Lenovo recently introduced new midrange devices to the ThinkPad L-series, giving prospective buyers the best way to experience the benefits of ThinkPad at a reasonable price. These versatile new devices fall in between the high-end T series and business-focused E-series devices. There are three models available in this lineup, the 13-inch L380, 14-inch L480, and 15-inch L580. We were provided the 15-inch L580 for review and found that it is an ideal workhorse laptop for the traveling Windows 10 user.
Specs and Price
The unit sent to us is available at Lenovo for $879, but prices start at $684. It is powered by Windows 10 Pro, and an 8th generation Intel Core i5 Processor clocked at 1.6 GHz. It comes with 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD, and Intel UHD Graphics 620 on board. Other specs which we will touch on throughout this piece can be seen below. Please keep in mind that you can customize the device to your own liking via Lenovo, so you're not limited to the specs we have listed below.
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
- Memory: 8 GB 2400MHZ DDR4 RAM. Dual channel capable, with two DDR4 SODIMM sockets. Up to 32 GB supported
- Battery: Integrated Li-Ion 45WH battery, supports Rapid Charge with up to 80% charge in 1 hour via 65W USB C charger
- Display: 15.6 inch FHD display at 1920 x 1080 resolution. Anti-glare, LED backlit, IPS 150 nits of brightness. 800:1 contrast ratio, 170 degree viewing angle.
- Storage: 256 GB PCie SSD
- Ports: Two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, Two USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1, HDMI, Ethernet, headphone microphone combo jack, Micro-SD card reader, side docking connector, security keyhole
- Wireless: Intel Dual Band Wireless- AC 8265. Wi-Fi 2(x) 802.11 AC+ Bluetooth 4.1
- Camera: HD720p camera, fixed focus
- Audio: HD Audio, Realtek ALC3287 codec, Dolby Audio, Stereo speakers
- Security: Fingerprint reader on keyboard bezel, with anti-spoofing technology
- Weight: 4.46 Pounds
- Dimensions: 14.82 inches, by 10.02 inches, by 0.90 inches
Build and Design
Unlike the higher end ThinkPad X1 Carbon, there are not many premium materials on the L580. This device is instead constructed of a PC and ABS plastic which carries around to all common areas. There's no carbon fiber or metal here, and the corners of the laptop are also made of plastic. This device is targeted at businesses anyway, so I think the choice of material is not a priority over the functionality.
Since the L580 is 15 inches and has a large screen, the plastic actually works in Lenovo's favor. Coming in at just 4.46 pounds, the plastic keeps things relatively light and portable for a device of this size (15% lighter and 19% thinner than the previous generation.) It also has a nice rough texture on it, which ensures you have something to grip on when holding the device. Though the plastic on the lid did pick up the oils from my hand, I liked the grippy plastic material on the inside of the laptop for when I was in long typing sessions.
Even though the build and design might not feel so premium, the IPS display is excellent and makes up for everything else. The display on the L580 reminds me a lot of a version of the display on the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, in that it is bright and fluent (with 250 nits of brightness.) The viewing angles (up to 175 degrees) are excellent and there is plenty of room for multi-tasking. I was easily able to stack windows side by side and get a lot of work done without hooking up to an external monitor. All in all, a 15-inch display is awesome, especially if you're always on the road or traveling without monitors. It's definitely the highlight of this laptop and a key reason I think it should be chosen over the smaller L480 or L380 models.
More and more manufacturers are cutting out ports from their devices in favor of USB C, but Lenovo's has always stuck to legacy ports on the ThinkPad series. That's the story here on the L580, which has a variety of ports to pair with anything needed when traveling on the go or out of the office.
Things are really busy on the left-side of the device, where there is the USB C power port, USB C docking port, and USB 3.1 port. You'll also find an HDMI port, a MicroSD Card reader, and an RJ 45 Ethernet jack. I really liked the dedicated HDMI port and Ethernet jack as it means I never had to embrace the dongle lifestyle. Everything I already owned worked with the device right out the box, which is something that might be important for professionals who are buying this laptop for work.
