on March 4, 2013
I shopped around doing research online for a few weeks, for a sub-$500 laptop. I found the Z580 from an online store (they sold out quickly) for $445, but with 8G of RAM, same 3rd generation i5 and the rest the same as this one, except it came with Windows 8. When I found it, and then read and watched reviews, I ordered it immediately. In two weeks of looking, this stuck out as a great buy.
I've had computers since 1983, have studied programming, and consider myself an experienced user, but am not a programmer or geek. My last laptop was a SONY, and it was my favorite computer before this one. For me, this Lenovo is very well thought out. The gray brushed metal finish, which appears brown, looks great. I like the large ultra smooth touchpad, and that turning the "tap" feature off was easy to do by right clicking the touchpad icon in the taskbar. The LEDs are nice and dim, which is good at night.
I like the click and response of the keyboard, and that the delete key is a different shape, slightly bigger, and that controlling the sound volume and brightness is easy to do with the Fn key and arrow keys, and that the volume can also be adjusted with the LED lit sensor buttons above the keyboard. Incidentally the button on the right with the quarter moon is a fan clean dust button. In Windows 8, it will not adjust fan speed. The fan sound is quiet, but not perfectly silent like my SONY where I had to be about 2 inches away to even hear it.
It comes with a few somewhat useful little programs and not too much bloatware. My favorite software that it comes with, is the Dolby Home Theater v.4 with full equalizer. You access it through an icon in the taskbar (bottom right) and I have configured that so it shows on the taskbar, rather than being in the hidden section of taskbar icons.
At first I thought the speakers were not that great, but surprisingly, to watch a movie at night on them is like having a small home theater system for one, when you set the Dolby. The Dolby has to be turned on an off from an icon on the taskbar. The laptop speakers lack bass, but they are surprisingly clear, and much better than my previous SONY which required external speakers at all times. On the Dolby software, after you click on the Dolby icon and click the "on" button, it's the small button at the bottom middle to get to the equalizer and all the controls, including presets you can create yourself. The Dolby sound software will also come in handy if you have desktop speakers that don't come with a lot of controls, or just to use the terrific surround sound.
Most of the time, I use this laptop interfaced with a monitor, keyboard, old touchpad and speakers but I also use it as a laptop too. I like the 4 USB ports, and VGA and HDMI outputs. The Bluetooth, and WiDi are good to have even though I don't use them. WiDi allows wireless transmission to a TV with that receiver, or you can buy a receiver separately.
The screen is shiny and probably not the best for use outside or where glare is a problem.
The Windows 8 situation has little to do with the laptop, but I will mention that the worst thing about that at first was that when you make the least little left-to-right movement near the left side of the touchpad, it will take you back to the Metro/tiles and out of whatever you were doing. Do the swipe again, and you're back. I found the setting to turn that off in Windows.
When I plug this into my monitor, it sensed the monitor brand and resolution, which is something Vista wouldn't do.
I downloaded the classic shell to look like Windows 7, and may delete that later. I didn't want to deal with learning Windows 8 while setting it up. I'm glad I didn't get Windows 7 though, and the fast startup/shutdown times of Windows 8 are nice, and I keep discovering new, cool features about Windows 8.
Some people have complained about the jumpiness of the touchpad in that there are no left and right buttons but the entire pad dips down in the two bottom corners when depressed. It can cause your cursor to jump but hasn't been a problem for me. For me, turning off the tapping, and a few of the swipe features has it working well.
The battery life is only a few hours if playing a movie but twice as long if you're just using less power. The WiFi has automatic recognition, no switch. For me, the range is the same as my other laptop, about 50 feet. If you have trouble with the range, I'd suggest reconfiguring your wireless router with the laptop.
Before this worked really well, I had to do all the updates for Windows 8. I did other things too like transfer my browser profile -- not just bookmarks but cookies, history, passwords and everything -- which made switching to a new computer painless but was a surprisingly convoluted thing you have to do, to do that. The i5 is speedy and I like it a lot. It came with 8G of RAM which is the max, but it should last me another 6 years hopefully, maybe longer.
