Lhmzniy A9 review
Little known outside its native China, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the name ‘Lhmzniy’ barely raises an eyebrow in the UK. In fact, most people would have a hard time pronouncing the Shenzhen-based company’s name.
Nonetheless, the Lhmzniy A9 is a fully featured Windows 10 laptop that combines powerful internals with a remarkably affordable price. It sounds great on paper, but how well can it truly hold up to day-to-day usage?
A flawed screen
The screen is arguably the most important aspect of any laptop, so it makes sense to talk about it first here. The A9 model I tested comes with a 14.1in 1920×1080 panel, although there’s also a 15.6in variant at the same resolution. On both sizes, it maintains the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio we’ve seen on laptops for many years.
All this sounds perfectly acceptable, but unfortunately the A9’s screen is a big let down.
The main issue I ran into is poor visibility. With a maximum recorded brightness of just 200 nits, it pales in comparison to many displays on the market. Modern laptops regularly exceed 300 nits of brightness, and unfortunately it shows. I had trouble using the A9 in any bright environment, while using it in direct sunlight is out of the question.
When you do find an environment that’s dark enough to see the screen comfortably, the display itself is still slightly underwhelming. Although a Full HD panel, colours on the A9 often seem washed out and lacking the vibrancy of similarly priced laptops. This shouldn’t be much of an issue for word processing or checking email, but I’d definitely think twice before using the A9 for content consumption.
A familiar design language
The screen is far from the only key aspect of a laptop, and I’m pleased to report it’s a more positive story when looking at the A9’s design as a whole.
It comes sporting a fairly traditional clamshell design, with the lack of branding of any description the most notable omission. Besides this one quirk, the exterior of the A9 is relatively unremarkable, with a silver aluminium finish stretching all the way around its outside.
While the screen isn’t up to scratch, its accompanying chocolate keyboard is much more impressive. It offers a good level of travel and feels very responsive, while unlike many laptop keyboards it stretches right to the edges of the device. The backlit keys offer two different brightness levels, meaning this laptop is undoubtedly better suited for use in low light.
The impressively slim bezels mean the webcam has shifted below the display, although this sits on the hinge as opposed to being built-in to one of the keys. It features a useful privacy shutter to physically block the camera when not in use, but the problems associated with such an unflattering angle remain. A 2Mp sensor means the quality of stills and video leaves plenty to be desired.
It also doesn’t support Windows Hello for face unlock, so without a fingerprint sensor you’ll have to enter your PIN or password each time you unlock the A9. As with any modern device, that quickly becomes frustrating.
The hinge itself is also a point of concern here. Aside from a bolt upright position, the A9 struggles to maintain any more acute angles without closing on itself.
To conclude this section on a positive note, I’m impressed with the selection of ports here. In addition to the charging port and 3.5mm headphone jack, you also get an HDMI port, 2 USB-A and an SD card reader.
Packing a punch
Aside from screen size, both models of the A9 are virtually identical when it comes to internals. An Intel Celeron 367U processor is combined with Intel HD Graphics 610.
The version I tested also came with 16GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, although the latter can be dialled all the way up to 1TB. From my previous experience with laptops, I’d recommend stepping up to at least 256GB if you plan on using this as your primary machine, particularly without the option for microSD expansion.
Despite the promotional materials suggesting it’s well-suited to gaming, I wouldn’t suggest picking this up if you’re serious about AAA games on your PC. It’s also likely to struggle with high-resolution video editing, but for most other tasks it seemed to cope just fine.
As such, the following benchmarks don’t feel representative of my experience with the device. When compared to many of the best budget laptops on the market, it suggests the A9 is significantly inferior.
Unfortunately, some rather intensive cooling measures result in an extremely loud fan noise, which kicks in as soon as you log on. In a world where many laptop fans are nearly silent, it sticks out like a sore thumb.
It is worth noting that the A9 ships with Windows 10 Pro, which offers improved security and remote desktops when compared to Windows 10 Home. It’s nice to see the most advanced version of Windows here, particularly as it would usually cost hundreds of pounds to upgrade.
An average battery
The A9 comes with a 38Wh battery, consisting of two 5000mAh cells.
In our video loop battery test with the brightness set to 120 nits, it lasted 6 hours and 26 minutes. That’s a below average performance, although roughly in line with the claimed 5 hours of screen time and 12 hours of standby time.
I had no issues with the battery life, but definitely wouldn’t be confident if forced into an extended period away from the charger.
With my review unit shipped from China, it’s no surprise the A9 came with an adapter. If you buy your device from Gearbest the situation may be the same, although there’s likely to be support for a UK plug via Amazon.
Nonetheless, I had no issues with charging, and the A9 was able to charge 34% in 30 minutes from off. That means you’re looking at around 90 minutes for a full charge.
Price and value for money
The baseline 14.1in A9 model that I tested comes with 16GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. It’s available for £368.28 from Gearbest, while stepping up all the way to a 1TB SSD will set you back £474.58.
What’s more, until 30 June Gearbest is offering discounts on the other configurations with the use of coupons. You can get the 256GB model for £259.47 by entering the code ‘Q4A4782ACEA27000′ at checkout, while the 512GB version is available for £288.76 with the code ‘N4A477E178627001.
The 256GB version is also available on Amazon, from where you can get the 15.6in version (16GB+256GB) for £419.99. It’s worth noting that buying from Amazon means significantly shorter delivery times.
Despite the variation in price, this puts the Lhmzniy A9 firmly in budget laptop territory. The A9 struggles to compete with the likes of the Lenovo IdeaPad S340 and Honor MagicBook 14, although they are truly excellent devices for the price.
Nonetheless, it offers pretty decent value for money, particularly considering even the cheapest model is more than usable.
Lhmzniy avoids the tendency of many laptops to pair a capable processor with paltry offerings of RAM, and performance on the A9 benefits hugely as a result. Paired with Windows 10 Pro it offers an excellent user experience, while the excellent chocolate keyboard makes typing a joy.
But you won’t be looking at the keyboard much, and the screen above it is a real disappointment. Its Full HD resolution is good on paper, but colours lack vibrancy and visibility is extremely poor in any situation with bright lighting.
The speakers perform well, but unfortunately it’s another sound that dominates the experience – an extremely loud fan. It kicks in as soon as you turn on the A9, and is a constant reminder of the laptop’s aggressive cooling system.
Compromises are inevitable at this affordable price point, but the A9’s drawbacks are hard to ignore.
Lhmzniy A9: Specs
- 14.1in/15.6in 1920×1080 display
- Intel Celeron 3867U processor
- Intel HD Graphics 610
- 16GB RAM, 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB SSD
- Windows 10 Pro
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