Lenovo B560 laptop is one of those sub 500 dollar notebooks that has all the features one would expect from an everyday computer. B560 runs on an Intel P6100 processor that runs 2GHz clock speed and has 3MB cache. But, what actually makes it different from the rest of the notebooks around is discrete Nvidia 310M GPU which fully supports the Nvidia Optimus technology for improving the battery runtimes. So, is the Lenovo B560 simply the best budget notebook of year 2011? Let us find out in the review!
The notebook comes with a 15.6 inch display which sports 1366 x 768 pixel resolution. The display is of okay quality and we don’t expect it to rival the one in the Sony Vaio YB (read Sony Vaio VB review) or Lenovo Y560p in terms of color and contrast. The glare type display makes the colors look better, but we would still say the display meant to be used with business apps only, not for media watching. Under sunlight, just don’t expect anything to be visible as the desktop appears to be too dark. Colors wash out as well when seen from the sides.
Lenovo has equipped the B560 with a standard keyboard, not the chiclet one that you find most of the netbooks and notebooks around. This does not mean a ‘bad thing’. We were immediately able to type on it with our normal speeds. Coming to its touchpad, there is absolute no support for the multitouch gestures. This means you cannot do the fancy two-finger scrolling on it (we are just so just to it since we love our Mac computer). If you can get used to that, you will find using the touchpad a pleasureable experience. Mouse buttons felt of cheap quality because of their low key drop.
Storage, HDD, Upgradability
The B560 comes with 500GB hard disk drive (Western Digital WD5000BEVT, 5400rpm) and 2GB RAM (Samsung made). There are two RAM slots and only one is occupied. Both hard disk and RAM are accessible by unscrewing few screws.
As mentioned earlier in the review, the Lenovo B560 is a budget notebook, so don’t expect top-of-the line processors in it. It carriers the Intel P6100 2GHz processor which has a TDP of 35 watts. So, while there is no Intel Turbo boost technology in it, it definitely holds its own for the basic productivity chores and Web browsing. It scored a modest 4.1 as its Windows Experience Index (WEI):
- Processor: 5.7
- Memory: 5.9
- Graphics: 4.1
- Gaming Graphics: 5.7
- Primary Hard disk: 5.7
Now, let us talk in terms of benchmarks to see how it stands with the modern processors (of the same range):
As you can see in above image, it does not disappoint in the performance department. GPU scored a strong 1100 in the 3DMark Vantage test.
In our unscientific battery life test, where we do some office editing and web browsing, including some YouTube, We managed to squeeze 3 hours and 5 minutes while surfing over Wireless LAN and brightness set to 50 percent. This is surprising since the unit comes with 4400mAh 48Wh battery. The main reason behind these runtimes is the Nvidia Optimus technology which tuns off the discrete GPU when it is not required. It took us ~2 hours to fully charge a fully drained battery.
The one we received for review came with FreeDOS operating system. So, to do anything useful, you will have install Windows 7 yourself (whose drivers are included on the DVD). Selling a notebook without a pre-installed OS does brings the retail price to 500 dollar mark. Imagine, with that price tag, you are even enjoying the amazing Optimus technology and discrete GPU as well. Performance is top notch; build quality is decent – just how can you go wrong with Lenovo B560? I would get it, without a blink.
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