Today we have a look at one of Lenovo’s 14-inch laptops for its IdeaPad youth-oriented lineup. It came out in 2011 and manages to combine an attractive exterior with a solid performance level at the expense of a disappointing battery life about which we will talk at the end of this review. We like that it has a stylish look while for the lid and the chassis aluminum was used for a more premium feel and also extra strength. The laptop weighs 4.85 lbs so it is a bit heavier than regular 14-inch systems, but you do get a better build quality which for a lot of people (including us) is far more important than a bit of extra bulk. It measures 13.4 x 9.3 x 0.8 – 1.3 inches. When it came out it had a retail price of about $800, depending on the store.
Anyway, the lid of the V460 is quite strong and we consider that it does not feel flimsy at all, but you will notice some ripples if you apply some pressure on the back of the screen, however this is understandable in this segment. You most likely won’t like the fact that the surroundings of the display are covered by a glossy plastic which makes that area a fingerprint magnet, plus it also collects dust. Sitting above the keyboard there are volume up/down keys along with a handy mute button. A nice feature of this model would have to be its fingerprint reader which has been incorporated into the palm rest.
The front of the Lenovo IdeaPad V460 holds the Wi-Fi on/off switch while at the back sits the battery pack. On its left side we notice the microphone and headphone jacks, two USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, HDMI port, heat exhaust vent, VGA out and the Kensington lock slot. Moving on to the right spine, this is where Lenovo put another USB 2.0 port, the DVD burner, a 4-in-1 card reader (bottom), an ExpressCard/34 (top) and the AC power jack.
Let’s move on with the review and have a look at the keyboard which is of the traditional type and has a full size. Although it isn’t one of the more recent island-style keyboards, this is the feature that we like the most about this V460. Why? Because the keyboard just feels excellent and can provide you with a superb typing experience. It consists of keys that have just about the right amount of travel, while the position of the keys is borderline perfect. In addition, these keys generate a nice sound when you press them and they never get too loud. You will also appreciate that the keys feel very solid and durable. This keyboard further confirms that Lenovo is perhaps the best laptop manufacturer when it comes down to making keyboards.
As far as the touchpad is concerned, it features a dimpled surface which is easy to track on, while the boarder has been clearly defined. Lenovo decided to opt for separate left and right mouse buttons that can provide a good feedback and without getting loud.
This V460 model comes with a 14-inch glossy display that features LED backlighting and provides a rather average quality, just about the same as other laptops in this category. The contrast level is quite low, while the black levels are not as deep as they should be. As for the colors, these are a little bit washed out and the screen has a blue-ish cast. On the flip side, the brightness level is good, but the bad thing is that the viewing angles are quite limited, especially the vertical ones. We should mention that it has a resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels (720p) so you don’t get a lot of vertical space, meaning that the screen cannot display a lot of content at the same time so your multi-tasking efficiency will not be as high as if it were in the case of a display that had a 1,600 x 900-pixel resolution.
Above the keyboard there are two stereo speakers on this Lenovo IdeaPad V460 that are surprisingly good, with a decent amount of bass and without getting a distorted sound when turning the volume all the way up.
This Lenovo IdeaPad V460 comes with mid-range hardware components which should be enough for daily tasks. Keep in mind that although it comes with a dedicated GPU, this isn’t a laptop built for games. However, with a dual core Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM, most of the modern applications will work smoothly on this system. That 320GB hard drive is quite slow unfortunately, but the good thing about it is that it remains silent at all times.
The cooling system developed by Lenovo for the V460 utilizes just one fan that has to push out the warm air through the laptop’s left side. When performing basic tasks such as web surfing, the fan will stay off most of the times, turning on above five minutes or so for approximately 30 seconds in order to let the excess heat escape. We should mention that this fan is a bit loud but it shouldn’t be a big problem even when the laptop is in full load.
It has been equipped with a six-cell (48 Wh) battery which will last for only a little over three hours when tested in Windows 7 with the Balanced profile activated, Wi-Fi on, screen brightness set at 70% and doing a page refresh once a minute. This is probably the weakest point of this laptop since at least four hours would have been a decent result.
All things considered, the Lenovo IdeaPad V460 offers a good value since for not a lot of money you get a laptop that looks good, has an excellent build quality and a superb keyboard. In addition, the speakers are a nice surprise while the hardware components are enough to handle modern applications. On the other hand, the battery is just too weak, while the touchpad is considered by many to be a bit too sensitive, but this won’t be an issue for those of you that prefer using an external mouse.