Lenovo E485 Review


E485 with open lid

While working with my old Aspire VN7-591G, i found that i needed a new notebook, one that is designed to be portable and to last longer than two hours.

That was when i stumbled across the brand new Lenovo E485 - a AMD Ryzen R5 2500u powered notebook, which supposedly has a good battery life of about nine hours (we’ll find out if that’s true) and modern hardware.

Hardware + specs

My E485 came with a Ryzen r5 2500u, eight gigabytes of RAM aswell as the 65Wh fast-charger featuring a usb type-c connector, which is very nice. Charging adapter

Powering on the E485

Booting up windows only took a few seconds until cortana greeted me with her (loud) voice. She guided me through the initial configuration of Windows 10 1709.

After i uninstalled Candycrush and its fellows, the lenovo updater notified me about a firmware update to version 1.25 (even though 1.27 was readily available online), which i promptly installed.

On the next boot, i searched Windows Update to find out that i needed quite a lot of updates. While installing updates, the CPU never went above 50%, on my previous Acer, which featured a Intel i5 4210H 2 core 4 thread CPU, Updates were easily taking up to 100% of the CPU power, not to mention that i had to plug the AC or the battery would die within a few minutes.

A notebook would not be a notebook without a keyboard, a trackpad and some sort of mouse-button emulaton.

The keyboard is by far better than any keyboard i had used before, the keys have very nice pressure points and react quickly to presses, it’s hard to type the wrong key by accident.

The trackpad serves me well browsing the internet, two-finger scrolling some documents, or just precisely following the lead of my fingers - sliding over the non-gluey trackpad.

I can not say that i like the mouse-keys as much as the keyboard, they are not very precise. Not pressing the exact center of the mouse-keys might lead to no reaction on the screen, which is especially bad when you try to scroll large document with the nub and the middle-button.
The mouse buttons are not very noisy when clicked, it’s more of a quiet clonk than a click.

Word of caution : the E485 is a fingerprint magnet. Palm rest, cover, or trackpad does not matter, the E485 loves to show you your fingerprints.

Display

The display is not the brightest one i’ve seen, it is quite dark, even on maximum brightness, but enough to use it while sun is shining through your window.

The colors are not washed out or vibrant - they are good enough to read text and watch some movies. Graphic designers should step away from this device.

Noise

While typing this review, the E485 was almost completely silent, the fans did spin sometimes, but then only for a short time. They are definitely audible in a silent environment, but they did not really bother me at all.

Once you plug in the AC adapter the fans will spin up a lot more frequently and stay on for longer than in battery mode.

The good thing about the fans is, even while benchmarking the device, or running a few light games, their volume would stay in a acceptable range.

Battery life

At 39% charge left, the E485 shows a little over 2:30 hours left on the clock. This is with WiFi turned on, 70% display brightness, Google Chrome in the background and Hugo recompiling the blog post on every single save.

Watching YouTube videos turned out to be a hassle, VP9 encoded videos would randomly lead to a Bluescreen. Bluescreen: VIDEO_SCHEDULER_INTERNAL_ERROR

I managed to work around that by using the Google Chrome extension h264ify which allowed me to force YouTube to only deliver h264/AVC encoded videos. Sadly that meant that i can not enjoy 4k@60fps videos, since most of them are only available with VP9. (this did not bother me at all)

Benchmarks

Maybe it’s because i only got single channel RAM, but the Cinebench R15 score does not look very compelling to me.
Other people manage to get about 35-ish FPS and about 500-550 CPU score.
Cinebench: OpenGL = 25.08, CPU = 468

Update

After i updated the BIOS to 1.27, and fixed my broken Windows bootloader after the BIOS update, the Cinebench score went up to almost 600 points for the CPU and almost 30 FPS for the OpenGL benchmark. This is quite impressive, but i can not imagine that it was the firmware update to 1.27 that increased the score, rather i think windows was doing some voodoo the first time i benchmarked. (i did 5 benchmarks and took the best one for this review)
Cinebench: OpenGL = 29.74, CPU = 594

GNU/Linux

I tried running Fedora 28, which would not go past GRUB without a special boot option ivrs_ioapic[32]=00:14.0 found by Evilazrael.de.

When i finally got Fedora up and running, it randomly freezed after some time.
Watching a Video on YouTube drastically reduced the battery life, did not matter if it was a VP9 or h264/AVC encoded video.
While idling i only managed to get about 3-4 hours of battery life on linux, compared to Windows’ 6 hours.