Despite its clunky build and disappointing display, the Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch gets a few nods from reviewers -- and even an Editors' Choice pick at one. The reason? It's almost impossible to find a full-fledged laptop with all of the traditional ports and drives for $600 or less, but the Z400 Touch delivers.
Just average. Oddly, the Lenovo Z400 does way better in benchmark tests at PCMag.com than anywhere else. Although they test the same mid-level, Core i5 version, PCMag.com calls the Lenovo a "performance leader" in its class -- while other sources find it a mixed bag. Photo editing goes quickly in tests, for example, but boot-up and file transfer are sluggish. Battery life is just OK, delivering 4.5 to 5.5 hours of web surfing or movie watching in tests. Experts are disappointed: The Lenovo is so bulky, it certainly has room for a long-life battery.
Bulky and heavy. Everyone agrees: The Lenovo Z400 is thick and heavy. "It felt like we were holding a free weight" at 5.2 pounds, Laptop Magazine says. "The top lid alone feels thicker than many tablets," CNET says. That bulky body does house a responsive 14-inch touch screen, all the ports you'd expect on a mainstream laptop, an SD card slot and DVD burner. Testers aren't crazy about the keyboard, finding it flexy, with an odd feel when you press the keys. The touchpad is a little small and doesn't always respond smoothly.
No beauty queen -- and the screen isn't, either. The Lenovo Z400 "won't win any beauty contests," Laptop Magazine puts it bluntly. Everything is chunky plastic and fingerprint-prone. The 14-inch display is 1,366 by 768 pixels -- "the bare minimum acceptable on a computer today," Wired says. It's acceptable, but dimmer and less vivid than better budget screens, including the 17.3-inch beauty on the top-rated Dell Inspiron 17 (Est. $450 and up) . The Lenovo's is "an average laptop display for a few years ago," CNET says. "It feels a step behind." Various testers describe the speakers as "respectable" and "adequate."
Dependable, but customer service is a mixed bag. Lenovo consistently makes some of the most reliable laptops, according to PCMag.com's annual reader surveys. Phone support is good, too, say Laptop Magazine staffers who go undercover with anonymous tech-support questions. However, when they ask questions via Facebook and Twitter, they don't always get prompt or correct answers.
Functional, but you can do better. PCMag.com recommends the Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch as "a very good, solid laptop" at a great price. ComputerShopper.com calls it "a solid buy," and Wired agrees. "You can barely get an iPad for 600 bucks, much less a touchscreen-equipped laptop that features a legit Core i5 and a terabyte of on-board storage," Wired's Christopher Null says. "God, it's so cheap." Still, other sources recommend looking elsewhere. "You're better off waiting, or spending up for a thinner, frankly better laptop," CNET says. The cheap Lenovo laptop "is a functional but skippable product."
With solid performance in benchmark comparison tests and good features at a low price, the Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch wins an Editors' Choice award here. Joel Santo Domingo does note some flaws (including the chunky build), but they're not deal-killers.
Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch, Joel Santo Domingo, May 14, 2013
2. Laptop Magazine
The bulky build and "dull-looking" screen bother Avram Piltch enough that he downgrades the Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch to just 3 out of 5 stars. It is a strong performer with a touch screen and lots of storage, though, so if that's what you need, it's worth a look.
Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch Review, Avram Piltch, April 5, 2013
Scott Stein finds the Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch ordinary and unimpressive -- "a perfect example of why PC sales are probably in decline." Performance is fine (not great), but Stein says you can do better than this heavy, old-fashioned laptop.
Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch Review: Touch Shoehorned Into an Everyday Laptop, Scott Stein, April 26, 2013
4. Computer Shopper
The Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch "isn't the most exciting laptop," but it's "a solid buy" for the price, William Van Winkle concludes after a thorough test. Its heavy body helps downgrade it to 3 out of 5 stars, though, and it's not a top pick.
Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch Review and Ratings, William Van Winkle, June 7, 2013
ConsumerReports.org ranks the Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch alongside dozens of other laptops, based on hands-on tests. Editors rate the laptops' performance, ergonomics, portability and more before ranking them from best to worst.
Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch-59365077, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
Despite a "litany of complaints" in his test, Christopher Null says there may not be a better computer deal than the Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch. For just $600, you get a touch-screen laptop with a real Core i5 processor and a 1 TB hard drive.
Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch, Christopher Null, May 1, 2013
7. Laptop Magazine
Laptop Magazine staffers contact various laptop brands' tech support with anonymous questions. Lenovo's phone tech support works well, but questions asked via Facebook and Twitter don't always get a fast or correct answer. Lenovo earns a B overall.
Review: Tech Support Showdown 2012, Editors of Laptop Magazine, Sept. 17, 2012
PCMag.com ranks Lenovo and other laptop brands' customer satisfaction, based on reader surveys. Lenovo ranks third for both home and work laptops (Apple wins both categories). Lenovo laptops are very reliable, the survey shows.
Review: Readers' Choice Awards 2013 Winners: Laptops and Desktops, Ben Gottesman, Feb. 20, 2013
About 20 owners review the Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch here, giving it a score of 4.2 out of 5 stars. Most are satisfied, but a few say the laptop drops wireless signals or won't hold a charge.
Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 14-Inch Touchscreen Laptop (Dark Chocolate), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of July 2013