Cooling, Portability, Software
The Z580 is the coolest laptop I’ve ever tested. At idle its bottom temperatures were not above 77 degrees Fahrenheit – at load, these temperatures did not exceed 85 degrees. The right-hand portion of the laptop never warmed noticeably, even after fifteen minutes of 7-Zip in conjunction with Furmark, which is what I usually use for a stress test.
Fan noise is the payment for these low readings. This laptop never shuts up, even at idle. Noise at load is not greater than with many other laptops of similar size but takes on a whiney character that I found annoying. Still, users who are turned off by hot laptops will find this one to be an excellent choice.
The Z580’s weight of 5.84 pounds is typical for a laptop of this size, but its thickness of 1.4 inches is a bit husky. Carrying this laptop around requires a backpack or a large messenger bag and most owners will notice the extra weight when the Z580 is being hauled around.
Battery life is a more serious issue. My testing quickly drained the laptop in all workloads. Even the more powerful ASUS N56VM fared a bit better. These results are likely skewed by the fact we often receive more expensive laptops for review here at PC Perspective, but I do think the Z580 is below average for the segment. This is a trend among Lenovo IdeaPads. Many of them seem to come with small-ish laptop batteries.
The Z580 review unit arrived light on the bloatware. It does have a small number of shortcuts, but most are to useful software such as Google Chrome, Cyberlink Power2Go and Adobe Reader. Some, such as Lenovo Webcam, are not my favorite apps – but shortcuts don’t bother the user unless they’re opened.
One piece of software I continue to find annoying is Lenovo’s custom Energy Management gadget. It’s designed to look like a speedometer and has three logos – a bicycle, a car, and a convertible sports car. The interface tries too hard to be cute and approachable. Why can’t users have something reminiscent of the excellent Power Manager found on ThinkPad laptops?
Finally, there is the anti-virus. It’s McAfee this time around. It will grate on the user’s nerves until it is uninstalled and replaced with something else. This is on par with other consumer laptops.