Lenovo B50-30 review
Whereas most sub-£200 budget laptops provide 11.6in screens, Lenovo has decided to go big with the B50-30, delivering a slightly old-school laptop with a 15.6in screen and a built-in DVD writer.
At 2.32kg, it’s substantially heavier than the other models here; while the manufacturer has done its best to slim down the laptop’s bulk, the B50-30 is still a beast to lug around.
Build quality is disappointing by Lenovo’s standards. The plastics feel thin, the lid flexes alarmingly when twisted, and there’s too much give near the DVD-writer tray. The B50-30 is noisy, too, thanks to a 500GB, 5,400rpm hard disk that clatters away at the slightest provocation.
On the plus side, this means more local storage than you get from most slimline rivals. The B50-30 doesn’t do badly for connectivity, either: it has VGA and HDMI video outputs, three USB ports, including one USB 3, and a single Gigabit Ethernet port. There’s also 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4 for wireless networking. It’s a laptop that’s ready for anything.
The screen’s one advantage is its size; otherwise, it’s poor. We measured brightness and contrast levels at a lowly 209cd/m2 and 285:1 respectively, and in use the display has a dull, grainy look to it.
We don’t expect superb colour accuracy from a budget laptop, but the B50-30 covers a mere 59.7% of the sRGB gamut, and it struggles to differentiate dark colours or resolve blues with any kind of vibrancy.
Keyboards are usually a Lenovo strength, but while the B50-30’s looks the part, with large keys and a standard business layout, the typing action is strangely floppy. Typing on it feels like drumming your fingers on a wet jiffy bag. The touchpad is better – it’s large, smooth to the touch and accurate.
Performance isn’t bad by budget laptop standards; the B50-30 has the same Celeron N2840 as the Labs-winning HP Stream 11, and while the hard disk slows it down a little, it isn’t too far behind in our benchmarks.
Battery life is another matter, though. The Lenovo could only survive four-and-a-half hours of light use, and a little over four hours with heavy workloads. It’s a versatile machine for the money, but the B50-30 isn’t the most well-balanced laptop around.
Lenovo B50-30 specifications
|Processor||Dual-core 2.16GHz Intel Celeron N2840|
|Memory slots (free)|
|Size||380 x 262 x 25mm|
|Weight||2.32kg (2.7kg with charger)|
|Screen resolution||1,366 x 768|
|Graphics adaptor||Intel HD Graphics|
|Graphics outputs||HDMI; VGA|
|Total storage||500GB hard disk|
|Optical drive type||DVD writer|
|USB ports||USB 3; 2 x USB 2|
|Networking||Gigabit Ethernet; single-band 802.11n|
|Memory card reader||SD card slot|
|Other ports||3.5mm headphone jack|
|Operating system||Windows 8.1 with Bing 64-bit|
|Parts and labour warranty||1yr RTB|
|Price inc VAT||£170|