LG S510 Review

by Kevin O'Brien Reads (19,166)

by Kevin O’Brien

The LG S510 is a desktop replacement notebook that blends high-end performance with sleek professional looks. With a sleek brushed aluminum look the S510 works for any occasion, including work or play. Check out our review to find out what we think about this notebook, and if it deserves a spot on your 2009 purchase list.

LG S510 Specifications:

  • Windows Vista Business (SP1, 32-bit)
  • Intel Core 2 Duo processor P7350 (2GHz, 3MB L2 Cache, 1066MHz FSB)
  • 15.4″ WXGA Matte Widescreen LED-Backlit Display (1280 x 800)
  • 4GB DDR3 System Memory (2 x 2GB, supports up to 4GB)
  • Intel X4500 Integrated Graphics
  • 250GB 5400RPM Fujitsu SATA Hard Drive
  • Dual Layer CD/DVD Recordable
  • 2.0  megapixel integrated camera
  • 1Gb Ethernet, Intel 5100AGN, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
  • Weight: 5.64lbs
  • Dimensions: 357.0 x 270.0 x 32.1 ~ 37.8 mm (14.05 x 10.62 x 1.26-1.48”)
  • Warranty: 3-year limited, 1-year international
  • 6-cell 11.25V 5400mAh 58.5Wh battery
  • Price as configured: $1,316 CAD

Build and Design

The LG S510 has a sleek exterior with a brushed aluminum appearance for the screen cover. The finish isn’t actually aluminum but a painted texture which gives a similar look. From my experience with notebooks that have brushed aluminum finishes, I would almost go with the fake look over the real deal just to prevent small dents from mild day-to-day abuse. Inside the material turns to textured grey plastic which gives a good grip surface for carrying the notebook around … but not the best appearance when compared to other new notebooks. The color scheme is very consistent around the body giving it the more “professional” appearance compared to the standard flashy consumer notebook.

Build quality feels good from a durability standpoint, but the plastics used throughout the design could be more rigid. The palmrest has more flex than I would like to see on a business notebook, and the screen cover has enough give that allows strong finger taps to distort the edges of the LCD panel. Moving past specific areas of the notebook, the body as a whole feels very sturdy. While carrying around the notebook by the palmrest with the screen open, the body resists flexing, and feels strong. The display hinges feel durable, and since the design doesn’t include release clips, they snap the lid shut when closed.

Display

The display on our review unit could be best described as average, but leaning towards the side that really needs improving. The screen looks washed out with the low contrast and matte texture. Default settings make black text look light gray, with only a bit of improvement when you tweak the brightness under the Intel display adapter setting. The only benefit to this panel is it is very bright and–combined with the less reflective matte surface–it is visible outdoors. Indoors my comfortable viewing brightness was between 60% and 75% depending on how bright the lights were in the room. Viewing angles were less than what we expect for a business notebook. Horizontal viewing angles were decent, only dimming with steeper angles while colors remained relatively true. Vertical viewing angles were not as nice, with colors quickly inverting or washing out at steeper angles. Higher configurations of this notebook appear to include a different panel, so results may vary on more expensive models.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The LG S510 sports a fullsize keyboard with number pad, using all available space that some manufacturers use for speakers or wide borders. The keyboard feels great with a solid platform that doesn’t flex under hard typing. Very little pressure is needed to trigger each key meaning less wrist stress after long typing sessions. Key noise is minimal with a soft “click” when pressed. The keys have a rougher matte texture which helps to increase traction and minimize mistyping even if your fingers get sweaty. The keyboard layout on this notebook was slightly different than what we usually find on most American market notebooks, with the “Enter” key shape being the most different. It took some time getting used to the shape since it wasn’t as wide as the style on my ThinkPad and other notebooks and caused me to frequently hit the “\” key instead of return.

