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2 Posts authored by: indy.zhao


[Originally posted on 03/07/18.]



  • Digital content creation and multimedia playback
  • Well-rounded user experience






Lenovo recently brought the IdeaPad 720 to the table, featuring Radeon™ RX 560 graphics. Making a statement with its minimalist chassis design, impressive matte Full HD display, and integrated Harman speakers, the IdeaPad 720 is a machine capable of tackling a variety of tasks. The discrete graphics chip accelerates many applications to bring the power needed in modern digital life. This laptop also boasts fantastic gaming performance, as it is able to effortlessly deliver fluid 60+ fps experiences across a variety of today’s most popular titles.


Key Hardware Specs:

  • 15 Inch, 1920×1080 LED Display
  • Up to 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7500U
  • Radeon™ RX 560 Graphics (Driver: 17.12.1)
  • 4GB DDR4 Memory onboard, can be configured up to 16GB DDR4
  • 1TB HDD with up to 512GB PCIe SSD
  • 2.1 kg (4.6 lbs)


Build & Physical Features




Unboxing the IdeaPad 720 reveals premium materials and metal surfaces, giving the laptop a clean appearance. With the polished and mirrored edges along with the angular sides and slim profile, the laptop looks very modern. The notebook feels robust when held and seems rugged enough to withstand a few accidental drops.






Under the lid, this laptop features a black and white chiclet keyboard surrounded by a matte aluminum surface – great for warding away fingerprints. The F-Keys are programmed with useful macros that can be handy for video conferencing, such as toggle camera and toggle mic. The keys also have a controllable backlight with two brightness settings, making this laptop perfect for finishing late-night work in a dark environment, such as on an airplane.






The notebook has integrated Harman speakers on the front corners on the bottom of the chassis. The speaker system provided crisp sound, and at around 80% volume, music could be clearly heard on the other side of a small room, making the notebook great for showing friends a neat playlist.






The IdeaPad 720 also features a 15.6” 1920×1080 LED display attached to the chassis with a robust single hinge. The display has good color depth, and washout is minimal as viewing angle increases. The thin bezels make the screen look fantastic. The high saturation of the display makes photo editing a breeze with a strong distinction of nuanced hues. With the excellent viewing angles, there are no problems with watching movies with friends.






Removing the back plate of the IdeaPad 720, we can get a good look inside the notebook. The first thing to notice about this laptop is that the memory and HDD are wrapped with anti-static sheets to protect against accidental static damage to sensitive parts. Since most of the components in this laptop are connected to the motherboard by cable rather than solder, there is a lot of potential for upgradability – the SSD slot (protected by electrical tape) looks particularly inviting. The unit we tested was not populated with an SSD, but Lenovo does offer this platform with up to 512GB PCIe SSD options. Adding an SSD can allow this laptop to achieve lightning fast boot times, so you can get back to your work sooner. The asymmetric exhaust fans spread the fan noise over a greater range of frequencies, making the fans sound quieter. While playing games on this laptop, the fans can barely be heard. The fans connect to the CPU and GPU via a dual heat-pipe design to provide ample cooling.






For the ports suite, the IdeaPad 720 has exactly what you would expect to find on a premium laptop. The IdeaPad 720 supports the latest in connectivity with 1x USB-C port. Lenovo included an interesting 4-in-1 card reader, which will support SD, SDHC, SDXC, and MMC cards. The Ethernet port has a hinge mechanism that swings out when you plug a cable in and collapses when you take it out which keeps the profile of the notebook slim when detached.



  • Power Connector
  • 2x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • Network Port
  • 4-in-1 Card Reader
  • USB-C
  • Headphone and Microphone Combo Jack
  • HDMI






To determine the speed of this system, the boot time was measured from power up to the time my cursor no longer showed the spinning icon. 33 seconds is quite fast for an HDD. Many older laptops may take much longer to boot.




CrystalDisk Mark was used to measure Hard Drive Performance. Two tests were conducted for both read and write:

  • Sequential. Data is interpreted in a continuous order. This would be similar to how a new, unused disk would behave.
  • 4 Kib Random. Data is interpreted in randomly placed 4 Kib chunks across the disk. This would be similar to how a heavily used, fragmented disk would behave.




The included HDD is a Seagate ST1000LM035, which is a 1 TB 5400 RPM drive with SATA connection. This allows plenty of room to host photos, movies, and games with fast load times due to the 100+MB/s sequential read and write speeds. The 4KiB random read/write speed scores are a good reminder to periodically defrag your HDD for optimal performance. With the option to upgrade disk space with an SSD, there is the potential for even better loading times and faster bootups.




