Good overall performance; Sturdy keyboard; Quality webcam; Very affordable
Finicky touchpad; Worse graphics than similarly priced AMD notebooks; Below-average battery life
The Lenovo G580 offers strong Core i5 performance and robust sound for a very low price, but the touchpad can be finicky.
With the G580, Lenovo is targeting those shopping for a quality Windows 8 machine on a tight budget. This notebook offers a Core i5 processor and quality audio for just $469, along with a DVD drive and 500GB of storage. Is this sub-$500 machine as good a bargain as it seems?
Simplistic and minimal, the Lenovo G580's sharp angular corners make it stand out from competitors such as HP's Pavilion Sleekbook line, which come with rounded edges. We also love the way its touchpad blends into the keyboard deck, leaving just the left and right click buttons raised.Acer Aspire V3-551-8458, which measures 15.6 x 9.96 x 0.99 inches and weighs 5.4 pounds. It's also about the same size as the 14.8 x 9.6 x 1.2-inch HP Pavilion G6z-2200, which also weighs 5.2 pounds.
Keyboard and touchpad
The G580's 3.9 x 1.9-inch Elan touchpad was a nuisance during our testing. We liked its small raised dots, but on numerous occasions, the touchpad would misinterpret our cursor movements, either rearranging tiles on the Start screen or launching an app over which we were hovering. However, disabling Tap-to-select in the control panel fixed this issue.
The Lenovo G580's brightness registered 211 lux during our light meter reading, coming just short of the 227 category average for mainstream notebooks. Still, the G580 outshines the HP Pavilion g6z-2200 (159 lux) and Acer Aspire V3-551-8458 (172 lux) by a fair margin.
Audiophiles can optimize the G580's sound for movies, music or games through the Dolby Advanced Audio Editor, which comes with equalizer tools for volume and graphics and a surround virtualizer.
The Lenovo G580 managed to stay relatively cool during our testing. After streaming a video at full screen for 15 minutes, the touchpad registered 81 degrees Fahrenheit, while the area between the G and H keys reached 84 degrees and the laptop's underside hit 77 degrees. We consider anything above 95 degrees to be uncomfortable, and the G580 didn't come close to that threshold.
In a well-lit environment with a mix of natural and fluorescent light, the Lenovo G580's 720p camera captured sharply defined colors. We didn't notice much noise in our images, and colors weren't washed-out or yellowish like we've seen with some other mainstream notebooks, such as the HP Pavilion Touchsmart Sleekbook.
The Lenovo YouCam app lets you capture or edit images and add your own effects. Lenovo's Photos software lets you create gifts such as calendars, mugs and greeting cards with images on your computer. You can also choose to print a photo as a poster or canvas through the software.
Our configuration of the Lenovo G580 scored 2,565 on PCMark 7, which failed to hit the 2,723 category average for mainstream notebooks, but wiped the floor with similarly priced competitors. The Acer Aspire V3-551-8458, which has a 1.9GHz AMD quad-core A8-5400 APU with 6GB of RAM, scored 1,788 while the HP Pavilion Sleekbook g6z-2200 (2.7GHz AMD dual-core A6-4400 processor and 4GB of RAM) only notched 1,731.
On Geekbench, the Lenovo G580's score of 6,560 was just a smidge under the 6,580 category average. The Acer Aspire V3-551-848 and HP Pavilion g6z-2200 didn't even come close to that number, with respective scores of 3,713 and 3,332.
It only took the G580 23 seconds to boot Windows 8, which is about the same as the Acer Aspire V3-551-8458 (0:24) and the HP Pavilion Sleekbook (0:21).
The Lenovo G580 took 3 minutes and 2 seconds to transfer 5GB of mixed media files, equaling a rate of 28 MBps. This falls far below the 40 MBps category average for mainstream notebooks, and is on a par with the Acer Aspire V3-551-8458 (26 MBps) and slightly slower than the HP Pavilion G6z-2200 (34 MBps).
During the OpenOffice Spreadsheet Test, the Lenovo G580 took 4 minutes and 47 seconds to match 20,000 names to their corresponding addresses. This is much speedier than the Aspire V3, which took 10:09, and the Pavilion Sleekbook g6z-2200, which completed the task in 7:35. The G580 even breezed past the mainstream category average of 5:55.
When we played "World of Warcraft" on auto detect settings, the Lenovo G580 mustered a barely playable 27.1 frames per second. This is significantly lower than the Aspire V3-551-8458 (46 fps), but is slightly better than the Pavilion Sleekbook g6z-2200 (21.6 fps). After bumping the settings up to Ultra, the G580's frame rate dropped to 15.1 fps.
Software and warranty
Buyers will get a one-year warranty on major electronic components within the device, including its 6-cell Lithium ion battery. Parts such as the keyboard, hinges, power cord, AC adapter, and plastics are covered by a 90-day mail-in warranty.
Lenovo offers six different configurations of the G580 on its site. The least expensive model costs $329 and comes with a 1.8-GHz Intel Celeron B830 processor, Intel HD Graphics 3000, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB 5400 rpm hard drive. The most expensive configuration (59371416) sells for $623 and features a 2.6-GHz Intel Core i5-3230M processor, an Intel HD Graphics 4000 card, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB 5,400-rpm hard drive.
The $479 version that we reviewed is available through Amazon, and features a 2.5-GHz dual-core Intel Core i5-3210M CPU, 4GB of RAM, Intel HD Graphics 4000, and a 500GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive.
|CPU||2.5GHz Intel Core i5-3210M|
|Operating System||Windows 8|
|RAM Upgradable to||8GB|
|Hard Drive Size||500GB|
|Hard Drive Speed||5,400rpm|
|Hard Drive Type||SATA Hard Drive|
|Secondary Hard Drive Size|
|Secondary Hard Drive Speed|
|Secondary Hard Drive Type|
|Optical Drive||DVD /- RW|
|Optical Drive Speed|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics 4000|
|Touchpad Size||3.8 x 2.9 inches|
|Ports (excluding USB)||mini-VGA|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Headphone|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Ethernet|
|Warranty/Support||1 year warranty|
|Size||14.8 x 9.6 x .68 inches|