Low-cost business notebooks don’t really get much less expensive than the Lenovo B50-30. Lenovo has designed this laptop for low intensity tasks, so we expected it to arrive with a budget price – but we didn’t expect it to cost just £199 (about $334, AU$360). That makes it one of the most affordable notebooks that have been reviewed. That eye-catching price undercuts every rival. We thought the Toshiba Satellite C50 was cheap, but it costs £240 (about $403, AU$435), and HP’s Pavilion Touch Smart 15-n070sa costs a comparatively stratospheric £350 (about $589, AU$634). The Lenovo doesn’t look like such an affordable portable. The matte plastic exterior is subtle and the metal-effect logo along with the green dotted power button looks smart. It’s plain, but it’s not at all nasty.
The B50 trades blows with rivals in terms of its dimensions, to the 2.15kg weight (about 4.7 pounds) is less than both competitors, and the B50’s 25mm-thick (about 0.98 inches) body sits between the thinner HP and chunkier Toshiba. It’s thin and light enough to carry day-to-day, although we’d always use a protective sleeve – the plastic looks smart, but it’s flimsier than the HP and Toshiba laptops.
Specifications: The Lenovo B50-30 is powered by Intel’s 2.16/2.41GHz dual core Celeron N2830 processor and is supported by 4GB of RAM which is expandable to a maximum of 8GB. It is not at all an especially speedy combination, and we noticed pauses for applications to pen and websites to resolve during the review period.
Build quality is very solid as far as the chassis is concerned and if the user is not minding lugging 2.15kg or 2.3kg with the optional optical drive this notebook is expected to survive in transit without even having a protective case. The Keyboard is another matter to be discussed; as a light touch typist, it is very comfortable to use. The keyboard layout is rather good. The 38cm by 26.2cm by 2.47cm chassis means there is some space for a slightly reduced size number pad and a long row above the number keys that comprises no fewer than 20 keys.
Impressive ergonomics: Despite the low price, Lenovo has included a good keyboard. It’s a Scrabble-tile unit with a number pad and a sensible layout, and it’s comfortable to use – the keys have good travel, and their action is responsive and soft. It’s as good as anything else we’ve typed on at this price, including the Toshiba.
The track pad is reasonable. It’s a little larger than the Toshiba’s effort, and the buttons require light touches and little pressure to use. More expensive laptops have better ergonomics than the Lenovo – we’d prefer a snappier typing action and firmer buttons – but there’s enough quality here to get work and web browsing done without difficulty. The sub-£200 Lenovo is powered by an Intel Celeron N2830, which uses the same Bay Trail architecture that’s included in modern Atom chips. Its two cores are clocked between 2.16GHz and 2.41GHz, and the chip has a basic Intel HD Graphics core that runs at a top speed of 750MHz.