While Lenovo is known for its business notebooks, the company has been making consumer machines for a while now. The Lenovo G570 ($749) is a 15-inch laptop that has a little more flair than its ThinkPad cousins, featuring a glossy lid and a metal palm rest. But you also get ThinkPad-like amenitites, including an AccuType keyboard. Add to that a fast Intel Core i5 processor and a roomy 500GB hard drive and you've got a solid system.
With the exception of a little swoop toward the back, the Lenovo G570 looks rather bland when closed. A bright chrome Lenovo logo adds a bit of personality, but the glossy plastic dark-brown lid is a fingerprint magnet. The notebook's interior looks better, thanks to its black brushed-aluminum deck. The black matte keyboard resides in a recessed space surrounded by a thin strip of darker chrome. The touchpad is also slightly recessed and surrounded by a thin strip of lighter chrome.
Located above the keyboard to the left are the power button and a button to launch the OneKey Recovery software. In terms of aesthetics, we prefer the HP Pavilion dv6t's sleek brushed-aluminum exterior and interior; its dark umber finish with silver accents helped highlight the notebook's rounded edges and more elegant, cleaner lines.
Measuring 14.8 x 9.8 x .6 - 1.3 inches and weighing 5.2 pounds, the G570 is easy to move around the home or office and was light enough for an hour and a half of a standing-room-only subway trip.
Keyboard and TouchPad
Lenovo packs an island-style keyboard with a full number pad on the G570. Similar to the ThinkPad Edge line, the large AccuType "smile-shaped" keys are generously spaced and provided nice, firm feedback. While it's one of the better keyboards we've tested on a consumer notebook, we took issue with the un-dersized right Shift and Enter keys, especially during the Ten Thumbs Typing Test. We consistently scored 40 words per minute with a four-percent error rate, which is a bit worse than our usual 50 wpm and one-percent error rate.
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The 3.5 x 1.7-inch touchpad has slightly raised dots, creating a pleasant texture for our fingers to glide on. Selecting text and moving text within a document was quick and responsive. Pinch-to-zoom worked fairly well, although we noticed some lag, and rotating photos didn't always work on the first try. Two-finger scrolling was too quick and oversensitive, but three-finger flicking was smooth. We appreciated the two large touchpad buttons, which clicked firmly.
Display and Audio
The G570 comes with a glossy and bright 15.6-inch anti-glare widescreen display with a native resolution of 1366 x 768. We saw beautiful images during the Transformers: Dark of the Moon trailer; Rosie Huntington-Whitely's blue eyes popped amidst all the wanton destruction, as did Optimus Prime's red and blue chassis as he chopped Decepticons to bits.
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Music got loud on the G570, but it sounded somewhat flat. While the speakers were powerful enough to fill a small room, the bass line in Katy Perry's "E.T." was lacking, and the synthesized instrumental sounded distorted. When we listened to Drake's monotone warbling on "Marvin's Room," we heard non-existent bass. You'll want to stay away from the max volume setting to avoid harsher-sounding audio.
This is one cool customer. After streaming video on a full screen video on Hulu for 15 minutes, the G570's touchpad registered 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The space between the G and H keys was a little warmer at 93 degrees, while the notebook's bottom came in at a lap-friendly 88 degrees.
Ports and Webcam
The right side of the G570 houses a USB 2.0 port, a DVD burner, a headphone jack, and a microphone jack. On the front sit a 5-in-1 card reader and a wireless on/off switch. The left side features three USB 2.0 ports, one of which doubles as an eSATA port. There is also a HDMI port, VGA, Ethernet, and a Ken-sington secure lock. We woud've liked to seen a USB 3.0 port, though.
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Using the included Cyberlink YouCam software, the G570's 2-megapixel webcam recorded bright, clear video under the florescent lighting in our office. However, when we used Skype, a caller reported that we appeared rather dark and that there was blurring when we began to move. The audio, however, came through loud and clear without any background noise.
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For an added measure of security, the G570 comes with Lenovo's VeriFace face-recognition software. After a five-minute setup process (which involved scanning our face five times), the app quickly unlocked the notebook with a quick facial scan.
