Lenovo ThinkPad W700ds review

£3680
Price when reviewed

In a market flooded by manufacturers ceaselessly touting budget laptops and petite netbooks, Lenovo’s ThinkPad W700 range is an altogether more serious proposition. So serious, in fact, that only the most generously proportioned of IT budgets need apply.

But to call the Lenovo ThinkPad W700ds a mere laptop is to do it a disservice. This is a mobile workstation in the true sense of the phrase; a portable powerhouse that can be transported from place to place with far more ease than a conventional desktop workstation.

In the interests of health and safety, though, we’d advise carrying its 5.05kg bulk in the boot of a car rather than the laptop compartment of a shoulder-bag.

Feature-packed

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Sidestep the brutish figure and imposing weight for just a moment however, and the feature-list is simply unparalleled.

There’s a 17in display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200, room for twin hard disks in either RAID 0 or RAID 1 arrays, a quad-core processor, Blu-ray writer and professional-class Nvidia QuadroFX graphics.

All-in-all, it’s a combination more than capable of taking on the most demanding of tasks with consummate ease. 3D rendering, high-end CAD applications, serious audio-visual production; the W700ds can readily turn its hand to any of the above, and thanks to ISV-certification you can be sure that your software of choice will work just as the developer intended it.

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That’s not to say that the basics aren’t covered with impressive panache. The huge chassis leaves plenty of room for a typically fine-feeling keyboard and numeric keypad, both of which find themselves accompanied by Lenovo’s signature combination of trackpad and red trackpoint.

This is in addition to a range of useful additions such as fingerprint security, a card reader, a webcam and twin lights mounted in the screen’s bezel which illuminate the keyboard under low-light conditions.

Two’s company

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It’s the last two letters of the W700ds’ name which give a hint as to its most novel feature, though: namely, that the W700ds conceals a secondary display which slides out from the right-hand side of its 17in screen. This portrait panel measures 10.6in from corner to corner, and boasts a resolution of 768 x 1,280.

Image quality isn’t as good as the primary display, with greyish blacks and noticeably inferior colour reproduction, but use it for keeping email and chat applications from cluttering up the main display, or parking application elements such as tool palettes or floating toolbars, and it’s a perfect addition to such an ambitious workstation.

The primary display is almost beyond reproach. The only disappointment is the matte panel’s slightly mottled, grainy quality; a trait which leaves whites looking a little too grey for a top-end workstation.

Viewing angles and colour reproduction are truly excellent though, and the built-in Pantone colour sensor and accompanying software help keep the display properly calibrated.

Crucially, there’s more than enough desktop space to accommodate the sprawl of high-end software packages, with the 1,920 x 1,200 resolution of the main display complimented ably the secondary screen.

A spoonful of sugar

The secondary display isn’t the sole innovation in the W700ds’ makeup, however. Look below the keyboard and, alongside the trackpad, Lenovo has squeezed in a Wacom graphics tablet. It’s a supremely neat addition – the stylus stowing away in the side of the chassis.

Warranty

Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions410 x 310 x 58mm (WDH)
Weight5.050kg
Travelling weight6.0kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Quad Q9000
Motherboard chipsetIntel PM45 Express
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size17.0in
Resolution screen horizontal1,920
Resolution screen vertical1,200
Resolution1920 x 1200
Graphics chipsetNvidia Quadro FX 3700M
Graphics card RAM1.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs1

Drives

Capacity400GB
Hard disk usable capacity372GB
Spindle speed7,200RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/150
Hard diskHitachi HTS722020K9SA00
Optical disc technologyBlu-ray writer
Optical driveLG GBW-B10N
Battery capacity7,800mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportno
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchyes
Modemyes
ExpressCard34 slots1
ExpressCard54 slots1
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)5
FireWire ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
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, trackpoint
Audio chipsetConexant HD Audio
Speaker locationAbove keyboard
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
TPMno
Fingerprint readeryes
Smartcard readerno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use214
Battery life, heavy use54
Overall application benchmark score1.39
Office application benchmark score1.12
2D graphics application benchmark score1.47
Encoding application benchmark score1.24
Multitasking application benchmark score1.72
3D performance (crysis) low settings39fps
3D performance settingMedium

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows Vista Business
OS familyWindows Vista
Recovery methodRecovery disk and partition
Software suppliedLenovo ThinkVantage Suite

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