When Lenovo acquired IBM's computer division in 2005, it took on the famed ThinkPad laptop range – renowned as being among the world's best business laptops. The ThinkPad R500 is an entry-level model and a rock-solid work tool with a fantastic battery life.
Build quality is some of the sturdiest we've ever seen, with firmly mounted panels and resilient matt-finish plastics. All ThinkPads are built for frequent and demanding daily business use and this is a laptop that will easily withstand the rigorous test of all-day use on the move.
The 2.9kg chassis measures 43mm in depth, making it quite cumbersome, though the Lenovo ThinkPad R500 has an excellent battery life of 364-minutes.
ThinkPads are renowned for having arguably the best laptop keyboards around, providing a smooth and firm typing action, resulting in excellent usability. The left Ctrl key is indented by one key, however, which may irritate some users.
The 15.4-inch TFT screen adds to its usability. Its matt finish eliminates reflections, making it easy to view in all conditions. While it also reduces the impact of colour and contrast – leading to a slightly dull picture – it is a worthwhile trade-off for daily portable use.
A key feature of the R500 is the preinstalled proprietary ThinkVantage software. Activated by a blue button above the keyboard, it allows even inexperienced users to quickly and safely configure advanced system tasks and settings.
Excellent data protection features add to the business usability. A fingerprint scanner lets you biometrically secure the laptop and, once configured, only authorised users can access data on the laptop with a quick swipe of their finger.
The Lenovo ThinkPad R500's dual-core Intel processor provides ample performance for frequent multi-tasking. Graphics power is less capable, but you'll have no trouble creating and running PowerPoint office presentations.
An analogue VGA port lets you connect to external monitors, but the inclusion of DisplayPort technology, rather than HDMI, for connecting to high-definition (HD) screens may deter some buyers, due to the limited compatibility presently available.
Offering rock-solid build quality, great usability and an impressive battery life, the ThinkPad R500 is a great entry-level business laptop. While it is quite bulky and has some questionable design choices, its strengths far outweigh its weaknesses, making it easy to recommend.
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