Lenovo may be best known for business notebooks, but the gamer- and media-focused IdeaPad Y580 brings some serious graphical chops to the table for an almost startlingly decent price. Even the base version packs a hefty productivity punch and gaming at medium to high details settings. Just don't expect the bells, whistles and gaudy lights found in competing gaming laptops.
Potently punchy. The quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and 8 GB of RAM in the base version blaze through most tasks, with discrete Nvidia GeForce GT660M graphics picking up the slack in visually intensive chores. Gaming at mid-to-high frame rates should be a snap depending on the game, but you'll probably have to stay away from Ultra settings to avoid stuttering performance. Battery life is average at best. All but the base configuration sport a Blu-ray player, which makes the Lenovo laptop an excellent choice for a media PC.
Good, but not great. The hefty component list makes for a mildly hefty laptop, at a hair shy of 6 pounds. The backlit keyboard wins unanimous praise; while the touchpad is generally hailed as responsive and far above average, it's slightly off-center placement irks some reviewers. The port selection is stellar, and included Intel WiDi technology can wirelessly stream HD video to HDTVs, assuming the television has a WiDi adapter (*Est. $100).
Understated excellence. The plain black Lenovo case eschews the typical gaudy gaming look for a more understated and sublime design, which critics approve of. Most reviewers test a step-up model with a full 15.6-inch 1080p display that boasts vibrant, detailed images, especially when playing back the contents of a Blu-ray Disc. The audio is similarly excellent, relying on a mixture of rich JBL speakers and Dolby Home Theater v4 technology.
Don't panic! You don't have anything to worry about when you buy a Lenovo laptop. The company's notebooks are rock-solid reliable, as is its support infrastructure.
Hard to find a better-priced media and gaming laptop. The Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 mixes excellent ergonomics and potent performance at a competitive price. The Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition (*Est. $900 and up) offers similar performance and a 3D-capable display that might entice movie lovers, but only in higher-priced configurations.
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Review credibility: Excellent The Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 earns a 4.5-star rating and an Editors' Choice award in this lengthy testing-based review. The laptop's big size and included bloatware are the only quibbles Ahmer Kazi nitpicks about. "The Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 gives plenty of bang for the buck and almost entirely eliminates the need for a desktop altogether," he writes.
Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Y580, Ahmer Kazi, Aug. 27, 2012
2. Laptop Magazine
Review credibility: Excellent The powerful quad-core processor and discrete Nvidia graphics impress Laptop magazine's Sherri L. Smith enough to convince her to give it a 4-star rating, but the bland design and concerns about the touchpad buttons hold it back from an Editors' Choice award.
Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 (20994HU) Review, Sherri L. Smith, Aug. 7, 2012
3. Computer Shopper
Review credibility: Excellent The IdeaPad Y580 earns a similarly excellent 4-star review at ComputerShopper.com "If you lean toward desktop-caliber performance at a competitive price, the Y580 is an excellent choice," Dave McClintock writes, though he warns that it may be a bit too heavy for frequent travelers.
Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 Review and Ratings, Dave McClintock, Sept. 6, 2012
4. PC World
Review credibility: Excellent The IdeaPad Y580 nabs yet another 4-star review at PC World. "The Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 stands out as packing a punch while remaining economical," Alex Cocilova says, but not without mentioning its average battery life and above average weight.
Review: Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 Review: Powerful -- and Power Hungry, Too, Alex Cocilova, Oct. 2, 2012