Lenovo Ideapad Z585 review
We appreciated the gaming power and excellent keyboard of this laptop, but competition is stiff at this price
Review Date: 15 May 2013
Price when reviewed: £399
Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides
The Lenovo Ideapad Z585 has the same chassis as the Z580, which we found was a seriously impressive laptop when we reviewed it last year. Unfortunately, this means that the Z585 has the same somewhat insensitive touchpad - we're not fans of its integrated buttons, either, which again seemed unresponsive at times.
By contrast, the keyboard is fantastic. Although the keys are spaced widely apart, it's a slight departure from the standard, very flat, Chiclet-style affair found on most laptops. The slightly curved keys are deeper and more responsive than most, and we found this kind of layout easy for touch-typing. There's a skinny numeric keypad on the right of the keyboard, which means the spacebar and touchpad are offset towards the left-hand edge of the laptop. There's still enough room on the wrist rest for your hands to be comfortable, although it may worry those with bear paws. The touchpad is slightly recessed and we never found ourselves knocking it accidentally, so our text cursor stayed where we last put it.
The Z585's 15.6in 1,366x768 display is bright and comfortable to view over extended periods, but it's very glossy, and so prone to reflections under bright light and especially when showing a dark screen. Colours are vivid, without any unwanted tints, but some uneven backlight distribution meant that the bottom edge of the screen tended to look brighter than other areas.
The laptop has a 1.9GHz AMD A8-4500M processor, making it somewhat unusual among the glut of laptops powered by Intel processors that we seem to see so much at the moment. Our experience of AMD's recent mobile processors is that they excel in games but are less impressive in 2D productivity applications, and this is the case with the Z585's chip. Although it's a quad-core processor and the system has 8GB of RAM, its performance in our benchmarks was middling. It got an overall score of 35 in our application benchmarks, which is in a similar league to a dual-core Intel Core i3-3217U.
The laptop's graphics are provided by the processor's on-chip AMD Radeon 7640G GPU, which is good enough in games to achieve a frame rate of 27.6fps in our 1,280x720 Dirt Showdown test at High quality, and a smooth 32fps at medium quality. This is a definite improvement on the graphics capabilities of even more powerful Intel processors, and is up there with some dedicated graphics chipsets such as the Radeon HD 7670M in the Dell Inspiron 17.
The laptop has four USB ports, including two USB3 ports, which means it's better equipped for connecting external peripherals and super-fast storage than most. It has VGA and HDMI outputs for connecting external displays and 3.5mm mic and headphone ports. Unusually, the laptop only has a 10/100 Ethernet port, so it won’t benefit from being connected to a Gigabit router. As you’d expect, it also has 802.11n Wi-Fi.
The laptop's integrated speaker is better than most, with plenty of volume and a surprisingly clear sound. There's both an SDXC card reader and DVD-RW drive and the hard disk is a 1TB model - that's huge for a laptop, particularly at this price, and you'll really struggle to fill it. Battery life of just over six hours is reasonable but nothing special in a modern laptop.
Although we're not fans of the Z585's touchpad and we expect our laptops to have Gigabit Ethernet nowadays, these drawbacks certainly aren't enough to put us off this laptop. It's not very sleek, but it's still a capable little notebook with enough processor power for desktop users and more gaming oomph that you'll usually see at this price. However there’s a great deal of competition when it comes to £400 laptops, of which our favourite is the Dell Inspiron 15. It’s not at good at gaming, but it’s a fair bit more powerful than Lenovo's laptop in desktop applications, making it a better buy if you're not into your games.
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