The Bottom Line
Jan 31 2013 - Lenovo may have left the major 17-inch laptop market but their G780 is a surprising budget offering for those wanting a larger screen which some graphics capabilities behind it. This is one of the least expensive models out there to feature NVIDIA graphics. The design is hampered though by the omission of a USB 3.0 port for external storage options. This means that buyer's will have to weight the tradeoff between graphics and storage. If you don't expect to store many files, then this is an excellent choice but if you don't need the graphics then some other options might be a better fit.
- Affordable Price Tag
- Dedicated Graphics Processor
- Lacks USB 3.0 Ports
- Keyboard Feels More Cramped
- Intel Core i5-3210M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 17.3" WSXGA+ (1600x900) Display With VGA Webcam
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 635M Graphics With 2GB Memory
- Fast Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Four USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 4-in-1 Card Reader
- 16.4" x 10.7" x 1.8" @ 6.6 lbs.
- Windows 8, Office Starter, McAfee Anti-Virus
Review - Lenovo G780
Jan 31 2013 - Lenovo has shift much of its focus on smaller screen laptops which makes the G780 very different from their usual lineup. This is a budget focused model which is both good and bad. In terms of the exterior, it has a very basic design that relies heavily on plastics that just does not have the same level of feel as the IdeaPad models.
The heart of the Lenovo G780 is the Intel Core i5-3210M dual core processor. This isn't a high end processor by any means but should provide sufficient performance for the average computer user that tends to browse the web, watch streaming video or using some productivity programs. It is matched up with 4GB of DDR3 memory which runs smooth enough with the Windows 8 operating system but this is one area that buyers will likely want to consider spending a bit to upgrade it to 8GB for a smoother overall experience.
Since this is a budget oriented system, storage is a bit less than you average 17-inch laptop thanks to a 500GB hard drive. The drive is also of a 5400rpm spin rate variety which means that it isn't as quick when booting up or loading programs as much of the competition. The big disappointment though is the external expansion capabilities. The chassis only provides USB 2.0 peripheral ports which offer limited external performance compared to the USB 3.0 standard. In fact, this is pretty much the only 17-inch unit on the market to lack such a peripheral port. It still does provide a DVD burner for playback and recording of CD or DVD media even though the physical format is not as relevant for many computer users as it once was.
Graphics are one of the big surprising for the Lenovo G780 laptop. The screen is pretty typical of the budget oriented 17-inch panels. It offers a native resolution of 1600x900 which is certainly much higher than the typical budget laptop with a smaller screen that relies on a 1366x768 resolution. The panel isn't going to stand out for its color, brightness or viewing angles but it is quite functional. What really sets this system apart though is the NVIDIA GeForce GT 635M graphics processor. Most systems in this price range rely on the Intel HD Graphics built into the CPU. This isn't a high end dedicated processor but it provides a greater flexibility for the system. For instance, it can be used for casual PC gaming at lower resolutions and detail levels that wouldn't be considered with the integrated graphics. In addition, it allows for a broader range of non-3D applications that can be accelerated such as Photoshop.
The keyboard design for the Lenovo G780 is slightly different from the other Lenovo models primarily because this is a larger system. It offers nice isolated keys that the company has moved to that is generally pretty good. The only real problem is that the right hand side keys including the shift key are a bit cramped in order to fit the numeric keypad. There is a large amount of space on the left and right such that they could have provided a bit more space. The trackpad is a decent size and features a dedicated rocker bar style button rather than integrated ones. It is a decent trackpad but nothing really stands out for it and multitouch gestures are generally well supported with a few that need multiple attempts to work.
The battery pack for the Lenovo G780 uses a fairly typical 48WHr variety that is found in the majority of laptops. In digital video playback testing, this resulted in just over three and a half hours before going into standby mode. This is fairly typical for most 17-inch laptops in this price range. It still falls well short of the Dell Inspiron 17R that is a bit more expensive but uses a lower power processor along with a larger battery pack to achieve just under 5 hours.
With a price tag of around $600 for the Lenovo G780 is definitely one of the most affordable budget systems. There are a couple of notable competitors in this market segment. The ASUS X75A can be found for the same price with roughly the same configuration but with a USB 3.0 port and relying on integrated graphics. The Dell Inspiron 17R I've previously mentioned is a bit more expensive at $700 but offers longer running times, bigger hard drive and USB 3.0 ports but at a slightly lower general performance. Finally, the HP Pavilion g7 is more affordable but relies on the AMD platform which has less general performance.