Lenovo W520 review

A powerful, feature-rich business machine with a Full-HD screen

Lenovo W520
This laptop provides workstation power in a portable package

TechRadar Verdict


  • +

    Great performance

  • +

    Bright Full HD screen

  • +

    Excellent keyboard

  • +

    Good features


  • -

    Battery life

  • -


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Lenovo has built itself a strong corner in the business laptop market with its popular ThinkPad range. The ThinkPad W520 is a highly powerful business machine crammed with features, and is perfect for mobile professionals that use resource-hungry software.

The first thing we marvelled over was the ultra-bright 15.6-inch display. Images are supremely sharp thanks to the 1080p Full-HD resolution, making this a fine choice for design professionals.

A matt TFT finish means it's immune to reflections, so you can comfortably use the ThinkPad wherever you travel.

However, at 2.9kg this isn't the most mobile business laptop we've seen. You'll need a spacious briefcase or bag to carry it around and the three hours of battery life is merely average.

Mobility may be flawed, but performance more than makes up for it. One of Intel's Core i7 2620M processors is on board, which will comfortably run the most intensive software for the foreseeable future.

Multimedia performance is just as strong, with a dedicated Nvidia Quadro 1000M GPU handling graphics – perfect for editing HD video and playing the latest games.


Battery life: 182 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 177
3DMark 2003: 21,465

We've come to expect a strong range of features from modern business laptops and the ThinkPad doesn't disappoint. If you plan on carrying confidential data around, the integrated fingerprint scanner will keep it secure.

There's plenty of space on the fast-access 500GB hard drive for all of your files, and this can be expanded through the 4-in-1 memory card reader. An ExpressCard slot allows the laptop's potential to be expanded by further increasing performance or adding peripherals.

You can also attach peripherals using the three USB ports, two of which are USB 3.0 for speedy data transfer with compatible external storage devices. VGA and DisplayPort connections can be used to hook up monitors.

Excellent keyboard

If you plan on typing out long documents, or spending lots of time emailing, the ThinkPad's firm bevelled keyboard is a great way to do it. It's a rather noisy board, with each key clacking as it's hit, but we reached some impressive speeds when touch-typing and the keys are well sized.

Lenovo's trademark pointing stick is also positioned in the centre of the keyboard, providing an alternative to the textured touchpad for moving the on-screen cursor.

A potent combination of strong performance, excellent features and a sharp, ultra-bright screen make the ThinkPad W520 a worthy business machine. Portability is restricted by the weight and average battery life, so you're best leaving this laptop on your desk.

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