Lenovo Z51 review

A big, bad laptop for educators and students

The Z51
The Z51

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I want to recommend this laptop. It looks good, it feels good and it performed very well during the basic tasks I put it through in my testing. The machine is cheaper than similar alternatives and it's a joy to watch videos on.

But when it comes down to the nitty gritty – what separates notebooks that help maximize output versus notebooks that run annoyingly slow after a few months – I just can't give the Z51 a raving review.

We liked

The Z51's beautiful black and silver design will complement any desk space. Lenovo's wide, number-pad-packing keyboard is a peach to use, even if the clickpad at the bottom is a bit too wide. The FHD display makes watching content enjoyable, even if you can't touch the screen.

We disliked

There's no point looking good if you don't outperform the competition. A laptop with a Core i5 processor should not get trounced in head-to-head benchmarks against laptops with previous generation processors, let alone a much weaker processor designed for tablets, like the Core M.

And when you factor that poor performance into the laptop's dreadful battery life, you're looking at a device that performs slightly better than a smartphone, lasts almost as long, and weighs 10 times as much.

Final verdict

Spend a little extra money and buy a laptop that looks as good as the Z51, but performs as well as its competitors. Both the ZenBook UX305 and the Acer Aspire V7 are better-suited for the student and educator, despite lacking the same number of ports and connections as the Z51.

While I don't recommend the Z51 entirely, I will say that if a stunning, non-touch FHD display and a slick-looking chassis are your priorities, the Z51 excels in both departments.