The Bottom Line
Apr 10 2013 - Lenovo's updated Essential G580 offers some nice fixes to the past version that bring items like HDMI and USB 3.0 that the G570 lacked but it is the performance that really sets it apart. For $500, it comes with a slightly faster processor and 6GB of memory. It also features Lenovo excellent keyboard designs that is a joy to work with. The only big downside is that this is still a rather heavy laptop in an age of thinner and lighter systems that make it less portable than many newer offerings.
- Above Average Performance For Price
- Excellent Keyboard
- Rather Heavy
- Intel Core i3-3210M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 6GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 15.6" WXGA (1366x768) Display With 1.0 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 4000 Integrated Graphics
- Fast Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth
- One USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 2-in-1 Card Reader
- 14.8" x 9.6" x 1.2" @ 5.7 lbs.
- Windows 8
Review - Lenovo Essential G580
Apr 10 2013 - The Lenovo Essential G series laptops have been on the market for some time and offer some of the lowest prices for their laptops. The design for the most part remains unchanged with the G580 but this is a pretty minimal feature design compared to the IdeaPad and ThinkPad models. Most of the changes are a few upgrades on the internals rather than a redesign.
Lenovo's Essential G580 packs in a bit more power than you typically see within a $500 laptop. It uses the Intel Core i3-3210M dual core processor and features 6GB of memory rather than your standard 4GB. This provides it wit ha smoother experience when multitasking within Windows 8 and it can complete more demanding tasks a bit faster. Mind you, this is still a budget class system so things like digital video work will still be slower than laptops with faster dual core and quad core processors.
Storage features remain unchanged for the G580 and are typical of most laptops in this price range. The main storage is handled by a 500GB hard drive that provides it with a good amount of space for applications, data and media files. The only downside is that this is a 5400rpm drive which means that it is definitely slow for things like booting compared to the newer class of ultrabooks that match hard drives for storage with small SSD caches. There is a single USB 3.0 port for use with high speed external drives if you need additional space. It also features a dual-layer DVD burner for playback and recording of CD or DVD media.
The display for the Lenovo G580 is essentially unchanged from past models and is your standard 15.6-inch TN technology panel. This means that the native resolution is 1366x768 which feels very large compared to the high resolution displays found on many tablets these days. Viewing angles are color and not as good as more expensive screens but this isn't uncommon for laptops in the $500 price range. The graphics have been upgraded thanks to the Core i3 processor that now features the Intel HD Graphics 4000. While this does offer improved 3D performance, it still isn't really suited for PC gaming unless it is only titles and on lower resolution and detail levels. It does offer improved performance for encoding video media when using Quick Sync compatible applications.
Lenovo has generally offered some of the better keyboards on the market and the general design and layout of the G580 is quite good. It offers a comfortable and accurate typing experience but it does have a slight issue with some of the right hand keys in order to fit the numeric keypad. The trackpad Is of a good size and uses a rocker bar dedicated button design rather than integrated buttons. It works well enough although a few of the multitouch gestures in Windows 8 do have problems at times.
The battery pack for the Lenovo G580 uses the same 48WHr capacity one that is found in past models. Lenovo rates this at up to six hours of usage. In digital video playback testing, this resulted in four and a half hours before going into standby mode. This puts it a little higher than most other laptops in this price range but only by a margin of fifteen minutes to a half hour. this still isn't as long as some of the lower power laptops on the market such as the HP Envy Sleekbook 6 that can achieve five and a half hours.
Priced just under $500, the Lenovo G580 is among a large number of full size 15-inch laptops. It offers a bit more performance and memory than most of the competition but there are some notable competitors. This includes the Acer Aspire V3-551G, Dell Inspiron 15 and Toshiba Satellite L855. The Acer uses a quad core AMD A8 processor that provides it with better multitasking and graphics but has shorter battery life and no Bluetooth. The Dell Inspiron 15 relies on lower power consuming Core i3 for good battery life which also allows for a thinner and lighter design. Finally, the Toshiba is more affordable with a larger hard drive but with less performance.