Lenovo IdeaPad 520 (80YL00Q3IN) review

A reliable laptop that does it all

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This model of the Ideapad 520 packs Intel’s 7th Gen Core i7-7500U processor clocked at 2.7GHz. For enhanced graphics performance, it has a dedicated Nvidia 940MX 2GB graphics card adds up to the versatility of this laptop. The 16GB RAM DDR4 RAM makes it great for multitasking, which we experienced while using more than 30 tabs opened at one time. Most laptops start stuttering at this point, but it handles such tasks quite effortlessly. Although, there were some minor hiccups while switching between windows, but that was occasional. 

I played FIFA 18 everyday on this laptop, and never noticed it lagging until the it was connected to the charger. Thanks to the hybrid GPU, it switched to Intel’s resident GPU as soon as I removed the charger. 

Things would have been better if Lenovo had incorporated SSD in place of the 2TB HDD. The file transfer speeds are surprisingly low even when paired with Samsung T5 SSD. 

There’s also a fingerprint sensor that’s compatible with Windows Hello and is pretty accurate and snappy. 

Although the audio is powered by Harman, I didn’t find the 2x 2 W speaker to be immersive enough to blow me away. I would have been happier if there wasn’t a Harman branding to give an impression of good audio as it has nothing more than a mediocre audio. The speakers are placed under the deck, which produce crisp but low-pitched audio. So you can’t watch a movie in a noisy surrounding without a headphone.

The 720p HD webcam present on the ZenBook is pretty decent if put in well-lit conditions. In low-light, the pictures are marred by grains which is a bit of a low-point.

Here’s how the Lenovo 520 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Sky Diver: 5882; Fire Strike: 474; Time Spy: 655; Cloud Gate: 6400; Graphics: 60.18 fps PCMark 8 Battery Life: 3 hours and 42minutes Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 4 hours and 3 minutes

What's missing

If we ignore the price, the Ideapad 520 is an all-round performer but it doesn't stand out in any of the departments. The performance is pretty commendable but it's not something that other laptops in this price range don't offer.

I would have liked a better design, display and audio at least on this laptop. Everything looks in place, but just not up to the mark. Either Lenovo should have kept the price aggressive to make up for the shortcomings that it has. 

We liked

The Lenovo Ideapad 520 is a good companion to carry to work without being felt like a complete business laptop. It is a versatile machine to rely for almost every task. 

We disliked

The price is just too much for what it offers overall. The display and audio performance makes it feel boring, which could have covered up to lack of style. Despite of having a decent performance, it feels just too dull in front of its competitors in this price range. 

Final verdict

It's quite confusing to feel disappointed with a machine that does almost everything you ask for decently, yet fails to stand out. At Rs 85,999, the laptop feels just too costly to recommend anyone who wants a complete multimedia machine that does perform well. 

The battery life is average, display disappoints and the design looks too dated for a laptop that's competing against the likes of HP's Pavilion, Omen, Spectre series and Dell's Inspiron and XPS series. All of this combined, it leaves us underwhelmed by what it offers at this price.

Sudhanshu Singh

Sudhanshu Singh have been working in tech journalism as a reporter, writer, editor, and reviewer for over 5 years. He has reviewed hundreds of products ranging across categories and have also written opinions, guides, feature articles, news, and analysis. Ditching the norm of armchair journalism in tech media, Sudhanshu dug deep into how emerging products and services affect actual users, and what marks they leave on our cultural landscape. His areas of expertise along with writing and editing include content strategy, daily operations, product and team management.