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Lenovo ThinkPad W550s Ultrabook Mobile Workstation Review

By: William Harmon | Touchscreen Laptops in Laptops | Posted: Jun 5, 2015 5:15 pm
TweakTown Rating: 95%Manufacturer: Lenovo

The first thing that many people do is take a look at the bundled software that comes pre-installed on the laptop they purchase and start uninstalling the bulk of it. On many of the laptops we have used in the past, there is a fair amount of junk stuff. Much of that is only a trial and software that we are not interested in using.

 

In the case of the W540, we did not find any junk apps but we did find apps that you should take a careful look at too decided if you want to keep it. Here is the pre-installed software that we had installed on this W540:

 

  • Lenovo QuickCast
  • Lenovo QuickControl
  • Lenovo QuickDisplay
  • Lenovo SHAREit
  • Lenovo ThinkVantage
  • Lenovo ThinkVantage Tools
  • Lenovo Solution Center
  • Evernote
  • Microsoft Office
  • Norton Anti-Virus

 

 

For our use, we would have no need for Evernote or Nitro Pro 8. We use Microsoft Office 2013 Pro, so we have no need for Microsoft Office pre-load. We also use Kaspersky for our Anti-Virus needs. These would be our choices to uninstall. We also like to run Stardock's Start8 for our home button.

 

This is our personal preference, these are fine products and it is up to your personal preference if you wish to keep those. On the other hand, we found the Lenovo software very useful so let us look at what Lenovo has done to make managing the W550s easier for us.

 

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Down at the bottom right hand side of the task bar you will find a red icon with white cross like the red logo at the top of this picture. Click on this to bring up Lenovo Solution Center, which will be your home for controlling the W550s.

 

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Here we see the home screen for the Lenovo Solution Center. At first startup, yours should look something like this. It tells you that you need to get Anti-Virus, do a hardware scan, register your W550s and complete a backup.

 

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Next down the list is the System menu. This shows all information about the W550s. Simply click on each icon to bring up status windows that we will so next.

 

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The first Icon is Storage Devices. We only have a 512 GB SSD installed so that is the only item showing up here. You can do many functions here like Disk Cleanup, Optimize performance and get properties of the SSD. Clicking more storage will bring up a Shop Lenovo web page to order additional storage drives.

 

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Next up is the Memory Icon. This shows you how many slots the W550s has, and which ones have a RAM stick installed. You can see the current amount of memory installed. What the maximum capacity is for the W550s, in this case its 16 GB.

 

Optimizing performance will simply tell you to close some programs. Clicking, Get more memory will bring up a Lenovo web page to order additional memory.

 

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Next is the Backup Icon. Here you can launch Lenovo Rescue and Recovery to make a complete backup of your system. Just like before, clicking Get more storage will bring up a web page to order additional storage. If you use another backup tool like Arconis for example click the Use another tool to get started with that.

 

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Recovery media will get you started doing a backup restore that you created in the step before this. Use another tool will get you started with another program, such as Arconis.

 

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Software updates will update Lenovo software and Windows updates. Windows update should be taken care of just fine in your Windows update program. This is located here so all updates features are located in one place.

 

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Here we look at the Battery menu. Clicking the Power Manager will bring up the next screen.

 

This is useful when you are working with the W550s plugged into a wall outlet you can quickly set this to use full power settings. Then when needed you can quickly select lower power options for when you are running on batter power.

 

Clicking Buy battery will bring up a web page to order additional battery's for the W550s.

 

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Here we see the Power manager. The top has a slider to adjust energy saving needs, from full power to high-energy savings when on the go.

 

When you are on the go clicking Battery stretch will help you get the most of your battery life. Intel Turbo Boost will spin the fans up to 100% for added cooling when working with heavy software loads.

 

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The System information will bring up all the system details about your W550s.

 

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The Security menu will allow you to set passwords for the W550s, turn on the firewall, check virus-protection and internet connection security settings. Clicking the Fingerprint Icon will get you started in setting up your W550s so that it will require you to swipe your finger in the sensor to unlock the laptop.

 

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Check-up allows you to do a hardware scan, check the device manager and take backup snap shots. This is useful to diagnose hardware issues or check that you have the latest drivers installed.

 

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The Support menu allows you to connect to online support and check your warranty status. You can check your configuration history and register your W550s. Thank about covers Lenovo Solution Center, there are several other Lenovo apps to look at next.

 

lenovo-thinkpad-w550s-ultrabook-mobile-workstation-review_25

 

To find the next set of apps, go to the Start Button/All Programs/Lenovo.

 

If you have other Lenovo devices such as a tablet or other laptops, using QuickCast will make it easy to transfer data from one machine to another. All devices must have QuickCast installed for this to function.

 

Find devices will bring up a list of possible devices that you can share data between. Once you have a device selected browse for the files you want to transfer in the right hand window and click transfer.

 

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QuickControl will allow you to control your computer through a smartphone. You can use this with an Android app that is available from Google Play. This could be useful if you are doing an onsite presentation and you do not have the ability to sit at the W550s.

 

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QuickDisplay allows you to connect to a wireless-enabled display.

 

Several options allow you to show the PC screen only, a Duplicate screen, extend the current screen or allow a second screen. Again this is very useful when onsite and doing a presentation or if you wish to see your display on a larger screen.

 

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Rescue and Recovery is very much like the one we saw in Lenovo Solution Center. It is very easy to do full backups or a snap shot of the current system.

 

Additionally you will find Lenovo SHAREit in the Start Button/All Programs/Lenovo. SHAREit allows you to store files in Lenovo's cloud for easy access wherever you go.

 

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In your control panel or under the Start Button/All Programs you will find Lenovo ThinkVantage Tools. This is like Lenovo Solution Center, but with added features such as Airbag Protection, Web Conferencing and messages from Lenovo.

 

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Clicking the Airbag button brings up this screen.

 

The Active Protection System can detect sudden changes in motion and temporarily stop the hard drive to help protect your valuable data from some crashes that could occur due to everyday notebook accidents.

 

The system has an integrated motion sensor that continuously monitors the movement of the notebook, and, if a sudden change in motion is detected, it temporarily stops the hard drive to protect it from a potential crash. We do not have a HDD installed in our W550s to protect by this. However if you plan to upgrade to additional HDD space this becomes a nice feature to have.

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