What's hot: Powerful enough for productivity and movie watching, great keyboard and affordable price.
What's not: Front cover shows lots of fingerprints and hand grease, viewing angles are very limited from right and bottom.
Reviewed August 23, 2011 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
The Lenovo IdeaPad Z Series laptops are affordable models aimed at students who need a laptop for schoolwork, web surfing and movie watching. You can get the IdeaPad Z series in 13.3", 14" and 15.6" models and the series starting price is only $579. The 13" IdeaPad Z370 starts at $599 with a second gen Intel Core i3 processor and integrated graphics. You can upgrade the CPU to Intel Core i5-2520M 2.50GHz with NVIDIA GeForce 410M dedicated graphics with 1 GB VRAM for $899. We picked the middle spec'd 13.3" model, the IdeaPad Z370 - 1025 22U with the second gen Intel Core i5-2410M 2.30GHz CPU, integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 and 4GB RAM. There is a Z370 - 1025 25U model in Lenovo's line up, and it has the same specs as the 22U, but the 25U comes in Blue instead of Charcoal Brown. The IdeaPad Z370 has a 13.3" gloss display (ours was made by LG), a dual layer DVD recordable optical drive, a 500GB Hitachi hard drive and a 6-cell lithium Ion battery. The notebook comes with WiFi 802.11 BGN and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR as well as a 2 megapixel web cam.
Lenovo redesigned the IdeaPad Z Series both inside and outside the lid. The Z370 comes in a unique dark brown metallic pyramid pattern hiding under a transparent finish. The notebook looks dark brown in low light, but in sunlight the laptop cover shows the hidden pattern, giving the design an interesting twist. The notebook cover is shiny and shows fingerprints and hand grease very clearly. Lenovo also offers the IdeaPad Z370 in blue and pink, though the pink version isn't available in the U.S. or Canada. The Lenovo IdeaPad Z370 has a 13.3" backlit LED display, and the gloss screen has a 1366 x 768 resolution in 16:9 ratio. That's the same screen resolution as the 15.6" IdeaPad Y570 but lower resolution than the new MacBook Air 13" which has 1440 x 900 resolution. The display on the IdeaPad Z370 has wide viewing angles from top and left, but very limited viewing angles from the bottom and right. The screen looks bright with balanced colors.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Z370 has the same metallic pinkish keyboard plate on the inside as the one we've seen on the higher-end IdeaPad Y570. The smooth plate has a very nice modern look and sets a perfect backdrop for the curved chiclet style keyboard, the multi-touch touchpad and stereo speakers. The rounded keys on the Z370 look similar to the ones on the IdeaPad Y570, but somehow the keyboard on the Z370 is a lot more comfortable to use. The keys have very good travel and typing feels very natural. The keyboard doesn't have backlight however. The IdeaPad Z370 has SRS Premium Surround Sound enhancements, though the stereo speakers aren't JBL speakers that are found on higher-end Lenovo notebooks. Sound is loud and reasonably full for music and movie playback.
The multi-touch trackpad is slightly off the center to the left, and it's big enough for comfortable use. A mouse button rocker lives below the trackpad, and though flat, it's clicky with auditory feedback when you press them. The Z370 comes with one-touch buttons for audio volume, thermal management settings and Lenovo's OneKey Theater II, a visual and audio setting for AV playback. The IdeaPad also comes with a 2 megapixel front camera for video chat. The notebook weighs about 4.41 lbs.
Deals and Shopping:
The Lenovo IdeaPad Z370 has a good number of ports including 3 USB 2.0 ports (one of which is a USB/eSATA combo), a 5-in-1 SD card reader (SD, SD-pro, MMC, MS-pro and XD), headphone jack, mic jack, VGA, HDMI, and an RJ-45 Ethernet port. The 6-cell battery goes on the back of the laptop.
Hardware and Performance
The Lenovo IdeaPad Z370 1025 22U runs on an Intel Core i5-2410M dual core CPU at 2.3GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 and 3MB cache. The system comes with two 2GB DDR3 memory and it has two memory slots supporting up to 8GB memory (the RAM slots are under a door on the laptop's bottom). The IdeaPad has integrated Intel HD graphics 3000. The IdeaPad Z370 comes with a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive, and a dual layer DVD Recordable optical drive.
We put the Lenovo IdeaPad Z370 through PCmark Vantage tests as well as real life productivity tasks and movie playback. We provide benchmark numbers along with Windows Experience Index numbers below. We also provide PCMark Vantage numbers from the Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 with the same CPU but with NVIDIA dedicated graphics for comparison.
