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The Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 ($1,099 direct) is, quite literally, a big idea. In addition to its large physical frame, it almost completely eliminates the need for a desktop PC, sporting a huge screen, built-in Blu-ray drive, and a full-sized keyboard. Throw in exemplary multimedia and gaming capabilities and it's hardly confounding that the IdeaPad Y580 is a shoe-in as our new Editors' Choice for media laptops.
|Processor Name: Intel Core i7-3610QM|
|Processor Speed: 2.3 GHz|
|Operating System: Windows 7, Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium|
|RAM: 8 GB|
|Weight: 6.06 lb|
|Screen Size: 15.6 inches|
|Screen Size Type: Widescreen|
|Native Resolution: 1920 x 1080|
|Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M|
|Graphics Memory: 2048|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested): 1000 GB|
|Rotation Speed: 5400 rpm|
|Networking Options: 802.11n|
|Primary Optical Drive: Blu-Ray Disc|
|Wireless Display Capability (WiDi): Yes|
|Battery Type: 72 Whr (Watt hours)|
|MobileMark 2007 – Standard Battery Productivity Load (hrs:min): 4:41|
|3-D BENCHMARK TESTS - 3DMark06 - 1,024 x 768 - Default: 15486|
|3-D BENCHMARK TESTS - 3DMark06 - Native – 0X/4X: 12720|
|Crysis - Medium quality - 1,024 x 768 - AA/AF=Off/Off: 97|
|Crysis - High quality - Native - AA/AF= 0X/4X: 13|
|Lost Planet 2 (DX9) - Middle quality - 1,024 x 768- AA/AF=Off/Off: 71|
|Lost Planet 2 (DX9) - High quality - Native - AA/AF= 0X/4X: 28|
|MULTIMEDIA TESTS - Handbrake: 1:17 min:sec|
|MULTIMEDIA TESTS - PhotoShop CS5: 3:25 min:sec|
|MULTIMEDIA TESTS - CineBench 11.5: 6.22|
|Lost Planet 2 (DX9) - High quality - Native - AA/AF= 0X/4X||28|
|Crysis - High quality - Native - AA/AF= 0X/4X||13|
|MULTIMEDIA TESTS - Handbrake||1:17|
|Lost Planet 2 (DX9) - Middle quality - 1,024 x 768- AA/AF=Off/Off||71|
|Crysis - Medium quality - 1,024 x 768 - AA/AF=Off/Off||97|
|MULTIMEDIA TESTS - PhotoShop CS5||3:25|
|MobileMark 2007 – Standard Battery Productivity Load (hrs:min)||4:41|
|3-D BENCHMARK TESTS - 3DMark06 - 1,024 x 768 - Default||15486|
|MULTIMEDIA TESTS - CineBench 11.5||6.22|
|3-D BENCHMARK TESTS - 3DMark06 - Native – 0X/4X||12720|
One thing's for certain: The IdeaPad Y580 won't be confused with an ultrabook any time soon. It's a behemoth of a system, measuring 15.2 by 10 inches (WD), with its thickness ranging from 0.9 inches at its thinnest point to 1.4 inches at its thickest. Meanwhile, its weight of 6.07 pounds is nearly twice as heavy as that of a typical ultrabook. Although the IdeaPad Y580's hulking chassis is constructed primarily out of plastic, its palmrest and lid are both decked out in a metallic finish. With a maximum resolution of 1,920 by 1,080, images and text alike looked crisp on the glossy 15.6-inch screen. Moreover, video playback looked fantastic in 1080p, an attribute that's all the more useful, thanks to the IdeaPad Y580's built-in Blu-ray player. I decided to test the Y580's ability to showcase movies, so I threw on the Your Highness Blu-ray and was immediately struck by the superb image quality. The built-in JBL speakers directly above the keyboard are equally impressive, pumping out surprisingly loud and distortion-free sound with gusto. Taken together, it quickly becomes apparent that while most laptops are merely adequate for playing music or movies, the Y580 manages to get the job done on its own without the need for external speakers or an additional display.
As fun as it is to watch movies and listen to music, though, most folks still buy a laptop with a semblance of productivity in mind. Fortunately, the IdeaPad Y580 has nailed this. The ample full-size keyboard features a numeric keypad and tiled keys with rounded bottoms, making for a smooth typing experience. The palm rest is equally comfortable, offering an abundance of hand real estate, and nary a thumb inadvertently graced the touchpad during use. The touchpad itself is accented with a thin strip of silvery metal around its edges, and incorporates the right- and left-click buttons into a singular design. Like the keyboard, the IdeaPad Y580's touchpad is large and comfortable to use, and pinch-zooming and two-finger scrolling were both executed effortlessly.
