The Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 is one of the best values among 15.6" multimedia and gaming notebooks. Though it's got as much style as grandpa's galoshes, the laptop is well made with quality internals that translate into quick performance and reliability. And the backlit AccuType keyboard? Superb. The 1080p display? Excellent.
The Y580 starts around $850, and all models have serious graphics power courtesy of switchable Intel HD 4000 and 2GB NVidia GeForce GTX660M graphics. That's the same GPU you'll find on more expensive gaming notebooks, and it certainly adds to the Y580's many charms. While the base model starts with an Ivy Bridge third generation Intel Core i5 CPU, our $1,200 configuration has the Intel Core i7-3610QM 2.3GHz quad core, 8 gigs of DDR3 RAM, a 1TB 5400 RPM hard drive (we'd opt for the faster but smaller 7200 RPM 500 gig selection and save $100) and a 32 gig SSD. It comes with the 1080p gloss display (the base model has a 1366 x 768 panel), a Blu-ray drive, a 720p webcam, Intel WiFi with WiDi and Bluetooth. Nice stuff.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 weighs 6.15 pounds and is 1.4 inches thick. Clearly, we're not in the high fashion slim portable arena with the more expensive HP Envy 15 and 15" MacBook Pro. But it's still reasonably portable while being powerful enough to act as your main machine. The 6 cell, 72 Wh battery is good for 5 hours, which is remarkable for a machine with these specs (use Intel HD 4000 graphics and set your display brightness down to 40% to get better battery life).
The stereo JBL speakers with Dolby Home Theater v4 audio deliver full and pleasing sound with plenty of volume. The display's viewing angles are IPS-like (Lenovo doesn't state if this is an IPS display but it certainly looks it). Text is sharp and colors are fairly rich. It's a great machine for watching streaming video and Blu-ray movies, and it's an excellent gamer. We'll have a separate gaming demo video so you can see the Y580 in action with some of today's top titles.