70,153 option comes with a full-HD LED screen. It’s fairly average for a laptop screen, with notable flaws being the low peak brightness and slight inaccuracy in the colors when it comes to dark shades. The screen-lid of the laptop tilts back almost 180-degrees, but this won’t really help you if you want the tablet-like form factor that the Yoga series offers.
Lenovo Ideapad 520S Specifications and Performance
Key advantages of the tradition laptop form factor come in the form of suitable connectivity.The Lenovo Ideapad 520S comes with two USB ports, one USB Type-C port, one Thunderbolt port, an SD card reader, an HDMI port, a 3.5mm socket for audio and microphone connectivity, and Lenovo’s standard round-pin socket for charging. Interestingly, you also get an external DVD writer drive with the package, giving you out-of-the-box ability to run optical discs. While a Blu-Ray drive would have been a good touch, it’s impressive that Lenovo gives buyers the capability to use optical discs, despite the fact that the format is slowly losing significance.
Powering both variants of the laptop that are available in India is the Intel Core i5-7200U processor, which is a decent mid-range option with enough power for efficient and reliable productivity. It doesn’t quite offer as much power as even some of the higher variants in the 7th generation i5 range and certainly not as much as an i7 processor, but it’s certainly enough for basic internet and productivity usage, along with entry-level gaming and elementary video and photo editing.
I used it as my primary machine for a couple of weeks, and didn’t face any trouble with it. I was able to run multiple tabs and videos on the browser, carry out photo editing, have multiple apps open at the same time and more, all without any slowdowns or significant heat or noise. This is of course helped along by 8GB of DDR4 RAM, Intel HD 620 graphics on board and Windows 10 Home. You get a 1TB hard disk drive in the more affordable variant, while the higher variant comes with a 256GB solid state drive. It might be worth spending the additional amount only to get the better SSD storage option, but if space is what you need then you’ll prefer the 1TB variant.
The Lenovo Ideapad 520S, thanks to its relatively low clock speed on the processor and low-resolution screen, comes with a claimed battery life of 12 hours. In reality, you’ll get about eight hours of usage on a single charge, which won’t be enough to get you through a typical work day, but with a single top-up you should manage comfortably.
The Lenovo Ideapad 520S may not be the most exciting and interesting laptop you can buy, but that’s alright. While you’re sure to find more excitement from a Yoga laptop or any decent gaming machine, you might even find the Lenovo Ideapad 520S a bit boring. But not everyone is looking for a laptop with a screen that flips over, and certainly not everyone can afford a full-fledged performance laptop.
For those buyers, specifically the ones looking for a laptop at under Rs 60,000, the Lenovo Ideapad 520S is the ideal purchase, thanks to a good form factor, reliable performance and enough RAM under the hood. While the screen may not be ideal and the sheer improvement in write speeds and boot times on an SSD may well be worth letting go of 1TB of storage, the sheer value of the Rs 57,114 variant makes this a tempting proposition.