User Interface, Display and Audio Quality

User Interface

The Z580 offers the standard Lenovo IdeaPad keyboard. It features a spacious layout with ample definition between keys and decent key travel. IdeaPads have long been among the most pleasing consumer laptops to type on, and this laptop does not buck that trend.

Individual key size is on the small size and some keys, such as the right-side Enter, Shift and Backspace keys, are tiny. This makes it possible for the Z580 to include a numpad. I prefer laptops that don’t do this and instead offer larger keys, but some users do like having the numpad present.

Using the touchpad isn’t the best experience. The surface is large, but there’s no texture and the left/right mouse keys are integrated. Tapping them creates a cheap “tick” noise and doesn’t offer much tactile feedback. Multi-touch scrolling work alright, but has the finicky, jerky feel common among Windows laptops.

Display And Audio Quality

Lenovo ships the Z580 with one display option, a typical 1366×768 glossy display. This resolution is starting to look antiquated now that much smaller tablets so dramatically trump it, but so far there’s been no indication that manufacturers will include better panels even in basic laptops.

Resolution aside, the display offers decent overall performance for a budget laptop. Black levels test were rendered better than average and gradient banding test images were smooth. The display also offers average viewing angles.

The main concern for most users will be the gloss, which can easily overwhelm the backlight. This is not a laptop you can comfortably use in a bright room. Outdoors? Hah, that’s a good one.

Audio quality is mixed. Sound is clear and the speakers do a decent job of reproducing something that can stand in for bass, but this is accomplished by keeping maximum volume low. You’re going to have trouble filling even a small room with sound. Excessive ambient noise can render the speakers useless.

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