Lenovo IdeaPad Z570 review

Price when reviewed

Lenovo’s IdeaPad Z570 hides its budget heritage well. Instead of the usual glossy plastics, Lenovo has employed brushed aluminium across the lid and wristrest to create a laptop that feels more luxurious than its £650 inc VAT price suggests.

The base is stout, and the lid does a great job of protecting the display. We had to prod firmly and deliberately on it before there was any sign of show-through on the panel itself. We’ve no doubt it will last on a commute.

Nor does that sturdy build come at the expense of hardware. Intel’s 2.3GHz Core i5-2410M processor and 6GB of RAM keep the system feeling spritely, and Lenovo has managed to shoehorn a Blu-ray reader and dedicated Nvidia graphics into the budget. Whether it’s playing an HD movie or firing through the latest game, the Lenovo punches well above its weight – as testified by an overall benchmark score of 0.66.

Lenovo IdeaPad Z570

Interestingly, though, Lenovo hasn’t opted for Nvidia’s Optimus technology, choosing instead to utilise a physical switch on the laptop’s front edge. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing: where Optimus automatically switches between the Intel and Nvidia chipsets as it sees fit, the Z570 has you swapping chipsets at the flick of a switch, which you could argue gives you more control. Sticking with Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 3000, the Z570 lasted a healthy 5hrs 27mins in our light-use battery test.

The Lenovo also boasts a range of sensible, user-friendly features. The hardware wireless switch is a welcome addition, as is the row of touch-sensitive buttons along the keyboard’s top edge; a tiny shortcut key that sits alongside the backlit power button launches CyberLink’s backup and recovery suite.

It all makes for a laptop that’s a pleasure to use. A swift dab of a finger adjusts the volume, mutes the speakers or cycles through the Lenovo’s display modes and fan-speed settings. These features are useful: toggling the display’s movie mode slightly darkens the image – which we actually preferred to the default setting – and the fan control makes it possible to drop the speed right down in silent mode, or crank it up to full for gaming.

We could churlishly moan that squeezing in a numeric keypad leaves the Enter and right-Shift keys on the narrow side, but the keyboard’s scooped keys have such a crisp, precise feel that it’s a minor compromise. The touchpad, too, is superb: its wide, smooth surface delivers accurate cursor control.

Lenovo IdeaPad Z570

In fact, there’s only one thing that the Lenovo lacks, and it’s USB 3. One of the four USB 2 ports doubles as an eSATA connection, and the handy card reader and 2-megapixel webcam come as some recompense, but those hankering after the latest external drives will have to look elsewhere.

That minor omission aside, Lenovo’s IdeaPad Z570 is tough to criticise for the money. Even now we don’t think USB 3 has penetrated the market enough to make it a must-have, and when you consider that you’re getting a superb all-rounder with Blu-ray and switchable graphics for only £650, it’s hard to be anything other than impressed.

(Please note that, while our review model had the part code of M555BUK, Lenovo has changed the part code of the newer batch to M555GUK. The only difference is the colour: the new model is finished in a darker gun-metal grey, rather than silver.)


Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions377 x 248 x 37mm (WDH)
Travelling weight3.1kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i5-2410M
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM65
RAM capacity6.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetNvidia GeForce GT 520M/Intel HD Graphics 3000
Graphics card RAM1,000MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Spindle speed5,400RPM
Hard diskWestern Digital Scorpion Blue
Optical disc technologyBlu-ray reader/DVD writer combo
Battery capacity4,400mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed100Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)4
FireWire ports0
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readeryes
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.3mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use5hr 27min
Battery life, heavy use36min
Overall Real World Benchmark score0.66
Responsiveness score0.77
Media score0.69
Multitasking score0.53

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRevovery partition

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