On the right side, things are much less interesting. You'll find the headphone port and USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, and a security keyhole. Again, it's nice to see another USB 3.1 port, with it proving useful for when using an external keyboard or mouse. These ports are enough to get most jobs done right, but the L580 also supports Lenovo's USB C side dock. This dock is designed for enterprise customers and will allow for a driver-free way to connect to more USB accessories and external displays. I wasn't provided one with my review unit, but it is available as a separate purchase for $159.99.
Since this is a 15-inch device, the L580 comes with a full-sized backlit keyboard complete with a number pad. Some manufacturers like Dell (with the XPS 15) don't opt for the number pad on their 15-inch laptops, so I appreciate what Lenovo is doing. Anyway, the keyboard is plenty spacious and comfortable, and I think that professionals who spend time in spreadsheets might enjoy the inclusion of the number pad.
The keys on this device feel a bit smaller than Lenovo's a 13-inch laptop, but it is something that I got used to over a few days. I never felt like the keys were hollow, and I didn't experience any bottoming out with the keyboard. The top of the plastic keys are also pretty slippery but still give nice quiet clicky feedback when jammed down into the chassis. This all meant I was easily able to type at 100 words per minute, with minimum mistakes.
Trackpad and TrackPoint
The Trackpad on the L580 is similar to what you'll get with all other Lenovo ThinkPad devices. On this unit, it is slightly off centered to the left, which means that your right hand has some more travel space when typing. The Trackpad is adequate enough and comes with a matte type finish which makes it easy to grip during intense typing sessions. It also supports the standard Windows 10 touchpad gestures, which prove handy since this isn't a touchscreen model. I did find myself being extra careful with it, though, since it is quick to pick up oils and the other muck from my hands.
Lenovo also throws in the TrackPoint too, but I never found it useful. It's good for precision clicking, but beyond that, I would much rather use the Trackpad instead. There are also three buttons directly above the touchpad for clicking with the TrackPoint, which I again never really used.
The ThinkPad L580 comes with Intel's 8th generation processor. As we've covered in all our reviews this year, this means that you can expect increased performance and battery life, especially since the processor runs on 15 watts of power. I saw this myself first hand, and the L580 was able to tackle my workflow without any issue. I was able to work in Edge with many tabs open, including YouTube, without any lag or slow down at all. Most people won't even push the L580 this far, so I think businesses opting for this device will be pretty happy with the performance.
Just like I've done in all my reviews from this year, I was also able to process and edit some photos using the L580 without any wait time. The Geekbench 4 scoring for this model tells the story, with the multi-core scoring coming just a tad off this year's ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6th Gen
With the scoring between the two not being that far apart, the L580 should be a nice option for businesses or professionals looking to buy a new laptop. And at $684, one really would be saving by picking up the L580 over the X1 Carbon, which is really hefty at $1,139.25. The specs are essentially the same, and performance on par with each other, but with the L580 having a bigger screen.
As with all ThinkPads, Lenovo includes a variety of features on the L580 which help you keep your system secure. This model comes with a match-in-fingerprint reader, which is a fully encapsulated system that isolates your fingerprint data from the rest of the system. The scanner is quick and easy to use, and all you need to do is rest your finger on it to log in. Though our model didn't have it, the L580 can also be configured with a Windows Hello IR camera or NFC. Safe to say your data and computer will be secure no matter where you take it.
Even though the L580 has a big screen, I was still able to get a good 6 hours of battery life with my daily usage of web browsing and multimedia consumption. With the battery set on "better performance," I always felt as though the L580 would be good enough to last me the whole day. This years device doesn't have a removable battery as it did in the past, but it charges with USB C and can get up to 80% charge in 1 hour via the 65W charger. This all means I was never worried about the L580 going dry.
Putting everything together, the L580 is an excellent laptop for the traveling Windows 10 user. Though the build and design are not exactly premium, the L580 comes with an excellent display which makes up for the design losses. It also comes with excellent specs and keyboard which are good enough for mobile multitasking, and enough ports and security to satisfy any professionals. You can buy the L580 from Lenovo by checking out their website here, with prices starting at $684.