Lenovo IdeaPad 520 (80YL00Q3IN) review

A reliable laptop that does it all

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Our Verdict

The Lenovo Ideapad 520 (80YL00Q3IN) is packed with adequate features and quality computing power, but it's too expensive to recommend over its competitors.

For

  • Powerful
  • Decent graphics performance
  • Good bild quality

Against

  • Overpriced
  • Dated desing
  • Bulky

The Lenovo Ideapad 520 is a full-fledged multimedia laptop for users who need a flexible notebook that can do a bit of everything. The variant we tested is the most high-end version that comes with top-end specifications like a Core i7 7th Gen processor with a dedicated graphic card and 16GB of DDR4 RAM.

As the Ideapad 520 shows that not all costly laptops are good looking, but it never disappoints when it comes to getting the job done. It offers plenty of features, but there's nothing that makes it stand out of the crowded laptop market. 

It retails at Rs 85,000, which is where we doubt if one should buy it or not. We decided to test it and see if it justifies the price, and here is what we found out.

Spec Sheet

Here is the Lenovo IdeaPad 320S-14IKB configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

CPU: Intel Core i7-7500U Processor ( 2.70GHz 4MB )
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 940MX 4GB GDDR5
RAM: 16.0GB PC4-17000 DDR4 SODIMM 2133MHz
Screen: 15.6"FHD AntiGlare 1920x1080
Storage: 2TB 5400RPM
Ports: 2xUSB 3.0, 1x USB3.0 Type C, HDMI
4-in-1 Card Reader
Connectivity: WIFI 2X2 AC+BT4.1
Camera: 720P HD
Weight: 2.2Kg

Price and availability

As mentioned, we're testing the 80YL00Q3IN model of the IdeaPad 520. While the laptop is listed at Rs 85,999 on Lenovo's online store, Amazon.in is selling this model for Rs 88,490.

Design

I reviewed the Iron Grey variant of the laptop which comes with a partially aluminum chassis with some plastic at the bottom and around the display. Having aluminum is both good and bad as it makes it more sturdy but adds a little bulk on it too. 

So, this one weighs 2.2kgs which isn't considered very bulky looking at the 15-inch form factor it has, but it's not light enough to carry around with just one hand effortlessly. 

While the bigger form factor makes it good for multimedia consumption and gaming, it also need a big carry bag to take it around. For a MacBook Air user like me, the shoulders do feel the strain when carried for long. 

It looks like any other box-styled laptop when closed but tiny elements like the chamfered edges and shiny border around the screen and trackpad added to the looks. 

The laptop is thick at 22.9mm, despite of a thin display panel. It's not too thick, but still not something that ultrabook buyers will look for.

There's a good amount of real estate on both the display lid and the base. Where the display isn't spread over the whole area leaving space for thick bezels resulting in poor screen to body ratio. Similarly, the base has keys in just 50% of its part leaving a lot of space to rest your palm next to the trackpad. 

Keyboard and trackpad

It has a island-type chiclet keyboard which comes with curved keys. It is something that Lenovo has been putting in most of its laptops and is also one of the best things about this model. Typing is a breeze on this, thanks to the tactile feedback and adequate key travel. 

The keys are wide and well-placed and have one level of backlit support. The only thing that feels weird about it is the crammed num-pad on the right. You might end up hitting the number keys accidentally as it is crammed into the left despite there being adequate space.

The multi-gesture trackpad is smooth and quite precise. It has a matte finish on top so that you can just touch and feel that you are at the right place. There’s a separate section that consists of the left and right click as well. 

Screen

The IdeaPad 520 sports a 15.6-inch anti-glare display. The screen isn’t bad in particular, but at such high price, we expected it to be a little better than this. It’s a full HD panel but it is not as bright as we expected it to be. The good part is that it doesn’t lose visibility even from extreme angles.

Its display is good to watch as the antiglare coating on the display dismisses the reflections entirely making it a worthy for those who stay in front of screen for long. While reading and surfing seems good, high resolution videos seem very impressive at this price. 

The panel is sharp, replicates detailed imagery but I found the brightness to be very poor. I expected a better overall performance as the competitors have way better panels in comparison at this price. 

Ports

It has tons of ports for connectivity. It comes with 1X HDMI, 2xUSB 3.0, 1 X USB3.0 Type C, 4-in-1 Card Reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC), 1 X Ethernet port and also has a DVD drive.