The Lenovo IdeaPad V470 is an ideal choice for users who want a budget-conscious notebook with both home and office features. It's equipped with a second-generation Intel dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM, Intel HD graphics, and an HDMI port. Keep reading to find out more about this notebook, including full specifications, an overview of its build quality, and more.
BUILD AND DESIGN
The first thing you'll probably notice about the V470 is that it's an extremely attractive-looking notebook. It has a clean, dual-color scheme of metallic gray and black, as well as a glossy screen bezel. The look appears business-casual and classy. And, at 4.8 pounds with a 14.0-inch screen and just over an inch thick, it's portable, too.
The display cover and palm rest consist of brushed aluminum while the base is made of hardened plastic. Hardly any flex was seen when we pressed down on the palm rests with considerable pressure; it's constructed very well. The display cover isn't constructed as well, though -- it's just too thin to be considered sturdy. I could break it easily if I tried. Ripples appear on the screen when both top corners are bent inward. The chassis is much more durable; it doesn't flex much at all. Overall, we would consider the V470 to have good build quality if the display cover was thicker and less worrisome.
The hard drive and memory can be swapped out from the bottom panel. To replace the hard drive, simply remove a few screws as well as the drive compartment. The memory can also be increased up to 8GB (dual-channel) as there are two SO-DIMM sockets. If desired, the mini PCI Express card and optical drive can also be removed.
PORTS AND FEATURES
The V470 has a great port selection; above average for its price range. Even though it doesn't have USB 3.0, it has a total of four USB 2.0 ports, along with a 6-in-1 memory card reader, VGA, HDMI, eSATA, separate headphone and mic jacks, and an optical drive with CD-RW/DVD-RW/DVD-Multi capabilities. The memory card reader is compatible with SD, SDHC, MMC, MS, MS Pro, and xD-Picture memory cards. The V470 also has a fingerprint reader to the right of the palm rest.
Screen and Speakers
The V470 has a 14-inch glossy 720p (1366 x 768 max. resolution) LED backlit display. At first glance, the display appears pretty average, but it's actually not so bad. It does have a low resolution, but the contrast ratio is above average at 490:1 and the colors don't appear washed out as per usual for business notebooks. The brightness is a bit uneven, though. We took luminance readings of 117 nits in some places and 155 nits in other places.
Viewing angles are on the narrow side. When the screen is tilted backward or forward, images begin distorting at 5 degrees in either direction, but they're much better vertically and will be good for viewing until about 40 degrees off center. Another thing worth noting is that the glossy screen isn't too unbearable in a bright office space; it isn't as reflective as most other glossy screens I've seen. All in all, the display is good, with only a few downsides.
The V470 has Realtek HD audio along with one speaker on the top-right of the notebook (above the keyboard) and another speaker on the front-left. The positioning of the speakers is just about perfect; it allows sound to travel into your ears from two opposite directions...the concept is brilliant, but not something we've seen many manufacturers do.
The Realtek audio driver also has a few more audio enchancement features than the average audio driver, including a playback feature that corresponds to your environment (i.e. changes depending on where you are), voice cancellation (mutes the voice in songs so you can sing karaoke), and pitch shift. Simply put, the audio ends up sounding amazing - crisp and clear. Even at the highest volume levels, distortion is barely there. The only complaint we have is that there is no subwoofer so the bass sounds a little hazy.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Lenovo has been building most of the IdeaPad line with Chiclet-style keyboards as of late. As is the case with the V470, meaning the keys are both flat-topped and spaced apart to help with key travel and throw. The first thing you'll notice is how comfortable your wrists and palms are when typing - the palmrests are made of ridiculously smooth brushed aluminum.
After spending a good amount of time typing on the keyboard, we've come to the conclusion that the keyboard itself is about average. We made typos every once in a while, so key throw is doable but could be improved by moving the keys closer together. The keys aren't the most comfortable to type with, either, as they're more dense than most other keyboards we've used.
The Elan touchpad is quite average as well. It has a bumpy (or textured) surface which isn't bothersome to the touch and it does aid with the overall responsiveness. If anything, we only wish the touchpad could have been larger, but the cursor movement is fine.
Our Lenovo IdeaPad V470 review unit has the following configuration:
These are good specifications for the $599 price point. If it's in the budget, we recommend upgrading the processor to the available i5-2430M dual-core or even the i7-2670QM quad-core. It will improve the V470's multi-tasking ability substantially. It's also important to note that the Core i3-2310M processor does not have Turbo Boost capabilities.
PERFORMANCE AND BENCHMARKS
The hardware equipped in our review unit is geared more toward the budget-conscious user. Still though, the combination of the i3-2310M dual-core processor, 4GB-1333MHz RAM, and Intel HD graphics allows for good overall performance. Users will be able to run multiple office productivity and multimedia programs at once with little to no trouble. We also verified that 1080p video content can be played just fine - we only saw minor interferences, usually only present when the video panned from left to right. The 500GB 5400rpm hard drive is slower than average at about 72 MB/s (sequential read and write).
wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark Vantage measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
PCMark 7 is a newer benchmark which measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark06 measures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:
Heat and Noise
A low whirring noise can definitely be heard from the exhaust vent on the left side of the notebook when the V470 is exerted. It's somewhat bothersome, but goes away almost completely if the notebook is running at normal capacity. The notebook reached a peak of 96 degrees Fahrenheit when we ran one of the benchmark tests that measures full system performance. The 96 reading was taken from the bottom-center of the notebook. The V470 is an extremely lap-friendly notebook and users will never have to worry about it over-heating.
The V470 has a 6-cell 48Wh Lithium-ion battery. During our battery life test, we set Windows 7 on the "Balanced" power profile, adjust the screen brightness to 70%, connect to a wireless network, and refresh a text-heavy web page every 60 seconds. The Lenovo V470 remained active 5 hours and 28 minutes during the test. This is about average for a notebook in this class, but we expected the V470 to hold out an hour or so longer.
Battery life test results (higher scores mean better battery life):
The Lenovo IdeaPad V470 is the way to go if you're looking for a notebook that combines good performance with a charming design, mid-level display, and an extensive port selection. Lenovo found a way to pack some impressive features into this notebook without raising the pricepoint. The notebook feels great in your hands too thanks to super-comfortable brushed aluminum material throughout.
While the $599 pricepoint seems too good to be true for a notebook that has only a few flaws, if you're considering this notebook, you may want to also consider upgrading the processor for even better results.
The biggest flaw with the V470 lies in its build quality. While the palm rests and chassis backbone are both constructed well, the display cover is just about as flimsy as paper. The display could surely crack if not handled carefully at all times. That being said, purchasing a better warranty than the limited one-year should be in order if you're going to go with the V470.