So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Lenovo 3000 V200
- Nice array of features for an ultraportable, solid performer in most areas, plain and tasteful design.
- Weighs more than most ultraportable units, a few minor build issues, plain and tasteful design.
As a multi-purpose business notebook, the Lenovo 3000 V200 performs admirably well in almost every area. However, those after a highly portable unit are likely to find themselves a little weighed down.
Price$ 2,299.00 (AUD)
The Lenovo 3000 V200 is a typical business notebook. It ticks all the boxes you would expect from such a machine; which is to say it's smart, functional and just a teensy bit on the bland side. Although slightly bulky for an ultraportable unit, its solid feature set and attractive price tag should see it satisfy the majority of users (with the obvious exception of fashion aficionados).
As its name suggests, the V200 is an upgraded version of the Lenovo 3000 V100. Stylistically the two units are barely distinguishable from one another, with identical silver lids, black interiors and curved outer edges. Over the past year, a large array of sleek and intriguing notebook designs have entered the marketplace, so it's a little disappointing to see the same pedestrian aesthetics crop up once again. While there is nothing overtly ugly about the V200's appearance, it fails to leap out and grab your attention in any way whatsoever (more conservative users may actually find this to be a plus, however).
The V200 runs on Intel's latest Centrino platform, codenamed Santa Rosa. The version we tested came equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo U7300 CPU running at 2GHz, 1GB of DDR2 RAM and a 120GB hard drive. As is common for business-flavoured machines, Lenovo has opted to include an integrated graphics chip rather than a dedicated GPU. Its score of 522 in 3DMark 06 suggests that it will struggle to play all but the most simplistic of modern gaming titles (a failing that is to be expected). Meanwhile, in our WorldBench test, the notebook scored a respectable 68, which should see it handle the majority of business applications without any fuss.
Lenovo has classed the V200 as an ultraportable notebook; a distinction it barely manages to live up to. At a fairly hefty 2.3kg, it fails to match the portability of its lightweight rivals; many which come in at under 1.5kg. Despite this, the unit is quite compact in size, sporting a 12.1in widescreen display and overall dimensions of 305x203x33mm. While not something you can toss in a bag and forget about, it should squeeze into most briefcases and can be comfortably tucked under the arm.
Thankfully, it turns out there's a semi-good reason for all that added weight; as the 3000 V200 comes fully equipped with an impressive range of features and components. This includes an integrated dual-layer DVD burner, a built-in 1.3-megapixel webcam and fingerprint reader, three USB ports, a three-in-one media card reader, an ExpressCard slot and a FireWire port. Naturally, this makes for a media-friendly notebook that will satisfy a variety of needs outside of the office. Having said that, we would recommend that movie buffs invest in a decent set of external speakers, as the built-in pair are far from exceptional; especially in noisy environments.
Elsewhere, the build-quality of the V200 was a bit of a mixed bag. Its 12.1in widescreen XGA display has a native resolution of 1280x800, and for the most part it will satisfy all viewing requirements. However, reflections were a lot more prevalent than usual when viewed under bright lighting; an issue that is sure to grate with summer setting in. We also found that the screen would ripple when applying the slightest amount of pressure to the outer lid (so much for its robust design). While we were quite impressed by the quality of the keyboard, we did encounter the occasional instance of keys sticking.
In our battery rundown test, we looped a DVD to assess the power efficiency of the screen, CPU, optical drive and speakers. At 2hrs 17 minutes, the V200 will see you through the end credits of most movies, making for a satisfactory roadside companion.
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