Finding the best all-around notebook for home, school, and light business use—you know, a machine that displays photos, plays music and videos, and runs mainstream office applications well—can be daunting. There’s just so many of them, and they vary so widely in price and features. Wouldn’t it be easier to just throw up your hands and buy a more costly laptop that does everything well?
That’s fine—if money doesn’t matter. Otherwise, not taking the time to match your notebook to your needs could easily entail spending more—perhaps several hundred dollars’ worth of more—than you have to. That’s a lot of money for most folks, nowadays. Here’s one viable suggestion: Lenovo’s recently released $729.99 IdeaPad Z580, which should do everything—well, almost everything—well enough for the majority of students and business buyers.
If you need powerful graphics processing for high-end gaming and other sophisticated 3D-graphics-rendering tasks, though, you might want to step up to a machine like Lenovo’s IdeaPad Y580 (we’ve got a review of that model forthcoming), or perhaps the IdeaPad Y480 we reviewed last month. These models have discrete graphics processors for speeding up graphics rendering. You can pick up either for around $1,000, depending, of course, on screen size and other options.
If you don’t need a graphics workhorse, though, this particular $729 IdeaPad, which Lenovo touts as primarily a multimedia machine, is an impressive all-around everyday-computing notebook. Its roomy 15.6-inch screen displays images, videos, and Web sites respectably for a machine in this price range, and it comes with an impressive array of expansion ports and connectivity options. In addition, it’s built around Intel’s latest Third-Generation (“Ivy Bridge”) dual-core processor. That, in particular, makes it more powerful and more viable long-term than most other machines in this price range, especially some earlier low-cost 15-inch models.
Is it perfect? Well, no. You can’t expect perfect at this price. But it’s practical, and it does what it’s designed to do reasonably well. We liked this laptop—the Dolby-enhanced sound system particularly impressed us, as did the large 750GB storage capacity and generous 6GB allotment of RAM. So did its overall performance. It turned in strong scores on our slate of benchmark tests, and even the removable battery (a feature less common than it used to be) lasted longer than on several competing models.
Our take overall? The IdeaPad Z580 is a well-built, strong-performing notebook well worth its $729 price.
Read full review at Computer Shopper.