The R580 is a lightweight unit in subtle dark red livery. It weighs around 2.5kg; but this weight gives us a trade-off. In order to achieve this weight, the unit is made from a light-weight plastic and because of this, there is probably more flex in the chassis (and particularly the screen) than would be preferred.
The unit is supplied with a 15.6" screen and the 1GB GeForce GT330M as mentioned earlier. This is great for mobile game-play and also as a media centre via the included HDMI port. Unfortunately, the screen has a resolution of only 1366 x 768 pixels - rather low for a modern laptop of this size, so owners would definitely want to use an external TV in this situation.
With 4GB RAM, a 500GB hard disk and the power of 4 CPU cores in the i5 package, the machine is no slouch, in fact according to the performance measures built into Windows 7, the Processor and graphics outperform the disk access; exceeded only by the RAM read-write results.
Along with all the expected ports, the R580 has 4 USB sockets, one of which doubles service as a SATA port; in addition, another USB port provides power to charge external devices even when the computer is fully powered down.
There are a couple of downsides to this unit. When iTWire received the review unit, there were a large number of finger smudges; our limited use for testing did nothing to reduce them - we hope that we don't get added to some biometric database! The other negative is the battery life, although the 2 ½ - 3 hours is reasonably typical for machines of this type.
The R580 is available from a variety of stores for a recommended retail price of $AU1,399. Would I buy one? I'd certainly consider it.
** Note that the reduced-specification version has an Intel Core i3 and the 512MB GeForce 310M for an RRP of $1,099.