May 16, 2013
- Touch screen display
- Optical drive built-in
- Above average performance
- Keyboard flexing
- Battery isn't removable
The Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 is a desktop replacement that hopes to bring some of the touch-friendly features of today's smaller Ultrabooks along with it. It has a 14-inch touch display, an optical drive and strong performance, but the keyboard could be better and the battery isn't removable.
Since the release of Windows 8 late last year, we've seen an astounding number of touch screen notebooks. Many of these notebooks have been ultraportables (or "Ultrabooks" as they are known), so the Z400 from Lenovo looks to bring features of these ultraportables to the desktop replacement category. It does a good job with only some minor flaws to keep it from being the best of the best.
As it is a desktop replacement notebook, the Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 measures a hefty 13.8 x 9.8 x 1.3-inches and weighs 5.2-pounds. The lid and bottom of the laptop has a deep brown paint job that sets it apart from the usually silver ultraportables. The keyboard deck has a textured finish and a slightly embedded track pad.
The keyboard is a chiclet-style setup with good size and spacing, but there was quite a bit of noticeable flex. We were happy that Lenovo backlit this keyboard, which is always a huge plus. The touch pad worked well and seemed responsive. It was also large enough for Windows 8's multitouch gestures.
The 14-inch LED-backlit display on the Z400 has a native resolution of 1366 x 768-pixels. It also supports up to 10 simultaneous touch points. We liked that the screen has a seamless piece of glass covering it, which makes it look really sleek. The quality of the display was above our expectations, since sometimes a touch screen display sacrifices on quality. Viewing angles were also wider than expected. Sensitivity of the display was very good and about as accurate as we would have expected.
For ports, the Lenovo Z400 offers one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI-out, VGA-out, Ethernet, a headphone jack and an SD memory card reader. There is also a DVD+/-RW optical drive, which is typically missing on ultraportables. Wireless connectivity includes both 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It would have been nice to get at least 1 more USB 3.0 port (and lose one of the two USB 2.0 ports), but I support this isn't a huge problem.
Our review sample had a configuration that included a 3rd generation Intel Core i5-3230M (2.6GHz) CPU, 6GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive and integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics. Because this isn't a low-voltage processor typically found in ultraportables, performance over those same ultraportables is much better. In a PCMark 7 benchmark, the Z400 earned a score of 2670, which is a little above the category average for desktop replacements.
We were a little disappointed that the battery is built-into the laptop, so you cannot remove it. While this may not be a problem for several years, after the battery does begin to weaken, you'll need to get it swapped out by a professional. But the integrated battery did run for about 5-hours, about an hour longer than the category average.