We ran the W540 through a series of battery tests to find out just how long the 9 Cell Li-Ion Cylindrical Battery 99.9Wh would last. Each test started with a fully charged battery and BIOS & system set to power saving modes to simulate conditions out in the field away from a wall AC power connection.
After each test, the battery was again fully charged and then the next test started. PowerMark tests would run until the battery was at 15% charge. PCMark8 battery life testing uses third-party applications from Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office to simulate typical applications and workloads using battery life mode to loop a test until the battery is almost empty for results that are more accurate.
Lenovo estimates the battery life to be approximately 13 hours +. We found that this estimate is close to what we experienced in our tests and in some cases, it lasted longer. Of course, your battery life will depend on what you are doing with the W550s and how long you have been using the battery.
We found the battery life to be excellent on the W550s, in fact in actual use it can be almost double what the W540 can do.
The ThinkPad W550s Mobile Workstation was a very powerful laptop to use while we had the review unit.
The W550s comes equipped with just about everything you would want. The feature load out and bundled software is typical for Lenovo devices so we had no surprises there. We were rather surprised to see only dual-core processors available for the W500 which somewhat limit mobile workstation use, but overall the Intel Core i7-5600U processor that came equipped with our review unit was able to keep up with us just fine. If you needed to do heavy duty video work or encoding, you might want to take a look at the W540 instead because the CPU's you can pick from can have as many as 4 cores or double what you can get with the W550s.
We used our W550s on several trips and found that it performed very well in our usual workloads, office apps and Photoshop work. The next benefit we saw was battery life, the W550s can run all day without even coming close to running out of power. We went through airports, in flights, at the hotel and at meetings without even coming close to running the batteries down, they just kept going.
The W550s also ran much cooler than the W540 we tested. It was not unconformable to have the W550s on our lap while taking notes. Battery life and running cool is where the W550s really shines. We also used the W550s in our lab and would have liked to see a DVD drive in the W550s. Even though we do not watch many DVD movies, we often have the need to burn an ISO disk image, which we could not do with this unit. The display on the W550s is just as good as the W540 and it does include touchscreen capabilities, which is nice if you like to use some of the features of Windows 8.
Our W550s came with Windows 8.1 installed so we did not receive any disks with our unit, which is just fine with us. All restore functions are included in the BIOS in case you need to do a factory restore.
Our experience with the W550s was very positive; it had fast response with running our programs, extremely long battery life and ran nice and cool. We did find that only a dual-core CPU version somewhat lacking, but the tradeoff for long battery life seems rather good. We also found the new touchpad on the W550s to be a much-needed improvement over the W540, the difference is night and day better. It's responsive and accurate and does not have that clunky feel to it like we saw with the W540.
|Quality including Design and Build||97%|
|Bundle and Packaging||96%|
|Value for Money||95%|
The Bottom Line: Lenovo's ThinkPad W550s Ultrabook mobile workstation offers extreme battery life, good performance and high quality build, making the W550s a great mobile workstation for demanding users on the go.
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- Page 1 [Introduction & Specifications]
- Page 2 [Packaging]
- Page 3 [Temperatures, Cooling and Noise]
- Page 4 [Bundled Software]
- Page 5 [BIOS]
- Page 6 [Keyboard, TouchPad, Screen and Other User Interface]
- Page 7 [Accessory Port Layout and Upgrade]
- Page 8 [Testing Methodology]
- Page 9 [CPU and Memory Benchmarks]
- Page 10 [System Benchmarks]
- Page 11 [Power Consumption and Final Thoughts]