Lenovo 3000 V200 Review

by Reads (154,419)

by Jerry Jackson

The Lenovo V200 replaces the V100 as the top-of-the-line model in the Lenovo 3000 series of budget-priced ultraportables. The 12.1-inch widescreen isn’t as thin and light as competing ultraportable notebooks, but with a built-in optical drive, 1.3 megapixel web camera and a price of $1,199 the V200 is an attractive solution for some people.

The V200 specs as reviewed:

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 (2.0GHz, 4MB, 800MHz)
  • Operating System: Windows Vista Business 32
  • Display/resolution: 12.1" widescreen WXGA VibrantView (1280×800)
  • Video/graphics: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 (up to 256MB)
  • 120GB Hitachi Hard Drive @5400rpm
  • Memory: 2GB PC2-5300/667MHz
  • Optical drive: Dual Layer DVD Recordable
  • Camera: 1.3 megapixel integrated camera
  • Modem, 10/100 Ethernet, Lenovo 11b/g Wireless LAN, Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG, Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN, Bluetooth
  • Integrated fingerprint reader
  • Weight: 4.4 lbs with six-cell battery
  • Dimensions: (12" x 8.9" x 1.3")
  • Ports: Three USB 2.0, IEEE 1394 (4pin), VGA, 5-in-1 card reader, ExpressCard


The Lenovo 3000 V200 (view large image) 

Build & Design

Anyone familiar with Lenovo’s V series will instantly recognize the V200 looks like a carbon copy of the V100. The back of the notebook is curved but you are greeted with traditional-looking straight lines and surfaces as soon as you open the notebook. The color is the same all silver outside and black inside of the V100.  


Top view of the V200 with larger 6-cell battery (view large image)

Overall the look is quite plain and isn’t likely to excite buyers as much as the latest generation of light and thin business notebooks. That said, looks may not be everything since Lenovo intends to sell this to small business consumers.

The casing is made of a sturdy plastic. The build is durable with a slight amount of flex on the right palm rest if you push hard, but nothing that will sink under the light downward pressure from your palms. The lid provides adequate protection, but the LCD is quick to show ripples if you push in on the back side of the lid. Resist the urge to stand on it and you should be okay.


The traditional looks of the V200 have a certain beauty (view large image)

Weight may prove to be the Achilles heel of the V200. Most people classify an ultraportable notebook as weighing less than 4lbs. With the 6-cell battery the V200 tips the scales at 4.4 lbs. The V200 is also considerably thicker than most ultraportables on the market. Of course, you get a built-in optical drive, video camera, fingerprint reader, and a low price, so people on a budget might be willing to carry this notebook.

Screen

The V200 sports a widescreen XGA display with a glossy screen finish. While the glossy screen finish provides richer, deeper colors and a better media viewing experience, the strong reflections on the screen from overhead lights (common to office settings) can be very frustrating.


The V200’s nice widescreen XGA display with glossy finish (view large image)

Overall, the V200 display (like the V100 display) is very good. It’s not as bright as some competing 12.1" notebooks, so that might be an issue for some. The vertical viewing angles are quite poor but the horizontal viewing angles are quite good. There is no visible light leakage around the screen.

Speakers

The V200 speakers, located at the very front of the notebook, aren’t the worst notebook speakers … but they aren’t the best. Loudness and clarity are both good, but when the volume is increased it sounds like you’re listening to music inside a tin can. There is also little or no bass response. If you plan to listen to your MP3 collection or watch a DVD you’ll want headphones or a good set of external speakers to plug into the headphone port on the left hand side.

Performance and Benchmarks

Thanks to the Intel Santa Rosa Core 2 Duo processor platform the V200 is a remarkably capable performer. While our review unit came with the 2.0GHz T7300 version of the processor, the 2.2GHz T7500 processor is also available for the V200. This level of performance is impressive for a budget business notebook. The 2GB of RAM on board allowed Windows Vista Business to run trouble free without any lag. The Intel X3100 integrated graphics processor isn’t particularly powerful, but provides more than enough power for a business machine. The Windows Vista Index score for the V200 was a respectable 3.4 overall. The lowest score was a 3.4 for graphics (not bad) and the processor scored a solid 4.9:


(view large image)

        
Super Pi Comparison Results

Notebook Time
Lenovo 3000 V200 (Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0GHz) 0m 59s
HP dv2500t (1.80GHz Intel 7100) 1m 09s
Lenovo ThinkPad T61 (2.00GHz Core 2 Duo Intel T7300) 0m 59s
Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.00GHz Core 2 Duo T7200) 1m 03s
Toshiba Satellite P205-S6287 (1.73 GHz Core 2 Duo Intel T5300) 1m 24s
Toshiba Satellite A205 (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo) 1m 34s
HP Compaq 6515b (1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-52) 2m 05s
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T2400) 0m 59s
Dell Inspiron e1705 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo) 1m 02s
Samsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo) 1m
29s

 

PCMark05 System Results

PCMark05 was also run with the default settings:

Notebook PCMark05 Score
Lenovo 3000 V200 (Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0GHz, Intel X3100) 3,987 PCMarks
Lenovo T60 Widescreen (2.0 GHz Intel T7200, ATI X1400 128MB) 4,189 PCMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 4,234 PCMarks
Fujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400) 3,487 PCMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60, Nvidia Go 7800GTX) 5,597 PCMarks
Sony Vaio SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400) 3,637 PCMarks
Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400, Nvidia Go 7400) 3,646 PCMarks
Sony VAIO FE590 (1.83GHz Core Duo) 3,427 PCMarks

 

The V200 might not be intended for gaming, but we ran 3DMark06 on the machine and found that it actually holds its own and compares with last generation low-end dedicated graphics solutions. The V200 came away with a 3DMark05 score of 908 for those interested in less intense benchmarking.

3DMark06 Comparison results

Notebook 3DMark06 Score
Lenovo 3000 V200 (Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0GHz, Intel X3100 Graphics) 548 3DMarks
HP dv2500t (1.80GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel X3100 Graphics) 541 3DMarks
Samsung R20 (1.73GHz T2250 and ATI 1250M chipset / GPU) 476 3DMarks
Samsung Q35 (1.83GHz Core 2 Duo T5600, Intel 945GM) 106 3DMarks
Samsung X60plus (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, ATI X1700 256MB) 1,831 3DMarks
Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Xi 1526 (1.66 Core Duo, nVidia 7600Go 256 MB) 2,144 3DMarks
Asus A6J (1.83GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB) 1,819 3DMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 827 3DMarks

Heat and Noise

The V200 remained remarkably quiet even during benchmark testing. The fan is generally silent, which is a good thing since the fan is usually running at least on low regardless of the room temperature or the CPU usage. CPU temperatures stayed in the 40-degrees Celsius range … with some odd spikes into the 50s when the built-in camera was in use.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard on the V200 is a genuine joy to use. Every key is responsive with minimal travel and the entire keyboard has little (if any) flex. If all notebook keyboards were this well built no one would ever use an external USB keyboard. There is also a “Lenovo Care” button (essentially a quick help guide) and media buttons next to the power button. The only complaint I have with the keyboard is that the LED indicators are too dim. I couldn’t tell when the caps lock or num lock were on or off unless I was sitting in the dark.


Power button, "Lenovo Care" button, and media buttons (view large image)

 


Touchpad, buttons, and fingerprint reader (view large image)

The touchpad isn’t bad, but it isn’t as responsive or smooth as touchpads found on many other notebooks. The scroll area on the right side of the touchpad didn’t always work. The touchpad buttons provide solid feedback, but feel like they have a strong spring mounted behind them.

Input and Output Ports

The V200 offers a nice selection of ports, let’s take a tour around the notebook to see what this notebook has to offer:

On the front side you simply have the two front located speakers and some indicator lights on the left side:


Front side view of the V200 (view large image)

On the back side of the V200 you can see the battery in the middle, and on the far back right is a USB port:


Lenovo V200 back side (view large image)

On the V200 left side you have a security lock towards the back, fan and vent, USB 2.0 port, VGA monitor out, ExpressCard 54 slot (ExpressCard 34 compatible), a headphone and microphone jack and then a FireWire IEEE 1394 port:


Left side view of V200 (view large image)

On the right side of the V200 we have the power adapter jack at the back, the modem and ethernet port, optical drive which has a 5-in-1 media card reader and wi-fi on/off switch above it


Right side view of V200 (view large image)

The bottom of the V200 obviously doesn’t feature any ports, but it does provide access to RAM upgrades.


Bottom view of V200 (view large image)

Battery

The V200 I’ve been using has the 6-cell longer life battery. The standard 3-cell battery rests flush against the back of the V200 but the 6-cell battery sticks out of the back as you can see from pictures in this review. I unplugged the V200 at 100 percent charge and then set the screen brightness level to half on the V200. I ran number of applications, surfed the web, transferred files and then let it simply idle as the battery drained down. After three hours and 18 minutes the battery died. Not bad for a budget business book. You could squeeze more battery life out by lowering screen brightness. In any case, the 6-cell battery is a must have item, the 3-cell simply won’t provide enough juice for serious use.

Conclusion

Lenovo managed to produce a worthy upgrade to the V100 with the V200. While this budget-priced ultraportable is a little large compared to other notebooks in its class, the combination of features, performance and overall build quality make the V200 worth considering.

Pros

  • Solid performance thanks to Santa Rosa processor
  • Excellent keyboard
  • Runs very quiet and cool
  • Optional web camera provides excellent image quality
  • Integrated optical drive in a 12.1" form factor for a cheap price
  • Built-in media card reader and fingerprint reader are nice extras

Cons

  • Design is thick and “old fashioned” compared to competing 12.1" notebooks
  • Touchpad is poor and buttons are springy
  • Not as rugged or well built as the Lenovo ThinkPad X series notebooks
  • Tipping the scales at 4.4 lbs and with a thickness of 1.3" this “ultraportable” is a brick compared to the latest generation of thin and light notebooks.


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