Lenovo G550 review

Price when reviewed

Lenovo’s iconic ThinkPad range has become synonymous with high-quality business portables, and with its Value line, it’s attempting to recreate that success with keenly priced consumer models such as the G550.

With its lid closed, the Lenovo is almost rather handsome. A subtle grain helps to make the G550’s silvery-grey plastic look a little like brushed metal, and the curved edges initially dispel any comparisons with the square-jawed ThinkPad range. Tilt back the lid, however, and the thick base and lumpen design make most ThinkPads look positively svelte.

The G550’s 2.56kg frame seems to promise equally thick-set build quality, but it isn’t up to ThinkPad standards. There’s nothing major to worry about, but the chassis is noticeably more pliant than Acer’s Aspire 5739G, and there’s a fair amount of give in the lid, too. If you do decide to take the weighty Lenovo on your travels, battery life is middle of the road: sitting idle with the screen set to mid brighness it lasted 3hrs 52mins on a full charge.

Lenovo G550

The average build quality rears its head in other areas. The keyboard is sensibly laid out and the keys have a nice, positive action, but you don’t have to press too hard to feel the base give way underneath. It’s a shame, since it makes for a disconnected feel that isn’t as pleasant to type on as the best we’ve tried.

Image quality is another of the Lenovo’s weak points. The 15.6in panel has a native resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels, which is identical to many of the other laptops here, but while the images it produces appear eye-poppingly bright, it isn’t subtle. Highlights looked crushed and poor contrast left even the most vibrant of pictures looking sun-bleached.

Performance at least showed the Lenovo in a more favourable light. The 2.2GHz dual-core processor is enough to push the G550 past the finish line with 1.10 overall in our application benchmarks and, on the graphics front, the Nvidia GeForce G210M chip powers to a respectable 36fps in our easiest Crysis benchmark.

But despite fine performance, Lenovo’s G550 doesn’t deliver the all-round panache of some of its rivals. With a poor display, unremarkable build quality and mediocre ergonomics, it simply doesn’t have what it takes to compete with best in this price bracket.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions383 x 244 x 40mm (WDH)
Travelling weight3.1kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo T6600
Motherboard chipsetIntel GM45/GM47
RAM capacity4.00GB
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 G210M
Graphics card RAM512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity466GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskHitachi HTS545050B9A300
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveTSSTcorp TS-L633B
Battery capacity4,300mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


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

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots1
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readeryes
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetConexant HD Audio
Speaker locationFront edge
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating0.3mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use3hr 52min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 16min
Overall application benchmark score1.10
Office application benchmark score1.16
2D graphics application benchmark score1.22
Encoding application benchmark score0.97
Multitasking application benchmark score1.04
3D performance (crysis) low settings36fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition, burn own recovery discs

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