December 14, 2011
- Sturdy chassis
- Well-designed keyboard
- Solid performance
- No USB 3.0
- Below average battery life
The Lenovo IdeaPad V470 is a 14-inch laptop computer with a well-built design and many configuration options available, each at a very affordable price. While it does lack USB 3.0 connectivity, it has an Intel Core i5 CPU, a large 750GB hard drive and discrete Nvidia graphics.
The Lenovo IdeaPad V470 measures 13.4 x 9.2 x 0.8-inches (wdh) and weighs 4.9-pounds in total, so it's definitely portable and easy to carry around during a long day of school or work. The visual design lends itself to a business crowd as it has a muted brushed-metal trim and a sturdy metal chassis. It's definitely not going to win any awards for its looks, but for professionals, that might be not be the objective in buying a laptop.
Lenovo really put the design time into the keyboard, which ended up being one of the laptop's selling points. The slightly concave chiclet-style keys provide good feedback and good travel, which gives you a very comfortable typing experience that works to minimize typing errors. Lenovo also made the right decision (at least in our minds) to leave out the red-rubber pointing stick that usually accompanies their laptops. One feature that we would've liked to see is a backlit keyboard, so that's really the only flaw.
The touchpad on the V470 is of average size, but maybe a touch small. It is multitouch-enabled and the two discrete buttons below the pad work well too. There is also a fingerprint reader to the right of the touchpad, which again lends itself to the business-folk.
The 14-inch glossy display has a native resolution of 1366 x 768-pixels, which is the common standard for this size notebook. The display has good brightness and sharpness, even in off-angle viewing. The glossy coating does reflect a lot of ambient light, so that's again another minor issue.
In terms of connections, the Lenovo IdeaPad V470 has one USB 2.0/eSATA combo port, three more USB 2.0 ports, HDMI-out, VGA-out, Ethernet, the usual audio jacks and an SD memory card reader. We would've liked to see a USB 3.0 port instead of an eSATA combo port for future USB 3.0 peripherals. Wireless connectivity includes both 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but no mobile broadband for frequent travelers. There is also a standard DVD+/-RW optical disc drive too.
Lenovo offers many different V470 configurations, but our review unit had a second-generation Intel Core i5-2410M (2.3GHz) CPU, 6GB of RAM, a 750GB 5400RPM hard drive and discrete Nvidia GeForce GT 520M graphics with 1GB of dedicated video memory. For about an additional $150-200, you can upgrade to a Core i7 CPU for added performance.
Performance with our configuration was very good and slightly above the category average. This was mostly thanks to the i5 CPU (as opposed to an i3) and 6GB of RAM instead of the common 4GB of 14-inch laptops. You'll have no trouble playing back streaming HD video online, Web browsing or moderate multitasking. The discrete graphics returned some playable 3D gaming results, but only with the graphics settings dialed down moderately. If you want to do some occasional gaming, this laptop will do the job, but for frequent gaming, look elsewhere.
The included 6-cell battery resulted in battery life of around 4.5-hours, which was about an hour below the category average.