Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 review
As a gaming laptop, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 certainly makes a good first impression. It may have a cheap plastic underside, but it has a conservative style not often associated with gaming laptops. It’s still chunky, being 36mm thick, but at 2.8kg it’s relatively light compared to gaming behemoths such as the Scan 3XS Graphite LG15.
The IdeaPad Y580 certainly performs well, and gaming enthusiasts will find a lot to keep them happy. It has a 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M graphics processor, and completed our Dirt Showdown benchmark test effortlessly, producing a supremely smooth average frame rate of 64.1fps on High quality settings at a 1,280x720 resolution. Unfortunately, you’ll have to reduce graphics quality settings if you want to play games at its native 1,920x1,080 resolution. We could only achieve a similar average frame rate at this higher resolution by lowering the graphics quality settings to Medium, where it scored 56.8fps.
Sadly, it didn’t perform as well in our Crysis 2 benchmark test, only just scraping a pass mark with 15.7fps on Ultra quality at 1,920x1,080. We saw a much smoother 44.4fps when we reduced the settings to High, but its performance isn’t as good as more expensive gaming laptops such as the MSI GE60, which produced 52fps on High.
For raw processing power, the Y580 has a quad-core 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-3630QM processor and 8GB of RAM. It didn’t perform quite as well as we would have expected, though, as it scored just 77 overall in our multimedia benchmarks. Other laptops we’ve seen with this processor have scored much higher in the past, such as the Scan 3XS Graphite LG15 which scored 88. This was a little disappointing, but its ability to multi-task wasn’t far off our reference desktop processor, so it’s still perfectly suited to demanding tasks like fine photo and video editing.
The 15.6in screen will also let you get the most of your games and media thanks to its superb image quality. It’s a vast improvement on other Lenovo laptops we’ve seen recently, and its wide viewing angles make it very easy to look at. In our solid colour image tests, reds, greens and blues were all rich and vibrant and whites were bright without the slightest hint of grey. Blacks were deep and uniformly lit across the screen as well, and this made our high contrast test images look great. Colours were a little on the cool side compared to our reference screen, but we saw a high level of detail in all of our test photos.
Typing on the Y580 was far more pleasant than other gaming laptops. The hard plastic rim surrounding the keyboard tray was a little uncomfortable at times, but its keys were all very well spaced and gave plenty of tactile feedback. The number pad didn’t make the rest of the keyboard feel too cramped either, the backlighting made the laptop great for working in low lighting conditions.
Sadly, we weren’t big fans of the all-in-one touchpad. Its smooth surface certainly made using Windows 8 shortcuts and multi-touch gestures very easy, but its overall accuracy was stunted by its irritating habit of freezing periodically when navigating the desktop. It also failed to register our clicks on occasion, which made using it for everyday tasks far more fiddly than we’d like. We’d recommend using a mouse to avoid unnecessary frustration, especially as this is a gaming laptop.
The Y580 has a good range of connection ports. Along with two USB3 and two USB2 ports, you’ll find HDMI and VGA video outputs, a multiformat card reader, a Gigabit Ethernet connector, separate headphone and microphone jacks and a Blu-Ray optical drive. Its integrated JBL speakers are also some of the best laptop speakers we’ve heard, with plenty of bass and volume present in each of our test tracks.
Its battery life is pretty average, which is to be expected from a high-powered gaming laptop. It lasted four hours and 54 minutes in our light use test with the screen set to half brightness, which is better than a lot of general-purpose laptops we've seen.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 is a powerful gaming laptop, but it faces some strong competition. The Ultimate award-winning MSI GE60 is more expensive, but it's more powerful and uses one of Intel’s 4th-generation Haswell processors. However, if you don't want to spend that much the IdeaPad Y580 is a good choice.
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