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Despite its $423 price, the Lenovo IdeaPad 320 isn’t an excellent value. This notebook includes a low-resolution screen which has no business being in a 15-inch chassis, a disappointingly short battery life and a weak 7th-Gen Core i3 processor. Sure, the IdeaPad 320 includes a comfortable keyboard and a respectable amount of ports, nevertheless, you can get a far greater notebook computer at a cheaper price.
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Price and Configuration Options
The IdeaPad 320 that I tested costs $423, and posseses an Intel Core i3-7100U processor, 4GB of RAM and a 1TB 5,400-rpm HDD.
Since Lenovo doesn’t sell the IdeaPad 320 on its site, it could be difficult to acquire different configurations; the only other 320 that I came across cost $329 and offered an AMD A12-9720P processor, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD.
So far as sub-$500 laptops go, the IdeaPad 320 looks fine. The only feature that calls focus on the lid may be the glossy Lenovo logo in the most notable left corner. The chassis comes with an awkward, two-tone design, with a silver top. This almost tricks you into convinced that its aluminum, as the darker gray underside highlights the cheapness of the plastic chassis.
The interior includes a silver faux-aluminum design that spans the complete deck. The keyboard sits on the deck without the dip or stylized accents to introduce it. The bezels are annoyingly thick, but that isn’t unusual for a budget laptop.
At 4.5 pounds and 14.9 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches, the IdeaPad 320 is slimmer and lighter compared to the Acer Aspire E 15 (5 pounds, 1.2 inches). Its 14-inch sub-$500 opponents – the Asus VivoBook Flip 14 (3.2 pounds, 0.6 inches) and Acer Swift 1 (2.9 pounds, 0.6 inches) – have smaller profiles.
The left side features the energy jack, an RJ45 port, an HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, a headphone jack, one USB Type-C port, and a 4-in-1 card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC).
The proper side offers a security lock slot and a DVD-RW drive.
Calling the IdeaPad 320’s 15.6-inch display unpleasant to check out is an understatement. There is no reason that the resolution ought to be 1366 x 768 on that large of a panel. The display can be disappointingly dim.
In the trailer for the universally beloved Sonic the Hedgehog trailer, Neal McDonough’s camo uniform and Jim Carrey’s black suit were both so dull that it appeared as if they ran their clothes through the washer one way too many times. When James Marsden broke in to the garage where he learned Sonic, the various tools that hung on the wall were difficult to create out. Marsden’s hair also might have been sharper.
According to your colorimeter, the IdeaPad’s panel covered 67% of the sRGB color gamut, falling short of the 77% mainstream notebook computer average. It isn’t surprising for the IdeaPad’s color reproduction to be that low, because the Aspire E 15 (62%), VivoBook Flip 14 (69%) and Swift 1 (66%) landed in the same range.
However, it had been disappointing to start to see the panel average at a dismal 194 nits of brightness, in particular when the category average is 246 nits. Even the Aspire E 15 (227 nits), VivoBook Flip 14 (221 nits) and Swift 1 (218 nits) broke at night 200-nit mark.
Keyboard and Touchpad
As the IdeaPad 320 makes some sacrifices because of its good deal, it retains Lenovo’s signature keyboard quality. These matte gray, shield-shaped keys were comfortably clicky to type on.
I hit 68 words each and every minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which is near my 70 wpm average. The keys traveled at 1.4 millimeters and required 68 of grams of force, which is consistent with our 1.5 to 2.0 mm safe place and 60g the least force.
The 4.1 x 2.8-inch touchpad is soft to touch and it responds well to Windows 10 gestures like two-finger scrolling and three-finger tab switching. However, it generally does not have Windows Precision drivers, which means you can’t switch off tap to click or any other touch feature.
Performance and Graphics
The IdeaPad 320’s Core i3-7100U processor with 4GB of RAM was only in a position to handle 15 Google Chrome tabs and a 1080p YouTube video before it started showing signs of slowdown. Even the Windows 10 search bar lagged when I attemptedto pull up these devices manager.
On the Geekbench 4 efficiency test, the IdeaPad 320 hit an unhealthy score of 5,314, which is practically half of the mainstream notebook average (9,001). There have been better scores from the Aspire E 15 (7,871; Core i3-8130U), the VivoBook Flip 14 (5,696; Core m3-7Y30) and the Swift 1 (5,527; Pentium Silver N5000).
The IdeaPad 320 took three minutes and 18 seconds to complement 65,000 names and addresses on our Excel test, which is a lot slower than both 2:22 category average and the Aspire E 15 (2:12). The 320 did, however, beat the VivoBook Flip 14 (3:35) and Swift 1 (3:34).
With an Intel HD 620 GPU, the IdeaPad 320 scored 51,856 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited graphics benchmark, falling behind the 61,665 mainstream notebook computer average. The VivoBook Flip 14’s Intel HD 615 GPU (51,586) and the Swift 1’s Intel UHD 605 GPU (32,238) weren’t as strong, however the Aspire E 15’s matching Intel UHD 620 GPU (63,817) performed above average.
In real life testing, the IdeaPad 320 actually hit 30 fps on the Dirt 3 benchmark, so that it is technically playable, though it couldn’t hit the 45-fps category average. The overall game wasn’t playable on the Swift 1 (20 fps), but we got a one extra frame out of your VivoBook Flip 14 (31 fps) and much more so from the Aspire E 15 (56 fps).
I’ve seen better battery life in laptops with an RTX 2070 GPU than I’ve on the IdeaPad. Following the 320 constantly surfed the net over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the battery lasted only 4 hours and 24 minutes, which is a lot more than 2 hours shorter compared to the mainstream notebook average (6:48). The VivoBook Flip 14 (7:23), Aspire E 15 (8:48) and Swift 1 (10:14) all had above-average battery life.
Lenovo’s 720p webcam actually isn’t bad. It captured my blue and green shirt decently well, although the colors were a lttle bit darker in the image. The areas around the ceiling lights were relatively visibly. Many webcams have completely beaten up the ceiling because of poor contrast. However, the stripes on my shirt were barely caught on camera, plus they blended together in the image.
The IdeaPad 320’s low power does include one silver lining: it stays cool. Following the notebook computer streamed a 15-minute 1080p video, the lower hit 83 degrees, which is well under our 95-degree comfort threshold. The guts of the keyboard and touchpad measured at 79 and 74 degrees, respectively.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 320 has two redeeming qualities: its clicky keyboard and its own vast collection of ports. However, between your IdeaPad 320’s poor battery life, middling performance and low-res display, it’s hard to recommend it.
For a cheaper $379, you can get the Acer Aspire E 15, which includes a better processor with extra RAM, more battery life and a brighter, 1080p display.
Considering that you can find far more out of cheaper laptops, we advise steering clear of the IdeaPad 320.