Unfortunately, the Lenovo Essential G570 can often cost as much as speedier and more full-featured business laptops. Our review system, as configured, will cost you around £600 (although the line starts at around £300).
That said, the configuration we tested sports a list of components more impressive than most budget laptops. Along with the second generation Intel Core i5-2410M processor, there's also 6GB of installed RAM (upgradeable to 8GB) and a 750GB hard drive. The G570 also comes packed with integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1.
Unfortunately, the Lenovo Essential G570's performance leaves something to be desired. In our WorldBench 6 test suite, the G570 managed a score of 84. It can handle day-to-day tasks, but it's far from the fastest laptop on the block.
The Lenovo Essential G570 has no discrete graphics card. Instead, it relies on the integrated graphics of the Intel processor. This is fine for video playback, but not for gaming or other strenuous 3D rendering. In a game such as Dirt 2, for example, the G570 managed a barely playable frame rate of 36.5 frames per only with the lowest settings at a very low resolution of 800 by 600. In our Far Cry 2 tests, the G570 did much worse with a frame rate of 19 frames per second (low quality settings, 800 by 600 pixel resolution).
Design-wise, the Lenovo Essential G570 is extremely basic, but it's simple and slick enough to pass off as a generic business laptop. In other words, you won't be turning any heads, good or bad, if you're tapping away on this baby. The notebook sports a shiny dark brown plastic lid, which is plain except for a silver Lenovo logo in the top left corner.
The 15.6-inch notebook feels sturdy, if a bit clunky. The laptop weighs in at 2.6kg, and its dimensions are 376x249x34mm. Port-wise, the Lenovo Essential G570 is average for its category: 4 USB 2.0 ports, including one combination USB/eSATA, HDMI and VGA output, Gigabit Ethernet, and microphone and headphone jacks. There's also a multi-in-one card slot and a Wi-Fi on/off switch (which is always a nice touch) located on the front of the notebook, and a recordable DVD drive on the right side.
Open up the Lenovo Essential G570 and the interior is unimpressive but attractive. There's a shiny black bezel around the screen and the palm rest is made of brushed black aluminum. There are two buttons located above the keyboard: a power button, which features an LED-lit dotted power symbol, and a OneKey Recovery button. Hitting the latter will take you to Lenovo's OneKey Recovery screen, which will walk you through backing up your machine and creating recovery discs.
The Lenovo Essential G570 has a full-sized keyboard with discrete, island-style keys that have slightly rounded bottoms. The keys are a bit smaller than average, but this is one of the more comfortable island-style keyboards I've had the pleasure of using. Lenovo also includes a number pad, which is a nice addition on a 15-inch notebook and doesn't make the keyboard feel too cramped.
Below the keyboard is a medium-sized touchpad indented into the brushed aluminum wristpad. The touchpad has a silver border and a subtle texture of raised dots. It supports multi-touch gestures such as pinch to zoom and two-finger scrolling, and gives excellent feedback. Below the touchpad are two discrete mouse buttons, which are big and easy to press.
The G570 sports a 15.6-inch glossy LCD screen. The LED-backlit display makes good on its promise to reduce glare, but off-axis viewing is less-than-ideal. Viewing the screen from above and below is fine, but viewing it from just a foot to either side drastically diminishes picture quality. The screen is a little too bright, and so colors look a little washed out and blacks look a little gray.
Lenovo has included some handy software, as well. Aside from the OneKey Recovery suite, there's also DirectShare, which lets you sync files with another laptop using the built-in Bluetooth. You can also protect your laptop using VeriFace facial recognition (through the built-in webcam).
See also: Group test: what's the best laptop?