The Lenovo IdeaPad Z series is a rung higher than the Essential series. The latter features entry-level hardware that is ideal for those who need a basic laptop for home or office for a low budget. The IdeaPad Z series packs more powerful processor, discrete graphics, better speakers and, of course, better build. So, it is clearly for those who need a laptop to run demanding applications, entertainment and gaming.
Elegant design and powerful configuration
Design and Features
The IdeaPad Z580 is an upgrade to the Z570. You won’t be able to spot the difference between the two so long as the lids are closed. A typical feature of the Z series is the aluminium finish on the exterior of the lid as well as the entire area around the keyboard and the touchpad. The rest of the chassis is black with matte finish.
As per Lenovo’s website, the Z580 is available in four variants, starting from the most affordable one that’s powered by the second-generation Core i3 processor right up to the fully-loaded model powered by the third-generation quad-core Core i7-3612QM processor. We got our hands on the top-end variant, which also features 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard disk, a Blu-ray combo drive and Nvidia GeForce GT630M discrete graphics with 2GB of dedicated memory. The display is 15.6-inch and it has a standard resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. We wish this had been bumped to full HD to complement the Blu-ray drive and the Dolby-enhanced speakers. An addition to Z580 is USB 3.0 ports – you get a pair of them in addition to a pair of USB 2.0 ports. Other features such as Bluetooth, webcam (720p), card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi n and HDMI output are pretty standard.
The lid is reinforced by a metal sheet with brushed finish
If you’ve already seen the Z570, you’ll find that the Z580 has a slightly different layout from the inside. The touchpad doesn’t have separate buttons for left and right click. Instead, the entire touchpad is clickable, which makes it easy to left click because you aren’t forced to use the left mouse button. The right click is detected by the driver when you press down the touchpad with two fingers together or right click the way you would with a regular touchpad. The left and right click buttons are indicated at the base. The touchpad also recognises multi-touch gestures such as pinch to zoom and image rotation. The keyboard is lifted from the Z570 and we like it. Despite the presence of a numeric keypad, the keys are large and well-spaced. Right above the keyboard is a strip of fine mesh under which stereo speakers reside. Further above are touch-sensitive buttons for volume control, mute, OneKey Theater and Sleep. The OneKey Theater button automatically adjusts the screen brightness and enhances audio quality when switched from Normal to Movie mode. Formerly, the indicators for Caps Lock, Power and Battery were placed above the keyboard. In the Z580, they have been moved on the side below the touchpad.
Build Quality and Ergonomics
The Lenovo Z580 gets a premium look and feel thanks to the aluminium finish. The build quality of all the components used in construction is very good. The chassis feels sturdy and so does the screen frame. The hinges are nice and stiff because of which the screen doesn’t wobble too easily with slightest jerks. The quality of the keyboard is also very good, however, the tactile feel could have been much better. The key travel is just as much as needed, but key presses feel slightly mushy. The touchpad has a very good feel and it’s easier to click on the bottom and the centre of the surface. With the finger placed on the top, slightly greater pressure is required. Lenovo has placed all the ports and I/O on the sides for convenient access. The left side has the video outputs (D-sub and HDMI), Ethernet port and USB 3.0 ports. The Blu-ray combo drive, two USB 2.0 ports and jacks for mic and headphones are placed on the right side.
The Z580 is certainly not one of the slimmest!
The Lenovo Z580 packs really serious power. If you’re looking at buying a laptop that will give you more punch than an average mainstream PC, this one is it. It logged 2480 points and a whopping 19583 points in PCMark 7 and 3DMark Vantage (Entry) respectively. It took 37 seconds to compress 100MB of assorted files to 7Zip format (Ultra preset) and about 20 seconds to ray trace a test scene in POV-ray. To give you an idea of what the scores mean, this laptop is almost twice as faster than the fastest Ultrabook in terms of sheer processing power. The sound quality of the speakers is excellent – they are loud and clear. The Nvidia GT 630 graphics processor enables the Z580 to handle games at the native resolution, but with settings lowered.
Touch-sensitive buttons above the keyboard
The battery life is just about average. With the laptop doing nothing else besides scrolling a text document, one full charge lasted for about 3.5 hours. It should last for about 1.5 to 2 hours with medium to heavy load, which is acceptable for the powerful hardware that needs a lot of power to run.
Verdict and Pricing in India
At Rs. 64,990 (end user price), the Lenovo IdeaPad Z580 might come across as expensive. But the quad-core Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive and Blu-ray combo drive quite justify the heavy price tag. If Lenovo would have included a more powerful graphics processor and full HD display, this laptop would have been a killer deal. Nonetheless, if you want plenty of power for serious multitasking and casual gaming, you should consider the Z580.
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