The Synaptics touchpad worked very well with no lag, even under fast movement. Sensitivity was excellent with the default settings and the matte texture on the touchpad made it easy to skim your finger across the surface. The touchpad buttons located directly beneath were easy to trigger, with only a light press needed. Feedback was minimal, with a very short throw when clicked. The fingerprint reader was located between the touchpad buttons, and was recessed just enough to prevent accidental triggering, but still easy to swipe your finger over it.

Performance

System performance with the Intel Core 2 Duo P7350 processor and Intel X4500 integrated graphics was slightly below average when compared to other business notebooks of this size. This was caused by the budget oriented configuration we received. LG has versions with the Intel T9600 and NVIDIA 9600M GT graphics card for users who need more kick in their daily activities.

For day-to-day use the system kept up without much lag. Mild gaming was out of the question with the Intel X4500 graphics, but it should be more than capable if you purchase a faster configuration. For the business types who enjoy watching movies, the LG S510 easily handled 720p and 1080p content playing off the hard drive. Combined with the HDMI output which supported digital audio out, it was the central hub for my home theater system for a few nights.

WPrime is a benchmark similar to Super Pi in that it forces the processor to do intense mathematical calculations, but the difference is this application is multi-threaded and represents dual core processors better. Lower numbers indicate better performance.

Notebook / CPU wPrime 32M time
LG S510 (Core 2 Duo P7350 @ 2.0GHz) 37.720s
Fujitsu LifeBook A1110 (Core 2 Duo P7350 @ 2.0GHz) 38.313s
Lenovo IdeaPad Y530 (Core 2 Duo P7350 @ 2.0GHz) 38.455s
HP Pavilion dv4t (Core 2 Duo T9600 @ 2.8GHz) 26.972s
Dell Studio 15 (Core 2 Duo T5750 @ 2.0GHz)
41.246s
HP Pavilion dv5z (Turion X2 Ultra ZM-80 @ 2.1GHz)
39.745s
Dell Vostro 1510 (Core 2 Duo T5670 @ 1.8GHz) 51.875s
Dell Inspiron 1525 (Core 2 Duo T7250 @ 2.0GHz) 43.569s
Dell XPS M1530 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz)
37.485s
HP Pavilion dv6500z (Turion 64 X2 TL-60 @ 2.0GHz) 40.759s
Sony VAIO NR (Core 2 Duo T5250 @ 1.5GHz) 58.233s
Toshiba Tecra A9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 38.343s
Toshiba Tecra M9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 37.299s
HP Compaq 6910p (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz) 40.965s
Lenovo T61 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 37.705s
HP Pavilion dv6000z (Turion X2 TL-60 @ 2.0GHz) 38.720s

 

PCMark05 measures overall notebook performance based on processor, hard drive, operating system, RAM, and graphics (higher scores are better):

Notebook PCMark05 Score
LG S510 (2.0GHz Intel P7350, Intel X4500)
4,672 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook A1110 (2.0GHz Intel P7350, Intel X4500) 4,281 PCMarks
Lenovo IdeaPad Y530 (2.0GHz Intel P7350, Nvidia 9300M 256MB) 4,844 PCMarks
HP Pavilion dv4t (2.8GHz Intel T9600, Nvidia 9200M GS 256MB) 5,463 PCMarks
Dell Studio 15 (2.0GHz Intel T5750, Intel X3100)
3,998 PCMarks
HP Pavilion dv5z (2.1GHz Turion X2 Ultra ZM-80, ATI Radeon HD 3200)
3,994 PCMarks
Dell Vostro 1510 (1.8GHz Intel T5670, Intel X3100) 3,568 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1525 (2.0GHz Intel T7250, Intel X3100) 4,149 PCMarks
Dell XPS M1530 (2.20GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB) 5,412 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA 8600M GT) 4,616 PCMarks
Sony VAIO NR (1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250, Intel X3100)  3,283 PCMarks 
Lenovo T60 Widescreen (2.0GHz Intel T7200, ATI X1400 128MB) 4,189 PCMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 4,234 PCMarks


3DMark06 comparison results for graphics performance (higher scores are better):

