In our world of over seven billion people, there are an infinite amount of perspectives which exist. This is why perhaps I find our world so fascinating and filled with beauty – the essence which each individual radiates, and the truths they hold to their heart.
For the past 4 years, I’ve known Lenovo to be a good company. In 2004, IBM sold their computing division to the Chinese corporation – due to the fall of sales they saw in the market for IBM Pcs.
My mom purchased the Thinkpad t60 laptop over three years ago – with a 4-year warranty on the laptop.
Since then, there were about a dozen of times when I had to take the laptop back to the local computer store we have here – mostly for reasons of carelessness, such as broken keyboards, hard drives which have been magnetized, broken CD drives…
Each time, the service was great. No questions asked, my lappie, urm, laptop, was ready for use in a matter of a week.
So when Windows 7 was released on October 22, a whole shot of deals were released from varying manufacturers. HP, Del, and yes, Lenovo, all had a deal for a week after 7’s launch, targeting consumers who wanted to get their hand on Windows 7 and a new laptop which was designed for the operating system. In my case, I wanted a laptop for college – one which would be good performance and built with stability in mind. Knowing Lenovo, I decided to go with their service – and purchased the Lenovo g450 laptop on October 24th.
Major disappointments followed, as the laptop’s shipping was moved from time and time again – to finally rest on November 11th. Considering that the computer came directly from Shanghai, I was understanding and knew what it took to make a laptop and ship it all the way from China.
So, Below are my findings – of what the g450 is, and it’s features. Keep in mind, some might find it a better laptop – as your needs may differ from myne. I am but one of the individual perspectives out of 7 billion.
Lenovo g450 – 2949 CHU
- 2.1 GHZ Intel pentium t4300 CPU
- 4 GB of Ram
- 320 GB Hard drive (Sata 3.0 GB/sec)
- Wi-fi 802.11b/G
- 3 USB ports
- Conexcent Smart Audio 221
- Windows 7 home premium, 64-bit
- 800 MHZ FSB (front-side bus)
- 14″ display – 32 MB of dedicated graphics ram, 1 GB can be shared.
- No Bluetooth
- 3-usb ports
- a 0.3 MP Webcam
Overall, it’s a solid laptop, when it comes to performance. The pentium t4300 is not well-received, but for my purposes of OS testing, programming, doing DJ work, it is sufficient. I found the computer a lot faster than my current thinkpad t60 – so I was satisfied with it’s performance.
It’s really 64-bit Windows that got to me, perhaps faster than I’d have liked. Troubles began arising when I discovered that the sound card (a cheap conexcent audio device) did not support stereo mix – a soundcard features I use often to archive my radio shows and to record directly from the soundcard itself to a file. So I researched – and came upon a program called Virtual audio cable.
Without getting too much into what VAC is, it is suffice to say that it was the tool which would allow me to achieve what I wanted to with stereo mix.
Installing the 64-bit version under Windows 7 failed, however, do to the forced-driver-security which is required in 64-bit versions of Windows. Basically, drivers must be signed to work with 64-bit operating systems in order to be able to use them. This signing costs around $500 and the developers must purchase it from Microsoft. (Later on I found out that there are ways to circumvent the driver signing, so my grudge against 64-bit has lessened… slightly.)
So I reinstalled my own Windows 7 32-bit copy. Having no product key, I installed it without one in 30-day activation mode. Installing 7 took no more than 10 minutes – but that’s not really different on my thinkpad, either.
Once installed, most drivers were detected fine, besides the lenovo power management device and the audio drivers (audio worked, but it was said to be a “high definition audio device”). I installed the proper drivers, including the intel chipset driver.
Windows 7 ran fine, and at this point I was all set with the computer – having satisfied both my talkshow hosting and Windows needs.
The next few days took the shape of testing the product. I took the laptop to school.
Battery life was pretty bad – around 2 hours when connected to the Internet and typing notes/documents in notepad. That’s pretty disappointing, though the pentium processors are not really known for their efficient power consumption – they use around 43W compared to a centrino CPU which runs at around 5W.
I also noticed that the fan, when started, would constantly spin. Even when I left the laptop on my desk at home in the afternoons – the fan would spin, and spin, and spin. The CPU was idle at this time, since I had no background tasks running. When cooled down, the laptop took about 15 minutes to heat up again and didn’t turn off the fans afterward.
And boy were they loud fans. It reminded me of my previous experience with a Toshiba Satelite a45 computer in 2006. That whopper had an Intel Celeron 2.8 GHz CPU – and a fan the size of Texas (yes, I took it apart when it died).
While the g450’s fan wasn’t as loud as the one in the a45, it nevertheless outsounded my thinkpad’s fan. Not power efficient at all!
The weekend came, and I decided to test out the Webcam with my girlfriend – see how it performs.
Seeing that it had a 0.3 MP Webcam (fixed focus), not bad. I was surprised by how decent the camera was, and according to my partner, “it’s better than my 7.4 MP digital camera.”. While I can’t confirm or deny her claims, my experience wasn’t bad at all.
Testing a multitude of Operating Systems
Next, I decided to do some OS testing – how well would this laptop run the mac and linux releases?
When it came to run leopard, the g450 was fine, were it not for the breakage in the audio which resulted in Alex sounding like he was behind some voice-cutting chainsaw. He crackled and crackled. (thank god I installed the mac on my external HDD, no harm done I guess). There was no wireless detected (surprised because this machine had a broadcom wireless card, one which macs were supposed to have drivers for).
Next, I looked at Ubuntu. My general observations were no different then found on the thinkpad t60 – speech still stalled, and sound still cut off from time to time. Knoppix, on the other hand, ran fine, without any breakage in audio or sound issues. Although, the volume keys on the keyboard did not work at all.
A terrible Keyboard
Speaking of the keyboard! There is no home key on this laptop. This was one of the first observations I’ve made – and I dismissed it, saying that most newer laptops won’t have a home key anyway, so might as well get used to hitting fn+pageup and fn+pagedown to accomplish a home/end press, respectively. But I do have to say, it got real annoying after a while, especially when jumping around a document or conversation in yahoo! messenger.
On top of all that, the keys began creeking upon presses. At first it was the H key only – but then the flew spread to the j, g, t, r, and j keys too. L, O, P, and c followed on Sunday. All of a sudden, the quiet keyboard became a noisy termoil of creeeekking.
That was the last straw for me. I decided and began looking at the laptop more on a 2 or 3 year term. I wanted a computer which would last me at least until my Sophomore year at college – after which point I could get a more decent job and a higher-end laptop.
Seeing the battery life, the creeking keys, the fan problems, the soundcard’s cheap design, the plastic smooth shell design, I was highly disappointed by Lenovo’s service. While I’m certain that more care is put forth in the higher-end computers they offer (perhaps thinkpad models might still be as durable as they were), their efforts in making consumer oriented laptops are declining. This computer ran for $700 on Lenovo’s site ; Was priced down to $560, and then to the $425 price I got it for. It is one of their “value line” laptops, a term stampped on consumer-oriented computers they offer.
For a person who only needs to use a laptop to write documents at home, this computer is a fine pick. However if you are going to be moving around campus ; or perhaps going from class to class, the battery life might disappoint you. College students – and hey, even high school ones like myself, don’t want to be looking for an outlet constantly. I hope to find a computer which can make it through my school day without a charge – that is around 7 hours long.