The Lenovo G580 is a hulking giant with surprising grace. Its bulky design is offset by its strong performance and quality keyboard.
The Lenovo G580 isn't a looker. Right away, it's obvious that this machine is a budget device. Built like a tank without the durability, this awkward brick of a machine will deter many onlookers. However, the saying "don't judge a book by its cover" may ring true for this budget notebook.
With a surprisingly comfortable keyboard and decent specs, this machine will surprise many. The Intel i5-3210m processor isn't going to blow users away, but it's nothing to scoff at given the machines entry-level price point.
Does the Lenovo G580's solid specs make up for its shoddy build quality? Read the full review to find out.
The Lenovo G580 doesn't hide the fact that it's a budget machine. At first glance the glossy black plastic cover is a dead giveaway. The reflective chassis similar to many other budget devices attracts finger prints quite easily. However, it is worth nothing that the granite texture does a far better job of masking the prints than other devices. A rather small victory, but one that some users (like myself) will enjoy.
Measuring at 14.8" x 9.65" x 1.35" and weighing in the 5.37 lbs. the Lenovo G580 is rather bulky. Despite the machine's large frame, the notebook raises serious durability concerns. The bottom chassis is thick, but that doesn't stop the machine from giving when pressure is applied. Luckily the sheer mass of the device prevents the chassis from giving too much, but even a single finger pressed atop the chassis can causes noticeable flex. The display performs even worse, giving considerably to even small amounts of pressure resulting in noticeable rippling on the screen. The hinges connecting the display and chassis also appear questionable. On our unit the right hinge was loose causing the machine to make an audible cracking noise whenever the display was tilted forward.
Durability could be a serious concern for the Lenovo G580. The device isn't likely to break on its own, but users should take precautions while transporting the device. The fragile display and poor hinge build quality could be a recipe for disaster. The Lenovo G580 should be fine as a stationary device, but users looking to travel often with the device may want to look at other options.
Ports and Features
The budget Lenovo G580 offers a wide selection of ports. The right side of the chassis houses an audio/microphone jack, optical drive, USB 2.0 port, and a power jack. The left side of the machine offers two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, and Ethernet port, and a VGA port.
|Left: VGA, Ethernet, HDMI, two USB 3.0 ports||Right: audio/mic jack, optical drive, USB 2.0 port, power jack|
Not only does the Lenovo offer a solid selection of ports, but the device spaces them adequately with all of the desired ports in reach. It's also nice to see USB ports located on both sides of the machine in case users want to add a USB enabled mouse. For an entry-level notebook the Lenovo G580 offers an impressive amount of connectivity.
Screen and Speakers
The Lenovo G580 includes a 15.6-inch LED-backlit HD display with a standard 1366 x 768 resolution. The display offers a solid viewing experience (especially for a budget device), as the screen offers a crisp clear image with strong color contrast despite the average screen resolution.
The display offers generous horizontal viewing angles, with images holding up well past 100 degrees, making the display suitable for multiple viewers. However, on the vertical plane the display does not hold up as well, showing significant image distortion when the display is titled both forward and backwards.
Equipped with a glossy display the Lenovo G580 offers great color contrast, but it comes at the cost of the display being extremely reflective. Similar to other glossy displays, the Lenovo G580 easily picks up background images on the screen, which is further augmented both by extreme lighting conditions. Under normal lighting conditions images still reflect, but the serious issue arises when in direct light (i.e. using the device outdoors).
The Lenovo G580 speakers match the visual experience, providing more than expected of a budget device. The speakers are located on the bottom front edge of the chassis. Despite being located on the bottom of the device, audio manages to easily emanate from the speakers regardless of the surface area the device rests on.
The speakers themselves provide solid sound quality, boisterous enough to provide audio for a modest sized room. The sound quality remains consistent as the speakers did not provide noticeable distortion even at 100 percent capacity. The sound won't blow users away, but the clear crisp quality is great given the Lenovo's entry-level price point.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Lenovo G580 offers a solid typing experience with a full sized Chiclet style keyboard complete with number pad. The keys are slightly indented providing extra traction. Additionally, the solid key depth and consistent tactile feedback allow users to type quickly with assurance.
The only noticeable downside the keyboard comes as a result of the machines shoddy frame. While the keyboard itself is solid, the chassis that houses it is prone to flexing when extreme pressure is applied. The flexibility of the chassis shouldn't prove to be an issue, but if a user was to apply heavy pressure while typing the keyboard would flex as a result.
While not as impressive as the high quality keyboard, the touchpad (with Elan drivers) is more than serviceable. The touchpad offers a strange design as there is no indent for the pad, causing it to seamlessly blend with the hand-rest. The touchpad does however; sport a textured surface with small braised bumps to highlight the track pad area. The textured surface area does manage to illustrate where the pad begins and ends, but some users may still be confused by the lack of separation between the pad and the chassis. Besides the lack of separation, the layout of the touchpad is fairly basic with a right and left mouse button located on the bottom of the touchpad.
The touchpad works well, as it reads standard swipes and gestures accurately without lag. Multi-finger gestures read fairly well also, though there were a few instances where the touchpad failed to read the input. However, misreads were infrequent enough that it never became a serious issue. The touchpad isn't ideal for sensitive processes such as image editing, but its serviceable for everyday use.
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