For a sub-$400 laptop, the Lenovo IdeaPad 320 can turn some heads, with its sleek, premium-esque design. However, the specs it offers simply aren't worth the price, as it sports a last-generation CPU, a lower-resolution display and a shorter battery life compared to a laptop like the Acer Aspire E 15, which sells for a similar price.
The IdeaPad 320 has a simple but sleek design. Its gray plastic hood is vast and empty, aside from a glossy, silver Lenovo logo in the left-hand corner.
|Storage||500GB, 1TB 5400-rpm HDD|
|Ports||2 USB 3.0, 1 USB Type-C, HDMI, 4-in-1 card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC), RJ45, headphone jack, DVD drive, security lock slot|
|Size||14.9 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches|
The interior, brushed-aluminum chassis has a gray paint job accompanied by a dark-gray keyboard. If the IdeaPad 320's keyboard is anything like Lenovo's other keyboards, it should be decent to type on at the very least. We like that the webcam is on the top bezel, but the bezels themselves are pretty meaty.
At 4.9 pounds and 14.9 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches, the IdeaPad 320 is relatively slim, especially compared to other sub-$400 laptops like the Acer Aspire E 15. That one weighs 5 pounds and measures at 15 x 10.2 x 1.2 inches.
For a sub-$400 system, the IdeaPad 320 has a solid number of ports. The left side features the power jack, an RJ45 port, an HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, a headphone jack, one USB Type-C port, and a 4-in-1 card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC). The right side offers a security lock slot and a DVD drive.
We haven't tested the display's color or brightness for ourselves, but it's not a good sign that the IdeaPad 320's 15.6-inch panel has a resolution of only 1366 x 768, especially when the similarly priced Aspire E 15 has a 1080p panel.
Regarding performance, the IdeaPad 320 is not getting any love with its Intel Core i3-7100U processor or its AMD A12-9720P CPU, because laptops like the Aspire E 15 have 8th Gen Core i3 processors. The IdeaPad 320 comes with either 4GB or 8GB of RAM and a 500GB or 1TB 5,400-rpm HDD, while the Aspire E 15 comes with 6GB of RAM (upgradable to 8GB) and a 1TB 5,400-rpm HDD. So, the two machines are relatively similar on the RAM and hard-drive front.
According to Lenovo's website, the IdeaPad 320 can last up to 6 hours on a battery charge, which is disappointing considering we typically look for at least 8 hours in any laptop (with the exception of gaming models). In contrast, the Aspire E 15 lasted 8 hours and 48 minutes on our Laptop Mag Battery Test.
Based on the specs and price alone, we'd recommend avoiding the Lenovo IdeaPad 320. Sure, it's slimmer and lighter than something like the Aspire E 15, but the performance, battery life and display resolution simply aren't worth the price.
For $379, the Acer Aspire E 15 features a sharper panel, longer battery life and better raw performance for an eerily similar price.
Even for a sub-$400 laptop, you can do better than the IdeaPad 320.
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Rami Tabari is an Editor for Laptop Mag. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You can find him sitting at his desk surrounded by a hoarder's dream of laptops, and when he navigates his way out to civilization, you can catch him watching really bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’s the best at every game and he just doesn’t lose. That’s why you’ll occasionally catch his byline attached to the latest Souls-like challenge.