Lenovo IdeaPad Z370 (Intel Core i5-2410M at 2.3GHz):
PCMark Suite: 5719
Memories Suite: 3982
TV and Movies Suite: 4106
Gaming Suite: 4648
Music Suite: 6098
Communications Suite: 5863
Productivity Suite: 4983
HDD Test Suite: 3446
The Lenovo IdeaPad Z370 benchmarks well for movie playback, productivity and music playback. The system feels fast at playing multimedia, working on Microsoft Office documents, surfing the web and video conferencing. Hulu played at full fps and Crackle videos played at solid 30 fps, both in full screen mode in our tests. If you are looking to do your schoolwork, surf, chat and watch movies, the Lenovo IdeaPad Z370 is up to the task.
The IdeaPad Z370 1025 22U models have integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 that has speed and performance improvements over Intel's last gen integrated graphics. While it can't compete with the power of dedicated graphics, the Intel HD Graphics 3000 can certainly handle most casual games, RPG games and even some FPS games such as Left 4 Dead 2 at lower settings. If you plan on playing more demanding FPS games, Lenovo offers the Z370 1025 24U with NVIDIA GeForce 410M graphics and 1GB GDDR VRAM.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Z370 runs reasonably cool thanks to the large fan and effective copper heat sinks. After an hour of playing Hulu movies, the CPU temperature went up to only 46 degrees Celsius. Lenovo offers Thermal Management software where you can set the notebook to different thermal settings such as super silent, Efficient Thermal Dissipation, and more. In our tests, the notebook ran fine at the standard thermal setting, and the fan doesn't run constantly.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Z370 comes with Windows 7 Home Premium and a suite of Lenovo system tools and utilities for system backup, using the webcam and more. As with several other IdeaPad models, the Lenovo bundles CyberLink's YouCam 3.0 software that functions as your regular video chat software and can turn your webcam into a video surveillance recorder. There is also ooVoo for video chats, and VeriFace 4.0 for secure sign-in using your face. Other tools from Lenovo include OneKey Rescue for system back-ups, recovery and recovery disc creation, Energy Management Software 6.0 and Lenovo's OneKey Theater II audio-visual optimization tool. CyberLink Power2Go 5 is included for making DVDs and MS Office Starter 2010 is also on the system. For security, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 comes with McAfee VirusScan Plus.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Z370 also comes with a boot optimizer and will tweak the system to boot up faster after you run it. Our tests showed 10 to 15-second improvement in boot up time after the system ran the optimizer.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Z370 comes with a 6-cell 48Wh battery that's 4400mAh in capacity, and a small and slim AC charger. The laptop has an average of 4 hours of battery run time for mixed tasks including checking email, surfing the web, working on Office documents and playing music. When playing movies on Crackle.com at the default energy setting except with screen turned to 90% brightness, the battery lasted for 2.5 hours. Playing Hulu under the same conditions, the notebook lasted for over 2.5 hours. The IdeaPad Z370 has a very slim AC charger that's 100-240V with 20V 3.25A output.
If you like the Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 but it's a bit too expensive or you don't need that much graphics power, then the IdeaPad Z370 is worth a look. It's equally capable for schoolwork, MS Office work, as well as playing music and movies. The only thing that it's not suited to is playing highly demanding 3D games like first person shooters. The system isn't thin, but it's small enough to fit easily in a backpack along with your other gear. The second gen Intel Core i5 processor is a good option for this notebook and it comes with all the essential Lenovo software you will see on higher-end systems. The starting price is affordable, and additional options aren't that expensive either. The notebook looks good except that the cover that gets absolutely grimy with fingerprints, and the display viewing angles are limited if you look at the screen from right or bottom.
Pro: Powerful enough for productivity and movie watching, great keyboard and affordable price.
Con: Front cover shows lots of fingerprints and hand grease, viewing angles are very limited from right and bottom.
Price: starts $629 as configured for this review; $599 starting price.
Display:13.3", 1366 x 768 LED backlit display. Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics. HDMI and VGA ports.
Battery:6-cell 48Wh battery, 4400mAh. Power supply: 100-240V, 20V 3.25A.
Performance:Top model with Intel Core i5-2410M at 2.20GHz, 6MB L3 cache, 1333 MHz FSB. 6GB PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz memory, 8 gigs max. Two main memory slots, both may be occupied. 500GB hard drive, 5400rpm. Tray-in dual layer DVD recordable drive.
Size:13.58 x 8.74 x 0.78/1.29 inches. Weight: starts at 4.41 pounds.
Camera:2MP webcam with integrated mic.
Audio:Stereo speakers with SRS Premium Surround Sound.
Networking:10/100/1000 Ethernet, WiFi 802.11a/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR.
Software:Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. Microsoft Office Starter 2010 included, also Microsoft Silverlight preinstalled. Lenovo ReadyComm 5.0, OneKey Rescue system 7.0, Energy Management Software 6.0, OneKey Theater II, and Windows Live Essentials, Adobe Reader 9.0. Cyberlink Power2Go 5, Cyberlink YouCam 3.0, VeriFace 3.6, McAfee VirusScan Plus.
Expansion and Ports:3 USB 2.0 with 1 USB eSATA Combo, VGA, Ethernet RJ45, mic input and headphone combo port, multimedia reader and HDMI.