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
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

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.

Would you buy this?

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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