Product Type: Lenovo laptops
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Budget Laptop for the £400 mark?
Lenovo 3000 N200 0769
Member Name: mcc28_x
Lenovo 3000 N200 0769
Advantages: Good build quality, includes Vista, reasonable performance
Disadvantages: Not sure about the Lenovo Suite of Programs included
~~~Costs and Initial thoughts~~~
I took delivery of my IBM/Lenovo Laptop from laptopsdirect.co.uk about 10 days or so ago. The price on the website is £429.97 however, I took a chance and opted for a 'box-opened' model at the price of £407.44. I ordered on a Sunday evening and received it on Tuesday lunchtime at a cost of £17.57
On opening the box I found:
1 x laptop
1 x power cable
1 x Lenovo Service and Troubleshooting Guide
1 x Safety and Warranty Guide
1 x Quick Start Guide
and various regulatory notices.
The machine was in pristine condition despite the price reduction (the website does say that the machine was in A1 condition just the original packaging may be damaged).
First impressions where of a solid, quite large laptop in a silvery smooth plastic casing. The casing is rigid and does not flex under pressure, the hinges are taught and feel secure and reasuring. For the money I was impressed.
Like others in the Lenovo line, upgrading the laptop is easy without completely dismantling the entire laptop. Each area has its own cover held in by one or two Phillips head screws. This includes the ram, hard drive/wireless card, and the CPU/heatsink area. Almost any upgrade the average or power notebook user would ever need to do to this laptop throughout its useful lifespan could be dealt with through these sections.
~~~Inputs and Outputs~~~
The N200 has the following port selection:
* Four USB 2.0
* Four-Pin Firewire
* 5-in-1 Card Reader
* VGA Out
* S-Video Out
* Headphone socket
* Security Lock
* Power Connector
I powered on the machine and waited for Vista to power-up. I had researched a number of machines before I settled on this one. I had been looking for a mid-range machine with enough power for Office applications and Internet, email and just possibly Championship Manager - if I ever have the time!
I felt that the N200 offered a good screen (15.4in) with reasonable processing power from the Centrino 1.5Ghz (Santa Rosa chipset) web camera, card reader and I liked the idea of the fingerprint reader for security.
I had not seen Vista before and was initially surprised to see how quickly the machine booted, however, I soon realized that this was smoke and mirrors on Microsoft's part, arriving quickly at the log-in screen but in truth much was still going on behind the scenes.
After everything had loaded I set about some quick checks including checking for any hardware conflicts in device manager, making sure the as advertised hardware was present and generally allowing the system to update. Everything was okay. The built in wifi had connected smoothly to my router and the Lenovo network manager allowed me to easily access the WEP security key.
The installed software is limited, there really is nothing apart from the OS and the Lenovo suite of applications, so you'll need to bear in mind that you need virus protection - I'm using AVG(free edition) and have done on all my machines for a while. There is no office package so again you'll need to think about this perhaps.
The Lenovo suite of applications includes an Update Manager for drivers and essential software. I'm not sure about this, at the moment the jury is out, I find it slow and cumbersome and it has failed so far to install one supposed essential update.
The fingerprint reader works a treat, although at the moment I'm not sure how much of a security improvement it really is as you appear to be easily able to by-pass this at the Vista log on if desired.
The mousepad is very good, however, although I have the settings on fast I do find that getting around the screen is not as quick as I would like. It's difficult to determine if this is the fault of Vista or the Lenovo application controlling the mousepad. The Lenovo software does allow you to customise the trackpad allowing various features and shortcuts to be used by programming certain areas of the mousepad (eg. auto scrolling), this is a real timesaver.
There is no copy of Vista, you will need to burn a recovery disc from the Lenovo suite of applications using the built in DVD/CD burner.
The screen is bright and crisp, however to extend battery life it is highly advantageous to turn this setting down. I've done this and find that I can easily get coming upto 3 hours life from the 6 cell battery whilst surfing the Internet i.e. Wifi on.
The fan is fairly quite and only runs when the processor requires cooling. One thing I have found is that if you sit with the machine on your lap for a length of time it does become quite hot, okay on these cold winter nights, but probably not so pleasant in summer!
There is a one year return to base manufacturers guarantee. The Lenovo website www.lenovo.co.uk is very comprehensive and there is a good section on troubleshooting and driver updates. The large number of revisions to their machines does make it a little confusing trying to tie down what you need for your machine but after enough digging you usually get there.
Not sure if this is a problem yet but on two occasions the screen has dimmed so much that I can barely see it. This has on both occasions been immediately after logging into Vista and a quick reboot has solved the issue, so again difficult to determine if it is the software or the machine.
I also experienced a BSOD (Blue screen of Death) after a Vista update which was solved by booting into Safe Mode and rolling back to a previously known good configuration.
So far so good. I think the Lenovo N200 is very good value for money. It feels robust and reliable and looks the part. There are some excellent features such as the webcam, fingerpint reader and card reader not always present on machines at this pricepoint. Having had Lenovo machines on two occasions in the past I think that my third machine is set to be the best yet -and the other two were good too!
There is no extra software, but again so long as you are aware and budget for this - not a problem. The Lenovo Care Suite of Programs is not to everyones taste. I'm going to reserve judgement at the moment but bear in mind that if you have to reinstall the system, because you'll be using a recovery disk, then these programs would be automatically installed again.
Finally, I recommend the machine if you're looking for something to surf the web, email and office applications and maybe the odd game that does not require strong graphics. It represents a solid purchase for £400.
* Product Description - Lenovo 3000 N200 - Core 2 Duo T5250 1.5 GHz - 15.4" TFT
* Dimensions (WxDxH) - 36 cm x 26.7 cm x 3.1 cm
* Weight - 2.8 kg
* Localisation - English / United Kingdom
* Platform Technology - Intel Centrino Duo
* System Type - Notebook
* Processor - Intel Core 2 Duo T5250 / 1.5 GHz ( Dual-Core )
* Cache Memory - 2MB - L2 Cache
* RAM - 1GB DDR II SDRAM - (expand to 4GB)
* Card Reader - 5 in 1
* Hard Drive - 160 GB - Serial ATA-150 - 5400 rpm
* Optical Storage - DVD-Writer - integrated
* Display - 15.4" TFT active matrix VibrantView
* Graphics Controller - Intel X3100 256MB shared
* Audio Output - Sound card
* Telecom - Fax / modem - 56 Kbps
* Networking - Network adapter - Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wireless LAN
* Notebook Camera - Integrated Cam
* Input Device - Keyboard, touchpad, scroll button
* Power - AC 120/230 V ( 50/60 Hz )
* Battery - Lithium Ion (6 cell but 9 cell as upgrade possible)
* Operating System - Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium
* Manufacturer Warranty - 1 year warranty
Summary: Good specs, well featured a good everyday machine
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