Lenovo G50-45 Review

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Editors' rating:
The Pros

Brightest display; Lightest in class; Relatively fast hard drive; Very affordable

The Cons

Worst-in-class battery life; Unresponsive keyboard; Disposable feel

Verdict

The Lenovo G50-45 is a very affordable notebook with a bright display and lightweight design, but its keyboard and short battery life sour the experience.

Buying a budget laptop usually involves trade-offs, and Lenovo's G50-45 is no exception. You get a relatively bright display and fairly solid quad-core AMD performance for just $299, but the design and keyboard leave something to be desired. The biggest trade-off is the short battery life. The G50-45 is worth considering if you're on a really tight budget, but overall, we'd recommend spending $100 more on something better.

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Design

While the G50-45 is not unappealing or uncomfortable to use, it looks just as inexpensive as its $300 price tag would suggest. Its black plastic case, deck (don't let the machined texture fool you) and glossy bezel look and feel disposable.

On the left edge of the G50-45, you'll find a VGA port, an Ethernet port, HDMI port, a USB 2.0 port and a USB 3.0 port. The right side has a headphone/mic jack, a 2-in-1 (SD/MMC) card reader, another USB 2.0 port, a DVD-RW drive and a Kensington lock slot.

Measuring 15.12 x 10.43 x .98 inches and weighing in at 4.6 pounds, the G50-45 is one of the sveltest budget laptops we've seen. The Inspiron 15 5000 (5.11 pounds) and the Asus X555LA (5 pounds) put more heft in your bag during transit.

Display and Audio

Watching the trailer for American Ultra on the G50-45's 15.6-inch HD (1366 x 768) display, the small text in the background looked crisp, unlike the screens on the X555LA and the Inspiron 15, which rendered that same text fuzzily.

The screen on the G50-45 is also the brightest in its price range, with an average of 238 nits of brightness. That helped the laptop stand out from the others during head-to-head comparisons, giving fiery explosions more pop.

While I was able to get a lot of volume out of the G50-45 by raising the audio to 100 percent, the sound quality was subpar. The bass on Jay Z and Kanye West's "No Church in The Wild" sounded muffled, and the highs on Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher" were below the peaks they should have been reaching.

Keyboard, Touchpad and Webcam

While some may associate Lenovo with the amazing keyboards on the company's ThinkPad notebooks, the G50-45's keyboard was the worst of the budget laptop keyboards I encountered. Not only are they scalloped on the bottom, many of my clicks also didn't register, leading to my worst 10FastFingers typing test result: 49 words per minute with a low 89 percent accuracy. By comparison, I notched 63 wpm on the Asus X555LA with 98 percent accuracy.

My difficulty typing on the G50-45 is partially due to the keys only having 1.35 millimeters of travel -- shorter than both the X555LA (1.55 mm) and the Inspiron 15 5000 (1.5 mm), the latter being the amount of travel we look for in a notebook keyboard.

The G50-45 opts for a traditional touchpad with dedicated mouse buttons, as opposed to a more modern, clickable touchpad.

Windows 8:

Windows 10: 


The G50-45's webcam originally shot photos that were about as low-quality and grainy as any laptop can take, but once I updated the machine to Windows 10, the camera was also upgraded. I didn't see this jump in quality from the Aspire E5 or the Asus X555LA, but see for yourself. The photo I captured after the jump to Windows 10 was in better lighting, but the leap in photo quality is too large to attribute it to the setting.

Performance

Powered by a 2-GHz AMD quad-core A8-6410 processor with 6GB RAM, the G50-45 handled a dozen open tabs in Chrome (which included TweetDeck, Facebook, email and both streaming video and music) with the Camera app open and a full system scan running, all with ease. Adding another dozen tabs -- simulating the activity I put my laptop through every day -- slowed the system a little, but not as much as the Aspire E5 did.

The Geekbench 3 benchmark test, which measures overall performance, gave the G50-45 a good score of 3,759, which is above average (3,522) for recent budget notebooks. Unfortunately, its score is lower than both the Inspiron 15 5000 (4,432) and X555LA (4,220).

The G50-45 took a whopping 11 minutes and 48 seconds to match 20,000 names to their addresses on our spreadsheet test, much slower than the Inspiron 15 5000 (7:06) as well as the category average (9:28) for budget laptops we've recently tested.

