Portability be damned; sometimes you want a laptop that includes a large, stunning display, along with a full keyboard. Not everybody needs a laptop made for hauling around all day, and the Lenovo ThinkPad T550 is one particular laptop that will happily live on your desk for the better section of its life. However, it faces stiff competition from both MSI and Toshiba in the 15.6 inch structure, so let us see if the T550 has what it takes to turn out on top. As stated, this isn’t an ultra portable laptop constructed with slim lines or a low weight in mind; it’s a full-sized bruiser. Weighing 2.13kg, it’s actually the lightest of the 15.6 inch laptop computers that we reviewed, but only by a relatively small margin. Despite its relatively large measurements, it remains rather shallow, with a maximum depth of just 22mm.
The whole external chassis is made from rough black plastic, which doesn’t precisely lend it a premium feel, yet it willn’t feel like its planning to fall aside if it takes a tumble from your desk. Due to the big display is the ability to add a nice, large keyboard. Lenovo has gone with the chiclet design favored by most laptop manufacturers, and it seems nice and sturdy despite the synthetic chassis, with no ﬂ ex in the biggest market of the keyboard. This just occurs to function as exact same spot where Lenovo has included a pointing nub, a quaint inclusion directed at the few users who prefer a nub to the touchpad. If you’d choose to utilize the touchpad alternatively, the main one featured listed here is fairly accurate, though it does feel such as the mouse cursor stutters a little once the touchpad is used. A unique inclusion in the T550 is the fingerprint reader to the right of this touchpad, a nod to this machine’s business leanings. The large 15.6 inches display is surrounded by a thick border of around a centimetre of plastic; set alongside the edgeless designs used elsewhere it presents as rather old fashioned. It is a 1920 x 1080 display, which is about as little as we’d like to see a screen with this size go. The display within our model is apparently an LED display screen, yet it shows surprisingly decent field of view performance, with just minimal color and brightness shifting at obtuse watching angles.
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It is a little beaten up compared to the better displays seen here though With such a big chassis, Lenovo has a lot of room to stock the T550 with goodies, and it has opted for an interesting CPU in the Intel i5-5200U. This twin-cored, HyperThreaded beast has a base speed of 2.2GHz base, yet reaches just 2.7GHz when Intel’s Turbo mode kicks in, making it one of the lesser CPUs in our roundup… on paper at least. It is paired with a rather meagre 4GB of DDR3 1600 memory, which is more than enough to perform the elderly Windows 7 Pro Operating System which comes by standard with this device, once more showing that it is intended for corporate environs that are likely running the older version of Windows. Forget any form of SSD, as the T550 uses a 500GB mechanical drive. Fortunately it’s a Hybrid drive with an 8GB cache, helping to slightly boost it out of the doldrums of standard mechanical drive performance. In fact, it performed excellently despite the lack of an SSD and deficit in memory, as evidenced by our benchmarks. Within the PCMark 8 Home benchmark, the hardware combination delivered the second fastest performance in the roundup, showing that the i5 CPU is a capable processor contrasted towards the leaner offerings used elsewhere. It was third fastest in the O¡ ce standard, and also delivered excellent battery performance in our ﬁ nal benchmark, with a result of 395 minutes. This makes it the second best performer in terms of battery life, proving it’s capable of going the full day without the need to ﬁ nd an electric point. With these exceptional performance results, we could forgive the T550’s rather average overall presentation. It might not appear to be a premium machine many thanks to its fondness for plastic in the construction, but it turned in blazing benchmark results, showing that that is a capable performer for those searching for a sizable, desktop replacement laptop. Nevertheless, for just $200 more, we think MSI’s PE60 makes for a substantially better buy.