Reality check on possible notebook purchase, Lenovo Idea Pad Z710
March 23, 2014 7:28 PM   Subscribe

The machine is here, on sale till Wednesday, weekly sale priced at 769.00.

Me. I think I am a fairly heavy web surfer. I don't really know much about the details of the tech though, partly because I keep my computers for what I gather is considered a long time, three machines since 1999. Using cheapo version of Vista currently on a overwhelmed Acer Aspire 5310 with a 15" screen. ( Walmart special). I don't know if this normal or not but it is not unusual for me to have thirty five plus windows open with an average of four or five tabs, some windows have many more tabs. I hoard windows and tabs. Presently I start the machine with the ethernet cable unplugged, load firefox and windows/tabs and then selectively open the unconnected window/tabs so as to not overwhelm the old Acer. I can pretty much forget about video... I would like to be able to stream video though and with 3.5 mb of download speed I should not have a problem, right? I have never been into gaming and don't see my self starting.

I probably would just buy whatever was in my price range recommended by consumersearch or wirecutter but I don't see any reviews there of laptops with 17" screens, I have my heart set on a larger screen. I almost never take my computer out of the house and really almost never take it away from the normal "computer area". So probably I should just get a desk top, but I have never owned one and can't convince my self to go in that direction. Additionally there is limited floor space in the area that is used for the computer so fitting in a tower, while possible, will just add to the clutter and does not appeal.

So I have found the above linked Idea Pad Z710 on weekly special. Of the few reviews I have been able to find for the Z710 series the main knock is that they usually come with sub standard screens and the battery life is terrible. I don't really care about the battery life as I will use this machine at the desk 99% of the time. I think the linked model has a better screen then usual too. I think I read somewhere that the Z710s had a hybrid hd with 8g of ssd and the rest hdd, but it looks to me like this set up does not have that configuration(?)
Link to the full list of Z710 machines on sale this week.

TL:DR Am I missing something in the specs for this computer that puts up red flags? Is the price fair or good? Is the screen better then ok, just ok, or bad. Does this configuration of the Z710 have enough capacity to stay usable for 3, 4, 5 years?
posted by flummox to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
What about an all-in-one? You'd get a larger screen and wouldn't be as ergonomically compromised as with a laptop, but the footprint wouldn't be much larger, nor the setup much more complicated (especially if you grab a wireless mouse and keyboard, now reliable and inexpensive items).

Unfortunately Lenovo has totally broken their website for the iPad, so I can't look at the linked machine directly, but the specs for the $750ish machines looked quite good (though I might spring for 16 GB of RAM if I was keeping that many browser windows open).

Be ready for the Windows 8 hate that is coming. I find it pretty good for laptop use, but a lot of people despise it, and strongly recommend Windows 7.
posted by wotsac at 7:57 PM on March 23, 2014

FYI, Lenovo does these sales all. the. time. I was looking at this same model a few weeks ago and the sale is similar... They just gave it a new name! No need to rush your decision.
posted by stripesandplaid at 8:53 PM on March 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

That configuration is nice for the price and your usage but given that you're basically buying a desktop you should just suck it up and get a desktop. I won't say you'll save money, but you could get a 23" screen. You could even shell out and get two. And you could get twice as much RAM (given your usage description, you'll thank me later).
posted by anaelith at 5:54 AM on March 24, 2014

Newegg sells a 22" all in one Asus with a decent desktop grade CPU, 8GB ram and a touch screen for $50 less than that laptop. You'll need to buy a keyboard and a mouse so let's call it even. You'll end up with a machine that has better hardware and better ergonomics than that laptop. Since you say you keep your computers for a long time, this one will take longer to become obsolete.
posted by Poldo at 7:45 AM on March 24, 2014

Lenovo has an outlet site, worth a look. You could buy a more portable laptop, and get a big desktop monitor for when you're not portable. Or use the HDMI port to connect a laptop to your tv. I use my computer on my lap, on the couch, so returning to a desktop is unlikely. A 17" screen laptop would be pretty unwieldy.
posted by theora55 at 11:11 AM on March 24, 2014

I'd get a smaller laptop and an external monitor, keyboard and mouse. Then you get the best of both worlds.

Any modern laptop will handle your needs just fine.
posted by cnc at 11:15 AM on March 24, 2014

The i7 is a bit much for web surfing and you'll get a better price on an i5. ( See here for a comparison of the i5-4200M vs. the i7-4700MQ.

If you're set on a lenovo the G710 would be a better deal. But it doesn't come with Windows 8.1 so you'd have to upgrade that yourself (it's free). And it only has the HD+ (1600x900) display instead of the FHD (1920x1080) that the Z710 offers.

There isn't much you can do to future proof a computer purchase. But any of these (or really any current laptop) should be usable for several years to come.
posted by zinon at 12:49 PM on March 25, 2014

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