For all new laptops, it is recommended to update to the latest driver for the best performance.


With the help of the included Radeon™ RX 560, the IdeaPad 720 is able to demonstrate some impressive performance in the tested benchmarks. The Radeon™ RX 560 with IGP shows up to a 5.4X performance improvement with running a Photoshop script in comparison to the IGP alone. The discrete graphics card gives the laptop a significant performance boost in the PCMark 10 and 3DMark benchmarks across the board, and allows the laptop to reach frame-rates of over 60fps for many popular game titles. When the IdeaPad 720 is used with just the integrated HD 620, gaming performance drops well below the 60-fps threshold of fluid graphics. Paired with the Radeon™ RX 560, the IdeaPad 720 becomes a laptop that is a great choice for just about any task.




The test compares the amount of time it takes to run a sequence of filters and effects in Adobe Photoshop (2017). A 4K image (300 dpi) was rotated 180 degrees, crystallized by a factor of 10, blurred using the Gaussian Blur tool by a factor of 1 pix, sharpened using the Smart Sharpen tool and rotated again by 180 degrees.


















Boosted by the Radeon™ RX 560, the Lenovo IdeaPad 720 gives a little bit of everything. Not only is it a great productivity tool, but the discrete graphics card also really helps drive the laptop to be an all-purpose star. When running a Photoshop script, the Radeon™ RX 560 could complete the task by up to 5.4X compared to the IGP doing the same task. The Radeon™ RX 560 also made the laptop a gaming-capable machine – e-sports ready straight out of the box vs. the sub-60 fps experience from just an IGP. The GPU drives the IdeaPad 720 to deliver a fluid gaming experience across a variety of today’s most popular titles. If the Radeon™ RX 560 is a little excessive for your needs, Lenovo also offers the IdeaPad 720 with the Radeon™ RX 550 instead – saving you a few dollars should you choose to sacrifice some performance. Taking into account the great speakers and brilliant LED display, it doesn’t matter whether you are video conferencing or playing games; the IdeaPad 720 is a great, well-rounded choice for all your activities.


Buy Now:




Mirror 1

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Detailed Specs

Radeon RX 560 Graphics
Core Clock1202 MHz
Memory clock1500 MHz
Peak Performance2.6 TFLOPs
Memory Size4 GB GDDR5
Memory width128 bit
Effective Memory Speed6 Gbps
Memory Bandwidth96 GB/s


[Originally posted on 10/10/17.]






HP OMEN is back with the 2017 OMEN 15 gaming notebook featuring Radeon™ RX 550 graphics. With a beautiful aluminum and carbon fiber chassis, fully lit chiclet keyboard, and integrated Bang & Olufsen speakers, the OMEN 15 lets you bring a fantastic gaming experience anywhere you go.


Key Hardware Specs:

  • 15 Inch, 1080p Radeon FreeSync™ Display
  • Intel-i7 processor (7700HQ)
  • Radeon RX550 Graphics
  • 8GB of DDR4 Memory
  • 1TB HDD
  • 2.58 kg (5.68 lbs)


Build & Physical Features


The first thing I noticed when taking my OMEN 15 out of it’s box is the signature OMEN dual texture design and red accents. The lid is plated with brushed aluminum and carbon fiber panels, which are great for attracting a few head turns. With an absence of plastic parts, the build quality feels nice and solid. The dual fan exhausts at the back accentuate the OMEN 15’s aggressive look, making the notebook feel ready to take on anything that you throw in its way.




Lifting up the lid of the laptop reveals a black and red chiclet keyboard with a full num pad surrounded by a black brushed aluminum surface. The WASD keys are highlighted in bright red. The keyboard has red backlit keys for all the keys except for WASD which have white backlights. I find this keyboard helpful when playing shooters, as I never have to fumble around much to get my fingers in the right position. I especially like the fact that the backlight on the keys also lights up the text on each individual key face instead of surrounding the square so that I have no problem distiguishing the letters in dimly lit environments.




The notebook features a powerful set of Bang & Olufsen notebook speakers found on the front right and left corners of the notebook. The angular design of the notebook help direct more of the sound outwards as opposed to downwards like many other notebooks do. I was able to fill a small room with crisp and consistent sound at around 80% volume.




Attached to the chassis with a large single hinge design is the 15.6’’ Full HD FreeSync display of the OMEN 15. This well-lit display shows great saturation, and it’s anti-glare finish allows it to be viewed at a wide variety of angles without washing out the colors. Screen tearing was non-existent during my gaming tests.




