Lenovo ThinkPad W700 (27585GM)

Ultra-powerful and ultra-expensive.

Lenovo ThinkPad W700 (27585GM)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad W700 (27585GM)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad W700 (27585GM)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad W700 (27585GM)
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5

Pros

  • Very fast, Wacom digitiser, good battery life

Cons

  • Wacom Digitiser is small, very expensive, heavy

Bottom Line

This is a very fast workstation that features a small Wacom digitiser built into the right palm rest and the latest networking technology. But with its very heavy weight and sky-high price tag, users will need to decide if its worth buying this instead of two similarly fast PCs.

Would you buy this?

The Lenovo ThinkPad W700 is a very powerful — and expensive — 17in desktop replacement notebook with a built-in Wacom digitiser pad and RAID 0–enabled hard drives. If you're looking for a laptop that can handle high-end graphics, crunch engineering data or be used to draw images, you should consider the ThinkPad W700.

The main thing that sets the W700 apart from other desktop replacements is its built-in digitiser, which sits in the right palm rest. Digitiser pads like the Wacom Graphire Bluetooth CTE-630BT are mainly aimed at graphic designers. The ability to draw images and modify high-resolution pictures on a computer using a pen is great for designers used to working in non-electronic mediums and can help increase productivity.

Although it is convenient to have a built-in digitiser with you when travelling, its very small size of 128(L)x80(W)mm greatly reduces its usefulness and makes it difficult to draw with; this isn't helped by the pen being too small. In spite of this, we found that our pen strokes were recognised with relatively good accuracy once we customised the settings and became used to it.

The reason why the W700 can fit a digitiser pad at all is its large chassis. Measuring 410(L)x310(W)x49(H)mm, it's almost the size of an A3 sheet of paper, making it inconvenient to lug around on public transport. It also weights 4kg without the power supply and a whopping 5kg with it included.

The battery life is very good for a unit this size. In our DVD rundown test it lasted 2hr 5min.

The unit's 17in screen has a Full HD native resolution of 1920x1200 and is one of the W700's highlights. Not only are images displayed clearly and with great contrast, it has an effective colour calibration system that uses a series of small sensors above the digitiser and HueyPro software.

If you need to crunch a lot of data, you'll appreciate the 4GB of RAM and 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Extreme X9100 CPU used by the W700. The processor is very powerful, as demonstrated by our Blender rendering and MP3 conversion tests, which returned times of 58sec and 56sec, respectively.

The ThinkPad's high-end hardware continues with its NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700M graphics processor, which is great for CAD processing. The 3DMark06 result of 10,687 is exceptionally high and rarely seen in laptops that haven't been made specifically for gamers (like the Alienware Area-51 M17X).

The Lenovo has two 7200rpm, 160GB hard drives in a RAID 0 array, but they can also be configured in a RAID 1 array.

The notebook's array of expansion ports is impressive. Apart from having five USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port and a D-sub port, Lenovo has included DisplayPort and a DVI output. Although we are disappointed that a laptop as big as this lacks an ExpressCard/54 slot, the Lenovo has an ExpressCard/34 slot in its place, as well as a CompactFlash slot.

There's no denying that this is a powerful mobile workstation. Pretty much everything a PC can do, the W700 should also be able to do. The only real question is whether or not you would be willing to part with more than $6000 for a very heavy device when a similarly powerful PC would cost far less.

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