Lenovo Thinkpad W700 Mobile Workstation

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Power Consumption and Battery Life

There are certainly some downsides to shoving this much high-end hardware in a laptop form factor beyond price, two of which are to be expected - weight and battery life. The Lenovo W700 has a stock weight of 8.3 pounds, which is 2x to 4x the weight of most of today's reasonably sized mainstream laptops. A large chunk of the weight is dedicated to the massive 9-cell lithium ion battery which sits on the back of the unit, providing power for all of the unit's high-end goodies.


Removable 9-Cell Lithium Ion Battery


170W A/C Adapter (iPhone for size comparison)

The A/C adapter for the Lenovo W700 is a little ominous, too. While we were under no illusions that the power adapter for a notebook of this capacity would be slim and lightweight, the W700's power brick is surprisingly large. Lenovo has done a fairly good job with the design, making it look sleeker and a little less hideous on your desk compared to other brands of power bricks we've seen and their integrated Velcro management is very handy for those who travel a lot. The power brick handles up to 170W of power, and not surprisingly, can get fairly warm during usage. These, unfortunately, are some of the tradeoffs one has to make when buying an ultra-high end mobile workstation. Keep in mind that if you travel with your W700 though, you not only have to carry around an 8.3 pound laptop, but you also have to carry around a power brick which is another two pounds (roughly).

For power consumption testing, we hooked up the Lenovo W700 to a wattage monitor and watched the numbers spin by. Here is what to expect during various states of notebook operation when it comes to power consumption.

System Off - Battery Charging

54 Watts

System On - Idle (Highest Energy Savings Mode)

55 Watts

System On - Idle (High Performance Mode)

83 Watts

System On - Full CPU Load (Two Threads)

104 Watts

System On - Full CPU, GPU, and Storage Load

163 Watts

 
In terms of real-world battery life, the Thinkpad W700 isn't spectacular, as to be expected given the amount of high-end hardware underneath. Nevertheless, it is possible to get solid battery life from the W700 and still maintain respectable overall system performance. If you're heavily taxing the CPU, GPU, and storage systems with your screen on full brightness, you can expect to see about an hour and a half of un-plugged battery life. If you're using the system lightly, for say web browsing, writing, with the screen on a lowered brightness setting, you can expect to see about two and a half hours of battery life.

If you tone everything down to its lowest levels, you might be able to eek out over three hours if you're lucky, but we wouldn't put much faith in it. For this kind of system, battery life is important, but not overly so compared to a netbook, which is designed to be extremely mobile. A system like the W700 will typically be used in environments which do have access to power outlets, but the battery pack does give you the flexibility to crank through some work when you're not at a desk or a table. When you're battery is running low, the W700 will prompt you to enable "Battery Stretch", which disables various power consuming parts of the laptop if you don't need them, allowing you to see how much battery time you will save with them disabled.

Amazingly, while using all this power, the system is surprisingly cool and quiet during normal operation. Even during prolonged CPU and GPU load tests, we did not hear the Thinkpad W700 become any louder compared to its stock levels. While there are definitely fans running inside of the laptop, they are muted to a point where they are not noticeable, which is a very important attribute to have in a workstation-class laptop which people are sitting with day-in and day-out. This isn't to say that the system doesn't get hot, it does. However, the W700 does an excellent job of dumping heat out of its four exhaust vents (two on each side of the laptop). You can certainly feel the hot air whooshing out of the sides, but it never became a nuisance in our testing and the keyboard and bottom of the laptop remained surprisingly cool and usable throughout our entire time with the unit.


Heat exhaust vents one and two on the right...


... with vents three and four on the left.


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