Lenovo ThinkPad SL500 review

Does Lenovo's business machine do the job for the average user?

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Our Verdict

Outstanding comfort and quality from this business machine

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 800
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification


  • Good battery life
  • Great screen
  • Excellent usability


  • Not great multimedia performance
  • Boring design
  • Some missing features

Lenovo's ThinkPad laptop range targets the corporate user, but of late the company has also tried to attract smaller businesses and regular consumers. The Lenovo ThinkPad SL500 (£519 inc. VAT) is a result of this, with consumer-friendly design features such as a glossy lid.

The 15.4-inch screen doesn't feature a glossy Super-TFT coating and it's by far the best for use on the move. Reflections and fingerprints are well suppressed and colour reproduction doesn't suffer as a result. Images are bright and vibrant, aided by LED backlighting, and it's a pleasure for both office use and watching movies.

In keeping with this machine's corporate aspirations, an integrated GPU is used to boost battery life. At 217 minutes, you'll be able to use this machine for the daily commute. It does restrict media use, however, and you should look elsewhere if you want to carry out 3D design work or play games in your spare time.

Excellent keyboard

One thing that's the same between the SL500 and more expensive ThinkPads is the keyboard – and in this case it's one of the best we've tried. Moving near silently, each of the keys are responsive and react with perfect precision, adding a sense of quality other laptops can't match.

You'll find a pointing stick in the centre of the keyboard – in addition to a traditional touchpad – offering an alternative way of controlling the cursor. There are mouse buttons fitted for each. The chassis itself is one of the toughest around, too.

Lenovo thinkpad sl500 keyboard

The glossy lid attracts scratches and fingerprints, and looks out of place on such a conservative design. Attention to detail is great, such as the recessed screen that prevents items from falling between the keyboard and display in transit.

Processing power is provided by an Intel Core 2 Duo chip, in this case backed by 2048MB of memory. We found it rapid in daily use, although performance slowed when running a host of different programs.

Though the 250GB hard drive is not the most capacious, there's plenty of space for business documents. You'll also find the fastest network connections currently available, and ports include VGA, HDMI and mini FireWire. It's one of the few laptops in this price range to omit an integrated webcam, however.

If you're in the market for a corporate laptop, at this price few are better than the ThinkPad SL500. The Toshiba Satellite Pro A300-2C5 may offer better multimedia performance, but the keyboard on this laptop is one of the best available, creating an excellent work environment.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity250 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelGMA 4500MHD
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time4 Hour
Solid State Drive CapacityNo
Product FamilyThinkPad SL500
Processor ModelT5870
Operating SystemWindows Vista Business, Windows Vista Business Downgradable to Windows XP Professional
Brand NameLenovo
Processor Speed2 GHz
Processor TypeCore 2 Duo
Screen Size39.1 cm (15.4")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1280 x 800
Standard Memory2 GB
Cache2 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityEPEAT Silver
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports4
Memory StandardDDR2-667/PC2-5300
Height39 mm
Width358 mm
Depth260 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR2 SDRAM
Product SeriesSL500
ManufacturerLenovo Group Limited
Product Model2746E5G
Product NameThinkPad SL500 Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad, Trackpoint
Product LineThinkPad
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part NumberNRJE8UK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.lenovo.com/uk/en/
Marketing Information

Your PC affects two of your greatest assets, the productivity of your employees and your data. With the ThinkPad SL500 Notebook, you can choose a suite of services to complement your new PC and enable protection of these assets.

Maximum Memory4 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • ThinkPad SL500 Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year
Bus Speed800 MHz