Putting the G50-45 through a multitasking test, we opened a 69MB Word document while a 1080p video played in the background. The Lenovo laptop took 40.9 seconds to complete the task, faster than the budget laptop category average (52 seconds) and the Inspiron 15 5000 (41.2 seconds), but slower than the X555LA (34.6 seconds).

While we wouldn't go out buying a budget laptop with the intent to game, the G50-45 ran World of Warcraft (with resolution at 1366 x 768 and automatic graphics) at a respectable 35 frames per second. That's above our 30-fps standard for smooth gaming, the category average (28.7 fps) and the Inspiron 15 5000 (28.9 fps).

Battery Life and Heat

Larger laptops like the G50-45 tend to stay out of commutes due to their size and weight, but even among 15-inch systems this notebook offers poor battery life. The notebook lasted only 4 hours and 22 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (Web surfing over Wi-Fi with the screen at 100 nits), which is shorter than the category average (5:10) and the worst time among six budget laptops tested.

If you decide to use the G50-45 in your lap, though, you won't need to worry about getting burned. After 15 minutes of streaming-HD video, the laptop's keyboard, touchpad and underside only measured 87, 89 and 89 degrees, respectively, staying below our 95-degree comfort threshold.

Software

The G50-45 may have some software preloaded, but those programs (iHeartRadio, Flipboard, Kindle and Evernote) are well-regarded enough that you won't be jumping to delete them.

Bottom Line

At just $299, the Lenovo G50-45 is an affordable laptop with a bright screen and good performance for the price. However, the short battery life is disappointing, and the keyboard doesn't live up to the Lenovo brand. Although it costs $100 more, we recommend the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 ($399) because of its better build quality, longer endurance and better typing experience.

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CPU AMD Quad-Core A8-6410
Operating System Windows 8.1
RAM 6GB
RAM Upgradable to
Hard Drive Size 500GB
Hard Drive Speed 5,400rpm
Hard Drive Type
Secondary Hard Drive Size
Secondary Hard Drive Speed
Secondary Hard Drive Type
Display Size 15.6
Native Resolution 1366x768
Optical Drive DVD-RW
Optical Drive Speed
Graphics Card
Video Memory
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
Wi-Fi Model
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
Mobile Broadband
Touchpad Size 4 x 2.1 inches
Ports (excluding USB) Headphone/Mic
Ports (excluding USB) USB 2.0
Ports (excluding USB) USB 3.0
USB Ports 3
Card Slots 2-1 card reader
Warranty/Support
Size 10.43 x 15.12 x 0.98 inches
Weight 4.6 pounds
Company Website www.lenovo.com
Add a comment
18 comments
  • kenneth chance Says:

    I have a Lenovo g50 laptop and to be honest I would never touch another Lenovo its that uncomfortable to work with the front edge cuts into your hands when you use the key board and there programes I could not work with don't even know what they are on about half the time no doubt I will be dumping this
    model

  • Charles Says:

    This new to me and is there a manual

  • Chaiah Says:

    I purchased my Lenovo a couple of months ago and am returning it today. The system was trying to run so many pre-installed apps & junk stuff that processor just wouldn't work. So, hoping that uninstalling a bunch of unnecessary clutter, I went to work. Now, mind you, I'd already been having issues with it even turning on, slow keyboard response time, an unresponsive power button... I know this is a budget LT and can't be expected to run a lot or complex programs, but it should at least turn on! I've updated everything, too. Last night, I got a message my hard drive had failed and informed I needed to back it up. I couldn't, at the time. Now, it won't turn on at all. I tried battery removal/reinsert, as well as trying to see if there was a charge issue. Nada. This POS is FUBAR.

  • PC For Kids School / Minecraft Says:

    I think this review misses the point of the G50-45 a bit. Another hour of battery is nice, but for home use when kids don't need to be on for more than 4hrs at a stretch. The Asus X555LA is $40 more on Amazon. For the savings you can add 4gb of ram to the G50 and still come in for less than the Asus. I admit there is more bloat to remove on the Lenovo. The G50-45 and Asus x555LA are two of the few laptops at this pricepoint that dont require a full teardown to access the ram sockets.

