Lenovo G580 review: Simple laptop for basic use

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.6
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 6.0
  • Performance: 7.0
  • Battery life: 6.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Lenovo G580 provides good processing performance for the money; it boots quickly; it has a full keyboard with number pad and an optical drive; and its speakers and Webcam perform well.

The Bad The G580 is thick and heavy. Battery life is less than 4 hours. Navigating Windows 8 with the touch pad takes some practice. There was no Bluetooth in the version we reviewed.

The Bottom Line For basics on a budget, the Lenovo G580 gets the job done. Just don't skimp on the configuration.

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There is no glory in being basic or entry-level when it comes to laptops. Yet, for many of us, all the computer that's needed is something that spends most of its time in one place and handles Web browsing, social networking, e-mail, word processing, streaming music and movies, and maybe some light photo and video editing.

The Lenovo G580 is that laptop. Or at least the version of it we tested was, powered by a speedy third-gen Intel Core i5 processor. The G580 comes in several configurations, not all of which are equipped to handle these tasks as smoothly. And even our G580 configuration, while good, is currently not the best you can get for the money from Lenovo.

So, while we like the G580 in general, we wouldn't pay more than $500 for the configuration we tested, and we'd skip the base models running on Intel Celeron processor.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Lenovo G580 looks the part of a simple bare-bones laptop. The lid is a glossy, glittery, deep dark brown polycarbonate that, as long as you clean your fingerprints from it, would look very nice sitting on a home office desk. The dark brown continues inside, while the bottom of the chassis is nondescript matte black. It's definitely a laptop that blends in with its surroundings.

Price as reviewed $499.99
Processor 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-3210M
Memory 4GB, 1,600MHz DDR3
Hard drive 500GB 5,400rpm
Chipset Intel HM77
Graphics Intel HD4000
Operating system
Dimensions (WD) 14.8 x 9.6 inches
Height 1.3 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 15.6 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 5.7/6.0 pounds
Category Midsize

Compared to all of the slender and light ultrabooks we've seen lately, the G580 is a giant. Generally speaking, the lighter and thinner a laptop is, the higher the price, so the G580's less travel-friendly dimensions make sense. It's not a system you'll necessarily want to hump around everyday, but fine for room-to-room excursions around the house or office.

You get a full keyboard and number pad with the G580. One benefit of having a thicker body is that you actually get a decent amount of key travel when typing compared with the island-style keyboards on thinner models. It's not a lot, but at least it feels like the keys are moving. The size and shape of the keys are overall very good, though the right Shift key is shrunken, which took some adjustment. It's also not backlit, which is to be expected at this price

.

Above the left side of the keyboard are the power button and another button with a small arrow on it. This launches Lenovo's OneKey Recovery software for system backups and recovery. It's a nice extra for an entry-level laptop that requires almost no effort to use.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

The G580's touch pad is seamless with the palm rest, set off by a rectangle of microbumps above its two large mouse buttons. It's just large enough not to be frustrating to use and plenty responsive to handle Windows 8 functions like opening the Charms bar on the right or flipping through open applications. It handled palm drags while typing pretty well, but it would sometimes recognize a finger drag as a double tap, which could inadvertently launch an app or drag files or Start menu tiles around accidentally.

The glossy 1,366x768-pixel native resolution LCD is good, but in a world filled with high-resolution displays, it looks dated. Off-angle viewing isn't great, but viewed directly head on or just off to the sides is fine and it gets reasonably bright for its class. It's not a touch screen, though, so the Windows 8 experience isn't the best; check out the Acer Aspire V5 , which is about the same price, but adds a touch screen.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Above the screen is a built-in Webcam that did well in our Skype tests. White balance was better than we've seen from competing models, so even in incandescent or fluorescent lighting, our room looked bright and white and not yellow. It did well in low-light conditions, too; noisy, but reasonably so.

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Where to Buy

Lenovo Essential G500 - 59372004 - Black - 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3230M (2.60GHz 1600MHz 3MB)

Part Number: 59371414
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Regional specs shown for US. AU specs are unavailable.

  • Resolution 1366 x 768 ( HD )
  • Installed Size 4 GB
  • Color dark brown glossy
  • Weight 5.7 lbs
  • Optical Drive DVD-Writer - fixed - tray
  • Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • CPU Intel Core i5 (3rd Gen) 3210M / 2.5 GHz