The IdeaPad Y580 comes with a healthy serving of ports. The front sport a 6-in-1 card reader (MMC, MS, MSPro, SD, SDHC, xD), whereas the right side of the system sports the aforementioned Blu-ray player / DVD burner, a USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port, and headphone and microphone jacks. Meanwhile, the right side is equipped with dual USB 3.0 ports, a VGA port, an Ethernet port, and a full-size HDMI output, which conveniently eliminates the need for dongles when connecting the system to a larger display. Alternatively, wires and dongles alike can be ditched altogether since the Y580 features built-in Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) technology, allowing it beam the audio and video to an HDTV outfitted with an aftermarket adapter, like the Netgear Push2TV ($99 list).
The IdeaPad Y580 comes equipped with a 1TB, 5,400rpm hard drive and a 32GB solid-state-drive (SSD), the latter of which has 12.7GB of free space out the box since it's loaded with some preloaded software and drivers. While users have the option of installing new apps to the SSD, its primarily designed to operate in the background to allow the Y580 to quickly reboot from sleep mode. Otherwise, new apps can be installed on the 1TB hard drive, which is plenty capacious. Overall, the ratio of useful apps (Microsoft Office Starter 2010, a full version of McAfee Internet Security) to unnecessary bloatware (desktop links, for instance) fortunately tips in favor of the user.
Given its combined 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM processor and 8GB RAM, the IdeaPad Y580 steadfastly hovered near the top of its class across the board. Its PCMark 7 score of 2,886 trumped all other media center laptops, edging past the HP Envy 17 (2012) (2,805). Likewise, the IdeaPad Y580 displayed exceptional agility in our multimedia tests. It tied for first place with its predecessor, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 $1,016.99 at ElectronicsShowplace, in completing our Handbrake video-encoding test (1 minute 17 seconds) and breezed past the Envy 17 (1 minute 30 seconds) without breaking a sweat. Similarly, its Cinebench score of 6.22 muscled past all others, save for the Lenovo Y480 (6.26), leaving the Envy 17 within striking distance (5.19) while the rest lagged behind. Likewise, the Y580 completed our Photostop CS5 test in a brisk 3 minutes 25 seconds, falling a shade short of the Lenovo Y480 (3:20) while still sprinting past the HP Envy 17 (3:37) and, to an even further extent, theToshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170 $1,199.95 at Journey Ed (3:56).
The IdeaPad Y580's discrete 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX660M GPU swaggered through our gaming tests with élan, easily breaking the 30 frames per second (fps) playability barrier in medium quality settings while only falling slightly short in high quality settings. It led the pack in our Crysis benchmark tests (97fps in medium quality at 1,024-by-768 resolution; 13fps in high quality at native resolution) and muscled past the Envy 17 (88fps and 12 fps, respectively). While the IdeaPad Y580 performed admirably in our Lost Planet 2 benchmark tests (71fps in medium quality at 1,024-by-768 resolution; 28fps in high quality at native resolution), it fell slightly short of the Toshiba Qosmio X775 (76fps and 33fps, respectively) as well as the Envy 17 in medium quality settings (77fps and 28fps, respectively). On the other hand, the Y580 nearly outshined its entire class in 3DMark 06 (15,486 at medium detail settings and 1,024-by-768 resolution; 12,720 at native resolution with 4x anti-aliasing). Despite falling a bit short of the Toshiba Qosmio X775 (15,576 and 11,174, respectively) in medium detail settings, the IdeaPad Y580's native resolution score still outperformed the rest.
The one area in which the IdeaPad Y580 didn't thoroughly dazzle was battery life. Its removable 72 Wh battery lasted 4 hours 41 minutes in our MobileMark 2007 battery rundown test, which was shorter than all others, with the exception of the Toshiba Qosmio X775 (3:07). While the Lenovo Y480 held out slightly longer (4:48), both the HP Envy 17 (7:19) and, to a more pronounced extent, the Dell Inspiron 14z (Core i5) $699.99 at Dell(8:38) lasted twice as long as the Y580.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 gives plenty of bang for the buck and almost entirely eliminates the need for a desktop altogether. It features a dazzling screen with 1080p resolution, a built-in Blu-ray player, and even a full-sized keyboard on top of superlative multimedia and gaming capabilities. While the HP Envy 17 (2012) offers a similar smorgasbord of features, the Y580 nonetheless outguns it while costing nearly $400 less. For these reasons, we're willing to overlook its so-so battery life, and it rightfully earns its place as our Editors' Choice for media laptops.
BENCHMARK TEST RESULTS:
Check out the test scores for the Lenovo IdeaPad Y580