  • Littlepunk Says:

    Just bought this laptop and the touchpad mouse didn't work and the keyboard worked very randomly if at all! Very frustrating as its fu**ing brand new, and budget or not it should at very least perform basic tasks. Without a mouse or a working keyboard that is literally impossible! I wouldn't recommend to anyone as I was by the staff member of JB. Apparently the top selling and best on the market this brand! Pfft... What a load of crap... Oh well more fool me, after all he is a salesman! I clearly had forgotten my brain that day. You can't polish a turd but you can put glitter on it!! And who isnt mesmerised by glitter!

  • dissapointed Says:

    Slow laptop and it keep freezing!! dont buy

  • Gadget Man Says:

    @Maya Gurung - Yes had the same problem, if your pitch and zoom the touchpad a certain way, it will reappear. This seems to be a driver issue and after a couple of Win 10 updates the problem went away for me. The build quality was so cheap that I never took it out my house, but it still started to far apart within 10 months (screws falling out, touchpad plastic wearing out and left button is lose) so bought a HP 15-ab153nr which seems like a solid budget machine so far.

  • Maya Gurung Says:

    My curser keep on dissappearing and cannot close the window, i have to literally take the battery out to shit down. Does anyone have the same problem ?? Just bought last year around November feels like old.

  • YO MAMA Says:

    Okay...to all the whining comments here get a clue..."budget laptop" means it isn't going to amaze you. As for typing....ITS A LAPTOP which means it going to be configured differently especially since it includes a 10 key. Yes, I know this is a way late comment to an old thread but I just had to vent. The general public is so lost and dumbfounded on computers its why I have such great job security. Bottom line is this. It doesn't matter where or what LT you get. If you want the goods drop $1500 - $2000 for a system with discrete graphics and SSD. That way your slowness complaints can just shove it...unless your one of the (just about every end user who malwares the crap out of their system making it a giant paper weight). Finally, if your a HARDCORE typist by a wireless/bluetooth keyboard or wired cherry key mechanical one and get over it....okay...I feel better nnow...

  • manav Says:

    Hello..nice review buddy...I have upgraded to unofficial win 10 pro 64 bit version...but didn't found any changes in the webcam...why is it so...
    And fellow friends,i have this laptop..if u have any questions regarding it,i wud try to help u out...just drop a mail here manabsaha2k15@gmail.com

  • Romana Says:

    Can someone tell me what is the matter with this laptop? Since day 1 it is acting like a very old laptop, not a 4gb ram laptop! Things would freeze, it would be soo slow, the hard capacity on Task Manager would show that it's 99% in use when I would be doing almost nothing. We had to replace both keyboard and the hard and it's still not the way it should be. So disappointed.

  • Debasish Mahanta Says:

    I liked this laptop so today i am going to buy it..

  • Mahesh Tanakala Says:

    G50-45 A86410 is worste system i have never ever this type of processor. dnt buy anyone.AMD processor is not supporting for changing o.s also

  • Joseph Says:

    Can anyone tell me if I am able to do anything about this keyboard. It is ridiculous. I have been typing accurately 50 wpm for 3 decades. This is probably my 6th laptop since 1996. I cannot type a complete sentence without the keyboard just not recording all of my key strokes. It will drive you insane.

  • Jadran Says:

    What a ridiculous review! To give such a bad rating due to ''only'' 4 hours and 22 minutes of battery life and because the reviewer didn't like the keyboard, while all else including good screen, low heat dissipation, and other great things of this laptop including low price are hard to find among competition!

  • luis abad Says:

    Will installing a game (Rigs of Rods) that recommends Intel core 2 duo, window, Intel hd 3000 or geo force 8500gt work just fine, or evtually degrade my laptop. (I have the g50 - 45

  • Paul C Says:

    [Window Title]
    Synaptics TouchPad 64-bit Enhancements

    [Main Instruction]
    Synaptics TouchPad 64-bit Enhancements has stopped working

    [Content]
    Windows is checking for a solution to the problem...

    [Cancel]

  • Niazi Says:

    Hi there!

    I wanna know its generation and intel core version number?

    PS. sorry if i am not using the correct terms.

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