Powered by a 2.3-GHz Intel Core i5-2410M CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive, the G570 has the guts to handle nearly any task. On PCMark Vantage, the G570 scored 6,291, besting the 5,550 mainstream category average as well as the ASUS K53E (5,729), which also has a Core i5-2410M CPU with 6GB of RAM. However, the Pavilion dv6t's 2.3-GHz Intel Core i5-2410M CPU and 6GB of RAM notched an even higher score of 6,673. During our real-world testing, the G570 was able to stream a full-screen Hulu video while simultaneously running a full system scan with 13 tabs open in Google Chrome and nine open in Internet Explorer.
Using Lenovo's RapidBoot technology (which delays launching pre-oaded system files and hardware set-tings) the G570 posted a speedy 35-second boot-up time--30 seconds faster than the average and twice as fast as the K53E and dv6t, which booted in 70 and 72 seconds, respectively.
The G570's 500GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive took 3 minutes and 27 seconds to duplicate 4.97GB of mixed-media files for a rate of 23.4 MBps, failing to match the 26.8 MBps average. The K35E's 640GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive was faster (29.4 MBps), as was the dv6t's 640GB, 7,200-rpm drive (30.1 MBps).
During our Oxelon Transcoding Test (converting a 114MB MP4 file to AVI using Oxelon Media Encoder), the G570 took 58 seconds. This showing beat out the category average (1:10) but not the dv6t (0:50) or the ASUS (46 seconds).
Graphics and Gaming
While the G570's integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 card has a sufficient amount of get up and go, gamers should look elsewhere. On 3DMark06, the G570 scored 4,552--594 points higher than the main-stream average (3,958). However, the dv6t's switchable graphics (Intel HD Graphics 3000, AMD Radeon HD 6490M Graphics) was the clear winner, scoring 5,826.
When we played World of Warcraft on the recommended settings at 1366 x 768, the G570 was able to muster 36 fps, playable but far below the 68 fps average. The K35E did slightly better with 40 fps, while the dv6t continued to dominate with 54 fps. When we switched to maximum settings, the G570 failed to hit the 26 fps mainstream average with 14 and 20 fps respectively, but the Pavilion was on par with the average.
When we switched to Far Cry 2, the G570 posted an unsatisfying 22 fps on autodetect, 16 below the av-erage (38 fps). Meanwhile, we were able to get an impressive 68 fps from the dv6t. Cranking it up to maximum, the G570 registered a measly 13 fps while the Pavilion dropped to 23 fps.
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During the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi), the G570 lasted 4 hours and 52 minutes, outlasting the category average (4:29). The dv6t lasted just slightly longer, at 5:05. However, the K53E lasted nearly an hour longer, at 5:43.
The G570's Atheros AR9285 802.11b/g/n card performed well during the first portion of the LAPTOP Wireless test, delivering a data rate of 48 Mbps at 15 feet from our router, besting the 36.7 Mbps category average. When we increased the distance to 50 feet, the G570 fell below the 21.8 Mbps average with a score of 13.8 Mbps. The notebook also has Bluetooth 2.1+EDR.
Our $749 review configuration of the G570 has a 2.3-GHz Intel Core i5-2410M CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive, and an Intel Integrated HD Graphics 3000 GPU. The entry-level model costs $499 and comes with a 2-GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core B940M CPU, 2GB of RAM, a 500GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive, and Intel Integrated HD Graphics 3000. The premium $899 configuration has the same processor as our review unit, but comes equipped with 8GB of RAM and a 750GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive.
Software and Warranty
The G570 comes with Lenovo OneKey Recovery to back up your system files or create a recovery disk, as well as Lenovo DirectShare for sharing your files and photos with another notebook via USB cable. Le-novo Games Console is a web portal that features a number of games across a number of genres (Action, Arcade, Cards, Fantasy Sports, and Strategy). Third-party software includes video conferencing service Oovoo, Microsoft Office Starter, and a 60-day free trial of McAfee VirusScan Plus.
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The G570 comes with a one-year party and labor warranty as well as a one-year system battery protection. See how Lenovo fared in our Best & Worst Brands feature and this year's Tech Support Showdown.
The Lenovo G570 offers a solid computing experience, but it's not our favorite 15-inch laptop. For $749, you get a comfy typing experience, strong overall performance, and one of the fastest boot times we've seen on a Windows machine. However, the smudge-prone lid is a turn-off, and you don't get USB 3.0. For about the same price, the HP Pavilion dv6t offers a more stylish metal design, discrete graphics, and Beats audio to boot. The Lenovo G570 is worth a look, but you can do better.