Lenovo has hit the mark once again with its excellent G560. Boasting impressive usability and performance, this is one of the best laptops we've seen at this price point, and its few small quirks don't detract from an excellent overall user experience.
This laptop is such a success because it gets the basics right. The keyboard is fantastic, providing a crisp and firm action that will suit those that need a computer for typing essays or reports, or inputting data. It's just a shame that the Control (Ctrl) key has been indented one space and replaced by the Function (Fn) key, although we found we eventually got used to this.
A dedicated numeric keypad has been included, but it's a little cramped due to the large keys employed in the main keyboard. Similarly, the directional keys are very close together and those with large fingers might struggle at first.
The 15.6-inch screen is beaten by the MSI CR620-643uk, but that's only due to the latter's excellence. This display is still impressive, providing a great deal of detail thanks to the 1366 x 768-pixel resolution, and both colour vibrancy and brightness are excellent. If you want your photos and movies to look their best, then the G560 does a more than competent job.
The machine's chassis is built from black plastic and there's virtually no flexibility in the panels, so the laptop will survive a bit of rough treatment on road. A cross-hatch pattern – similar to that used on the Acer but finer – has been implemented, though it's still quite a dull laptop to look at.
The machine is powered by a Core i3 350M processor, from one of Intel's latest generation of chips. Performance is almost identical to that of the MSI, but miles ahead of the Acer and Dell. This allows you to run even resource intensive applications such as photo editing software with little problem, as well as everyday programs.
The integrated Intel GMA HD graphics card is also suitably powerful, so you can stream HD movies via the internet and even carry out some basic video editing; perfect for all you wannabe James Cameron's out there.
Battery life: 201 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 222
3DMark 2003: 3496
Features include Lenovo's VeriFace software, which uses the webcam to recognise your face and let you access the laptop – great for the security conscious.
The 250GB of storage is a little stingy, though, and the lack of an HDMI port for hooking up to an external HDTV or monitor is a shame.
Similarly, the 201-minute battery life will be constricting for those who spend a lot of time on the road.
Ultimately, though, these issues don't ruin what is a fantastic overall computing experience, and the usability and power on offer here make the Lenovo G560 a worthy Gold award winner.
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