Lenovo ThinkPad W550s Ultrabook Mobile Workstation Review

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Software and User Experience

Bloatware isn’t an issue on the Lenovo ThinkPad W550s. It has a few freebies and some Lenovo-branded utilities, but we didn’t see anything that we would bother to uninstall. Your company’s IT department might switch the W550s over to whatever security software they use, but the W550s is on the inside as it is on the outside: clean and ready for work.

desktop Lenovo W550s

The Desktop is a blank slate, aside from a fun background and a couple buttons in the Taskbar. One of those is Lenovo’s Start menu, which looks much like the menu we’ll be enjoying when Windows 10 rolls out. It’s a handy tool for finding frequently-used applications and jumping into the Control Panel. Getting to the Shutdown button is faster through the Start menu, too.

Lenovo solution center 1

Lenovo solution center 2

The other unusual button in the Taskbar is the Lenovo Solution Center, which puts you in touch with an array of system utilities and info. Tabs on the left make it easy for user who aren’t familiar with technology to find updates and recovery tools quickly and the System Information tab features the BIOS version and serial number, as well as a countdown to the end of the warranty.

start menu W550s

As for the user experience, the display is bright and sharp. We didn’t run into any problems with everyday tasks, including entertainment. The Terminator, which has more than its fair share of shadows, looked just fine on the W550s. Audio is reasonably clear and loud enough for a typical office environment.

And as we mentioned earlier, there is a lot to like about the keyboard and touchpad. If you like the TrackPoint, you’ll find the discrete buttons well-placed. And if you prefer to use the touchpad, you can press the bottom corners of it to left- and right-click.

They system is quiet, too, even under load. The bottom of the laptop warms up when the notebook has been running for an extended time, but that’s not an issue on a desk, thanks to the lift provided by the extended battery. It can get a little warm on a lap, but wasn’t unusually hot in our experience.

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