Good graphics power
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Lenovo is probably best known for its business ThinkPad range, but the consumer-focused IdeaPad Z560 is an excellent mid-priced portable with a highly impressive specification.
This laptop features an Intel Core i3 processor and the difference over its rivals is impressive, producing good benchmarking scores. There's more than enough power for multi-tasking with system-intensive software and we noticed no slowdown at any point.
Even more impressive considering the price is the dedicated Nvidia graphics card, which again topped our benchmarking tests. Multimedia tasks such as photo and video editing are easily dispatched, and you can even run fairly recent games with suitable ease, albeit with some of the detail settings turned down slightly.
Most users will find the 320GB of hard drive storage space plenty, only filled quickly by those with large media collections, while the 5-in-1 memory card reader allows instant access to your holiday snaps and other media.
A full range of ports includes VGA and HDMI for connecting monitors, eSATA for rapid data transfers and even an ExpressCard slot for attaching peripherals.
802.11n Wi-Fi allows speedy wireless networking, with 10/100 Ethernet available for wired connections. All of this is packed inside a firm plastic chassis featuring a smart metallic design.
We noticed no weak areas, so you can take this laptop on the road with confidence. At 2.6kg, its weight matches the other 15.6-inch laptops, but the 192 minute battery life is unimpressive and beaten by most of the laptops at this price point, so you'll need to pack the charger.
The black lid does a reasonable job of hiding fingerprints but, unfortunately, doesn't bend too far past vertical, so the 15.6-inch screen is best viewed when the laptop is sitting on a desk. Still, it's one of the brightest displays and almost as vibrant as the PC NextDay ZooStorm 3389-9209/B.
The 1366 x 768 resolution matches most other laptops at this price point, so images are reasonably sharp.
An isolation-style keyboard is in place and is perfect for touch-typing. There's room for a dedicated numeric keypad, and a row of touch-sensitive buttons just above the board performs various quick access functions.
We also liked the textured touchpad which has a scrollbar along the right edge for quickly navigating documents and web pages.
The IdeaPad Z560 is a great all-rounder with many strengths and few weaknesses. The Core i3 processor and dedicated GPU provide fantastic performance, while the well-built chassis is packed with features. Only flawed portability detracts from this highly polished package.
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