Lenovo G580 review: Simple laptop for basic use

The front-firing stereo speakers were another surprise. They delivered loud and full sound for a budget laptop, and not the thin, tinny audio we've come to expect. A decent set of headphones or external speakers would still be more enjoyable, but for casual music listening and video watching they were good.

Lenovo G580 Average for category [midsize]
Video HDMI, VGA VGA plus HDMI or DisplayPort
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jack Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, SD card reader 2 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, SD card reader
Networking Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Optical drive DVD burner DVD burner

The ports and connections on the G580 are about what we would expect to find on a budget-friendly system. The one disappointment is the lack of built-in Bluetooth. While there are G580s with this wireless feature, our configuration did not have it, and for $500 it really should. You do get two USB 3.0 ports, though, as well as a VGA output and a DVD burner, which are becoming scarce these days.

Sarah Tew/CNET

As we mentioned earlier, the G580 comes in a handful of preconfigured versions available at retail or direct from Lenovo. The exact configuration we tested may have been priced better at some point, but as of this review it was a little high for what you're getting. Our suggestion: If you're interested in this model, look for a version with at least a Core i5 processor, 6GB of memory, a 500GB hard drive, and Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics. It should be priced around the $500 mark for that configuration; if it's significantly more, look elsewhere.

There are less expensive versions with Intel Celeron and Core i3 processors, but the value for those just isn't the same; spending a little extra money will get you much better performance.

And this configuration does get you good performance for the money, at least for processor-intensive tasks. The integrated graphics were enough to handle casual gaming and some light video and photo editing, but doing anything more demanding will not be a good experience.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Battery life is also not a strong suit for the G580. It's not horrible, but you definitely won't want to travel without its small power supply. In our video playback test, the battery lasted 3 hours and 27 minutes. With some power management, you should be able to get up to 4 hours with this configuration.

Conclusion The Lenovo G580 delivers on its promise of essential computing at an affordable price. The sub-$500 Core i5 version we tested isn't the biggest-bang-for-your-buck G580 available right now, though, so be sure to look over the system specifications so you get the most for your money.

Multimedia multitasking test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Apple iTunes encoding test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Video playback battery drain test
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Load test (average watts)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test Windows laptops.

System configurations:

Lenovo G580
Windows 8 (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 3210M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 32MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 500GB Seagate 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite U845t-S4165
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Core i5-3337U; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 32MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 128GB Toshiba SSD

Asus VivoBook S500C
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 32MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 500GB HD + 24GB SSD

HP Pavilion TouchSmart 15 Sleekbook
Windows 8 (64-bit) w/sp 1; 1.8GHz AMD A8-455M APU; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 512MB (Shared) AMD Radeon HD 7600G; 750GB Seagate 5400rpm

Dell Inspiron 15z
Windows 8 (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 32MB (Shared) Intel HD 4000; 500GB HD + 32GB SSD

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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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

MSRP: $529.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • 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