Lenovo IdeaPad Z40 and Z50 Offer High-End Power on a Budget

Lenovo is bringing some serious firepower to the mainstream notebook market with its new IdeaPad Z40 and Z50. The follow up to its Z400 / Z500 line, the IdeaPad Z40 and Z50 will start at just $599 when they launch in March. We had a chance to check out both laptops in person and were intrigued by their promising specs and low cost.

Although they have a relatively low starting price, both the 14-inch Z40 and 15-inch Z50 can be equipped with the kind of high-end specs you would expect to see in some of today's best multimedia machines. Lenovo says the laptops can be outfitted with your choice of 1366 x 768 or 1920 x 1080 resolution displays, but there's no touch screen option. Thankfully, the notebook's touchpads were extremely responsive when we used them to access various Windows 8 gestures.

Internally, you can choose up to an Intel 4th Generation Core i7 processor, an Nvidia GeForce 840M graphics chip and up to 16GB of system memory. Storage options include a 1TB standard hard drive or a 1TB hybrid drive with 8GB of cache storage.

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Measuring 13.4 x 9.64 x 0.97 inches and weighing 4 pounds, the Z40 is a bit thinner and lighter than its predecessor, the Z410, which measures 13.6 x 9.6 x 1.0 inches and weighs 4.41 pounds. Similarly, the Z50, which measures 15.1 x 10.4 x 0.98 inches and weighs 5 pounds, also undercuts its predecessor, the 14.9 x 10.4 x 1.0-inch, 4.9-pound Z510. As a result, both the Z40 and Z50 were easy to carry with one hand.

What's more, Lenovo doesn't skimp on the ports on either the Z40 or Z50, giving them both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 slots, HDMI slots, 2-in-1 SD card slots and optional optical drives. Outside, the notebooks' lids feature a textured plastic that should keep fingerprints and scratches from piling up. Under the lid you'll find a smooth aluminum keyboard.

Lenovo estimates that both notebooks will get up to 5 hours of battery life, which falls below our mainstream notebook category average of 5 hours and 31 minutes. Of course, we'll have to wait until we perform our full suite of tests before we can make any judgments. Check back for our full reviews of the Z40 and Z50 in the near future.

Daniel P. Howley
LAPTOP Senior Writer
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.