Lenovo ThinkPad SL500 274634M

The Lenovo ThinkPad SL500 274634M features a different style to the usual ThinkPad.

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Lenovo ThinkPad SL500 274634M
  • Lenovo ThinkPad SL500 274634M
  • Lenovo ThinkPad SL500 274634M
  • Lenovo ThinkPad SL500 274634M

Pros

  • Good processor, excellent keyboard, good screen

Cons

  • Heavy, only 250GB hard drive

Bottom Line

The Lenovo ThinkPad SL500 274634M is an all-purpose laptop that provides plenty of processor power and connectivity, but it lacks the portability and the storage needed to be great.

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The Lenovo ThinkPad SL500 274634M is an all-purpose 15.4in laptop with plenty of grunt, a wide variety of connections and good usability. Just make sure you're happy with Lenovo's changes to the traditional ThinkPad style.

The Lenovo ThinkPad SL500 has a glossy piano black cover like those usually seen in the home-friendly IdeaPad range. The lid latch is gone, as is the small keyboard light normally found on ThinkPads.

The full-sized keyboard is excellent, with the button response being just firm enough to suit touch typists. The textured touchpad below the keyboard is accurate, and there is a TrackPoint-style device as an alternative cursor control method.

The 15.4in screen has a native resolution of 1680x1050 and uses a matte anti-glare coating that works better in well-lit environments than glossy displays; the screen also has a wide viewing angle. The bezel is thin along the left and right sides but a little thicker at the top. This gives the notebook a blocky appearance.

The Lenovo ThinkPad SL500 weighs 3kg without the power supply and 3.5kg with it included, so you can expect a solid workout if you carry it around all day. It has a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 processor and 2GB of DDR2 RAM. Storage is provided by a 250GB hard drive that spins at 5400rpm. We'd like to see at least a 320GB hard drive at this price point, but 250GB should be enough for many users.

We praised the performance of the P8600 processor in the Toshiba Satellite A350 (PSAL6A-059016B), and it performs almost identically here. Our iTunes and Blender 3D benchmarks returned times of 1min 11sec and 1min 15sec, respectively, both of which are speedy times. WorldBench 6 returned a score of 88, which is slightly lower than we were expecting.

Graphics are processed by an NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS GPU. Even though it only managed to get a 3DMark06 score of 1985, this is enough to play older DirectX 9 games like F.E.A.R. at low to medium graphics settings. It's also there to provide high-definition output through the HDMI port.

There are a wide variety of options for connecting to other devices and networks. There are four USB 2.0 ports, along with a FireWire port, D-Sub port and HDMI output; the HDMI port will be useful if you want to connect the SL500 to a plasma or LCD TV. An ExpressCard/54 slot can be found on the right side of the chassis next to the DVD burner, dial-up modem port and Gigabit Ethernet port. An Intel Wireless WiFi Link 5100 adapter provides dual-band 802.11n wireless connectivity.

Unfortunately, using the SL500 on the move is difficult thanks to its weight and below-average battery life. In our DVD rundown test the notebook lasted 1hr 15min, which is 15min less than what we expect from a laptop this size.

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