The Lenovo W Series is a range of laptops aimed at the workstation market, with the Lenovo ThinkPad W700 (£3053 inc. VAT) being the second model in the range.

This machine is a hulking 4.3kg desktop replacement that has been designed with the professional photographer in mind.

A workstation needs a number of different factors in order to work properly. It needs to have the latest in both main processing and graphics cores and the graphics need to support Open GL solutions.

The machine also needs a high-quality screen and plenty of memory and storage space. Fortunately, the W700 delivers across the board on all these.

Strong Vista performance

The 17-inch TFT screen has a native resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels, so images look amazingly sharp. It has a 400nits brightness level, which is almost twice what you'll find on an average laptop. As a result, colours are warmer and contrast levels look great. Graphics are handled by the nVidia Quadro FX 3700M, which is a perfect solution for high-end users.

Making sure what you see on the screen is the same as what you'll print requires dedicated colour calibration and this machine handles it using Pantone's X-Rite calibrator with HueyPRO software.

This machine manages to fit in an Intel 2.53GHz Core 2 Quad processor without signs of growing hot to the touch. Overall, we found the performance of the ThinkPad W700 to be excellent.

The Windows Experience Index (WEI) gives the user an indication of how well his machine will run under Windows Vista. A typical machine will score 3.0, while the W700 ranks in at 5.9 – the highest score we've ever seen using WEI.

Wacom tablet pad

Perhaps the most novel addition is the built-in Wacom tablet pad. This is located alongside the touchpad and mouse buttons and uses an electronic pen to offer greater image control of onscreen data. It can also be used to handle Tablet PC software, which is an integral part of Windows Vista Business Edition.

This machine does miss a couple of tricks. We found the keyboard wasn't as firm in its mountings as you'll find in smaller ThinkPads and with two sets of mouse buttons and a pointing stick, along with the tablet, it feels a little overloaded with input devices. There is also a separate numeric keypad, which feels lost on the right-hand side of the machine.

From the fingerprint scanner to the use of twin hard drives set up in a RAID configuration, it's a well thought-out design that works exceedingly well.

If high-end and demanding tasks are your stock in trade, the Lenovo ThinkPad W700 is currently the only real workstation worth considering.