In a bright indoor office environment, I used 80% brightness which still left additional headroom to push the display brighter when watching dark videos.


Using the laptop outside on a sunny day, I noticed that although the anti-glare screen works well, it isn’t perfect. I still felt that the display was losing some color consistency within the darker color palette, even after maxing out the brightness settings. Bright and colorful games like Overwatch and League of Legends are fine, but this display struggles a bit if you are planning on watching dark movies under the sun.


Cracking open the OMEN 15 was a little difficult, which gives some credit to the solid construction of the notebook. Once I removed the back plate, I immediately noticed a dual heat pipe design and 2 rear exhaust fans which provide sufficient cooling for the CPU and GPU. Although the fans are large, they are quiet enough to be inaudible most of the time. Taking up a large chunk of the laptops interior space is a hefty 70Wh battery, giving the OMEN 15 enough juice to handle those on-the-go gaming sessions.




As for the ports offered by this notebook, OMEN 15 has you covered with all the essentials integrated into the sides. The USB-C port on the left side of the laptop is always nice to see in the ports suite. The Ethernet interface allows me to hook up a wired connection, which is vital for games where every millisecond of ping counts.


While we’re on the topic of internet connectivity, I’ll quickly mention the inclusion of the 802.11ac WiFi standard on the OMEN 15, allowing me to connect onto those 5 GHz internet bands that are becoming ever more popular. I never have to fight for WiFi bandwidth at the 2.4 GHz frequency, which is so important for reducing ping.





  • Power Connector
  • 3x USB 3.0 Type-A
  • Network Port
  • SD Slot
  • USB-C
  • Headphone and Microphone input
  • HDMI
  • Mini-DisplayPort




Benchmarks and Gaming


All tests were done on the latest driver and plugged into the wall. I saw a 15-20% drop in gaming performance if the laptop was not plugged in. For all new laptops, I recommended updating to the latest driver for the best performance.






The gaming experience is very smooth on the OMEN, consistently staying above 60 FPS for all the tested titles. It looks like this notebook is ready to play all of your AAA titles straight out of the box without a problem.






Pretty decent gaming score, as expected of a dedicated gaming laptop like the OMEN 15. I’m pleasantly surprised to find that the Digital Content Creation score is higher than I thought it would be.


Boot Time




To measure the speed of this system I measured boot time from power up to the time my cursor no longer showed the spinning icon. Admittedly, the boot time is on the slow side, and a lot of the blame can be pointed to the fact that this particular notebook I tested used a hard-drive as its storage device. If you want those lightning fast boot times, you should definitely consider getting an SSD.


Hard Drive


CrystalDisk Mark was used to measure Hard Drive Performance:




Unsurprisingly, the long boot times are reflected in the poor disk read/write scores. Get. An. SSD.




Discrete Radeon 550 graphics provided a significant performance uplift in Adobe Photoshop and Premiere.


I tested this by comparing the amount of time it takes to run a sequence of filters and effect in Adobe Photoshop (2017). A 4K image (300 dpi) was rotated 180 degrees, crystallized by a factor of 10, blurred using the Gaussian Blur tool by a factor of 1 pix, sharpened using the Smart Sharpen tool and rotated again by 180 degrees.


On Adobe Premiere, I tested with a 30 second 1080p mp4 video. The clip was flipped vertically, lens distortion was applied, and then a blur using the Gaussian Blur tool by a factor of 1 pix.








The battery life on the OMEN 15 was decent. The 70Wh battery powered the PCMark 8 Mainstream gaming test for 2 hours and 17 minutes. Idling with the screen on at 80% a comfortable indoor brightness resulted in a little more than 4 hours before auto shutdown.


Charge time was quick on the laptop. I fully drained the battery, plugged it in and within 1 hour and 40 minutes the battery was back to 100%.




Powered by the Radeon RX 550, the OMEN 15 is a laptop that is designed with the gamer in mind. The sleek red chiclet keyboard and the beautiful aluminum and carbon fiber paneling makes the OMEN 15 feel like a proper gaming laptop. Although the read/write speeds could be improved, the Radeon™ Freesync display paired with the Radeon RX 550 delivers smooth gameplay across a variety of E-Sports and AAA titles. OMEN 15 is a laptop balances portability and performance, allowing me to bring my games with me anywhere I go.


Buy Now:



Detailed Specs

Radeon RX 550 Graphics
Boost Clock1287 MHz
Peak Performance1.65 TFLOPs
Memory Size2 GB GDDR5
Memory width128 bit
Effective Memory Speed6 Gbps
Memory Bandwidth96 GB/s

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