Lenovo Introduces IdeaPad Z Series Multimedia Notebooks

In addition to its IdeaPad U series of ultraportables, today Lenovo introduced its new IdeaPad Z series of affordable multimedia notebooks. With a starting price of $649, the Z Series will be available in both 13 and 15-inch form factors. The 13-inch IdeaPad Z360 and 15-inch IdeaPad Z560 will feature a choice of Intel 2010 Core CPUs while the 15-inch IdeaPad Z565 will be among the first systems powered by AMD's new Phenom II Quad-Core CPU. The Z Series will begin shipping in June.

With a glossy black lid and silver bezel and deck, the Z Series offers a subtle but attractive design aesthetic. Multimedia-friendly features such as an optional Blu-ray drive, powerful discrete graphics, and OneKey Theater II, a button that enhances audio/video, make the Z Series a solid choice for students and families that want to watch movies or play games.

Common specs include:

  • CPU: Intel Processors ranging from a Pentium P6000 on the low end to a variety of Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 CPUs. AMD Processors ranging from the AMD V Series Single-core CPU to a Quad-Core Phenom II running at 2.0 or 2.1 GHz.
  • RAM: Up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM
  • Screen: 13.3-inch or 15.6-inch screen with 1366x768 resolution
  • Graphics: Intel models feature Intel integrated HD integrated graphics or Nvidia GeForce 310 or 315M discrete graphics. AMD models feature a choice of ATI Mobility Radeon 4200 integrated graphics or ATI Mobility Radeon 5470 discrete graphics.
  • Hard Drive: 5,400 or 7,200 rpm hard drives ranging in size fom 250GB to 640GB
  • Optical Drive: DVD-RW or Blu-ray reader
  • Ports: USB 2.0, eSATA, 5-in-1 card reader, HDMI-out
  • Networking: DirectShare feature allows you to synchronize files directly with another notebook. 802.11n Wi-Fi and Ethernet allow standard Internet connections.
  • Entertainment Enchancement: OneKey Theater II, a one-touch audio-visual optimization function improves video and audio quality.  Dolby Advanced Audio provides enhanced sound.
  • Security and Backup: Veriface facial recognition helps with logins while the OneKey rescue system allows for simple system restores.

We look forward to seeing how the Z Series compares to other multimedia dynamos like the Samsung R580. We're particularly intrigued by the performance possibilities offered by the AMD Phenom II processor that's available on the IdeaPad Z565. If the price for a spec'ed out Z565 is good and the performance lives up to the hype, it could be a really compelling notebook for gamers or amateur video editors.

Avram Piltch
Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master's degree in English from NYU.