Notebook 3DMark06 Score
LG S510 (2.0GHz Intel P7350, Intel X4500) 949 3DMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook A1110 (2.0GHz Intel P7350, Intel X4500) 979 3DMarks
Lenovo IdeaPad Y530 (2.0GHz Intel P7350, Nvidia 9300M 256MB) 1,833 3DMarks
HP Pavilion dv4t (2.8GHz Intel T9600, Nvidia 9200M GS 256MB) 1,741 3DMarks
Dell Studio 15 (2.0GHz Intel T5750, Intel X3100) 493 3DMarks
HP Pavilion dv5z (2.1GHz Turion X2 Ultra ZM-80, ATI Radeon HD 3200)   1,599 3DMarks
Dell Vostro 1510 (1.8GHz Intel T5670, Intel X3100) 519 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1525 (2.0GHz Intel T7250, Intel X3100) 545 3DMarks
HP Pavilion dv6500z (2.0GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60, NVIDIA 8400m GS)  1,551 3DMarks
Sony VAIO NR (1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250, Intel X3100) 504 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1530 (2.20GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB) 4,332 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA 8600M GT) 2,905 3DMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 827 3DMarks

 

All of the 3DMark06 scores for all of the systems listed above were run at 1280 x 800 or 1280 x 768 resolution. We also ran PCMark Vantage on the LG S510 and obtained a score of 3,110.

HDTune results:

 

Speakers and Audio

Speaker placement was not the best; pointing directly into your lap on the front edge of the notebook. With the S510 resting on your legs, the speakers would be muffled at times if you had baggy clothes that covered the grills. Speaker performance was average for a business notebook, with poor bass and midrange, but loud enough to handle small presentations. For watching a movie on a flight or listening to music they were fine, but headphones were a huge step up.

Ports and Features

Port section was great for a base configuration, offering VGA, HDMI, eSATA, LAN, three USB ports, and a docking connector. Firewire was missing, but with eSATA included (which is much faster), it won’t be missed. The S510 also included a multi-card reader and ExpressCard/34 slot. The multi-card slot is spring loaded and flush mounted for those who might keep an SDHC card inserted most of the time for additional removable storage.


Front: Activity lights


Rear: AC Power


Left: Kensington lock slot, Expansion connector, LAN, VGA, HDMI, eSata/USB combo port, SD multi-card slot, ExpressCard/34


Right: Volume control, Headphone/Mic, 1x USB, Optical Drive, 1x USB

Heat and Noise

Heat output and fan noise were minimal, which was expected given the base configuration with integrated graphics. Even under load the system only warmed up slightly from its resting temperature after more than a day of use. Since we did not have a chance to test a model with a more powerful processor and the NVIDIA graphics, it is hard to say if that would run much hotter or louder.

Battery Life

Battery life with the 6-cell battery was average for a 15.4″ notebook. With the screen brightness set to 60%, wireless active, and Vista set to the “Balanced” profile the LG S510 managed 4 hours exactly before the system went into standby mode with 5% remaining. LG doesn’t appear to offer a 9-cell battery option at this time, but the rear-mount position would allow for an extended battery to stick out the back.

Conclusion

The LG S510 ranks well in the prosumer notebook segment; above consumer notebooks but right below full business machines. Build quality overall was good with only a few areas that could see improvement. The design was nice with a basic color scheme and few flashy elements that make it blend in well with a business environment. Performance likely would have been better if our review sample had a better configuration, but the budget model we received still provided solid general performance. Overall the LG S510 is a good option to consider compared to small-business models like the Dell Vostro line. Currently LG doesn’t offer notebooks for sale inside the United States, which we really hope changes in the near future.

Pros:

  • Good looking design
  • Solid keyboard
  • Nice port selection with docking connector
  • Very cool and quiet

Cons:

  • Very pricey compared to competition
  • Lackluster screen with poor contrast
  • Some of the plastics used feel cheap and flexible


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