Lenovo is probably most famous for its range of high-end ThinkPad business laptops, but it also produces the entry level B-Series. The Lenovo B550 successfully aspires to the quality of its more expensive siblings and makes a good – if a little uninspiring – choice.

Most impressive about this machine is the 500GB of hard drive storage, which we would expect on a machine double the price of this. If you've got large amounts of data to carry around, be it business files or movies and music to keep you entertained on your travels, this device offers you the greatest freedom and also future-proofing.

This means you're very unlikely to need to upgrade the size of your hard drive for a good few years, if at all.

Good performance

Performance is also impressive, thanks to the Intel Pentium T4400 processor, and is only bettered by the HP Compaq Presario CQ56-111SA. If you are after a machine for running a number of software programs concurrently, this makes a good choice, letting you get on with your work with a minimum of fuss.

Benchmarks

Battery life: 249 minutes
Mobile Mark 2007: 162
3D Mark 2003: 1542

Graphical performance is about average when compared to other laptops at this price point, aside from the more powerful MSI CR630, and will limit you to consuming rather than creating media. Having said that, basic photo editing will still be possible.

Other features include a webcam above the screen that supports face recognition. Instead of entering a password on startup, the webcam recognises your face and gives you access to your data, adding a great feature for anyone looking for that extra level of security for their files.

Networking isn't quite as good as all rivals. The 802.11g Wi-Fi standard used for accessing routers and hotspots is last-generation technology and proves to be comparatively slow.

Where the Samsung RV510 boasts an attractive design, the Lenovo instead goes for functionality over form. The lined, grooved design makes it very resistant to scratches and scuffs, however, and means it is very easy to grip securely in one hand.

Lenovo b550

The broad keyboard is very comfortable to type on, making the laptop a great option for those who regularly write using their laptop. We found the action a little stiff for our liking, but quickly adapted. A dedicated numeric keypad is included, but is relatively cramped, which might put off those that regularly input data.

Although portability is good and the 249-minute battery life is great for the price, the chassis is one of the heaviest here, so regular travellers might want to consider the Samsung which is lighter.

While the B550 doesn't wow in any areas, it quietly goes about its job with little fuss and will suit those after sheer functionality rather than form.

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