The Metro tiles and all that? I've played around with some of it. It's really more for touchscreen users, and if you know what you're doing, you can pretty much ignore it. I'm still exploring some of the things that might be useful about them.
on September 16, 2014
I really loved this Lenovo laptop the first year I had it but right after the warranty expired, there are issues that seem to be pretty common (google to prove this is accurate!)...I started having trouble with the hinges...the right one mainly. It gave way, and after taking to my local computer man, it ended up costing me 215.00 to fix. The problem? when the hinge gives way, it breaks apart from the bottom plate...the screws that bolt onto the bottom plate break out of the place where they fit in. This is a DESIGN FLAW. You end up having to replace the entire bottom plate AND the hinges. The hinge alone would have been no problem, but to actually FIND a bottom plate and get it to you (ours had to come from overseas and took over a month)..that is the problem. We got it back from our computer man (he is really good and affordable too...so he did NOT overcharge us). Within 5 weeks, yes, 5 weeks, the bottom plate broke away again....DESIGN issue. The right side (again)...when you google, you will see it is usually the right side. So I took it back to our computer man, he took apart and screwed a metal screw ALL THE WAY THROUGH the bottom plate to hold it on. Had it back 2 weeks, now it is separating at the hinges from where the frame goes around the screen (only at the bottom where the hinges pull).. If this breaks? I am throwing this thing away. Never did I think a 700.00 laptop (ON SALE) would be this design flawed and hard to find parts for. We DO NOT recommend this laptop to anyone.
on October 5, 2012
I purchased this as a replacement for a Toshiba laptop I purchased a few weeks earlier that was too noisy for my liking. This was a huge improvement in the noise department, the laptop is fairly quiet in regular running mode, only when benchmarking it was the fan really noticeable. The other improvement was the touchpad's multi-touch scrolling, it was more accurate than other Laptop's, although I did have to disable the "pinch-to-zoom" feature as it was problematic when web-browsing. The downside was the processor wasn't quite as powerful as the laptop it replaced, but that was a mostly an unavoidable tradeoff to get something less noisy without a significant jump in price. The other drawback was size, the laptop case is just under 15" in length making it a bit bulkier than I would have liked as I would be carrying it with me quite a lot. Because of the size, I ended up going for the 14" Lenovo Z480 instead, it has all the same basic specs as the 580, but in a smaller case size. The Z480's other tradeoffs (aside from the screen size) were a smaller hard drive (500GB vs 750), smaller keyboard (no numpad), and a slightly louder running noise (maybe a decibel or 2 higher). I kind of regretted returning it, if the ~15" length isn't an issue for you this is a very good machine.
* Low noise emission, includes Lenovo's "smart fan, noise control"
* Full size keyboard with numpad
* Separate mic and headphone jacks
* HD, 1.2 MP (1280*720) webcam
* 4 USB ports (2 usb 3.0 and 2 usb 2.0)
* Descent built in speakers
* Size (near 15" in length, common for this screen size)
* Screen resolution (1366*768, common for this screen size/price range)
* WiFi/ethernet (works ok, but can take up to 2~3 minutes to make a connection)
Overall, not a bad laptop for the price.
on December 12, 2012
I have had this laptop for the last four months and have been using it for college. There are many things that I like about it and there are some things that bug me about the laptop but aren't too big of an issue.
Cheap for what I got.
Haven't had any issues with software or things breaking.
I paid 600 dollars for this laptop, a mouse, and a case for the laptop.
The touchpad is very sensitive and you need to be careful or you will barely press the touchpad and it will jump you to wherever the cursor is and you will start typing there.
When in sleep mode, whenever you wake it up it stays locked and you can't move the cursor for about seven seconds.
The battery life is truly 4 hours or sometimes less.
Update: The thing that I dislike the most is the touchpad buttons. Whenever I try to right click it will usually have the same function as a left click. The solution, get a mouse.
Some have complained about the keyboard but I disagree. The keyboard is a nice size, and the keys aren't poorly spaced. The only thing that I would change is somehow make the backspace button a little bit bigger.
on November 22, 2013
I purchased this laptop as a replacement for my 2011 Black Friday purchase - an HP 2000-363NR. Suffice to say that for what I do (government IT specialist by day, family IT specialist by night), I need something much better than a Black Friday special.
So I drove off to the local Staples, where this Lenovo laptop kept intriguing me. At the time I was looking for a middle-of-the-line HP, as I'm very familiar with them and work on them all the time and therefore am not intimidated at all by replacing parts. However, the cost for this laptop at the time ($579) and the quick availability won me over.
I had a bit of a false start, as the very first laptop I brought home immediately lost video. Obviously that would tend to dent one's perception of the reliability, but I couldn't argue with the statistics concerning overall brand reliability, so I replaced it with another one at the store.
Aside from that one false start, this laptop has far exceeded my expectations. I literally use it every evening for about 2 to 3 hours, and it has held up beautifully. About 2 weeks ago my overexuberant son accidentally knocked it off the couch, screen open, hard enough to smack the top case on the corner of our coffee table and dent the top case. Despite that fact, it still works fantastically with no issues.
The only possible downside would be the trackpad. Some have reported a faulty trackpad; I was one of those who had. It was replaced under warranty and the replacement has worked very well. Aside from this, however, I've had nothing but good luck with it.
I would highly recommend this laptop (or any of the IdeaPad series) for general home consumer/small business use.