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Lenovo ThinkPad SL500 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £572
inc VAT


15.4 in 1,280×800 display, 2.9kg, 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5870, 2.00GB RAM, 250GB disk, Windows Vista Business

Lenovo’s ThinkPads have a classic design that never seems to go out of date.

The SL500 is one of the chunkier models we’ve seen, but the same basic elements are present. The tough, matt black plastic is moulded for a perfect fit between lid and case, and slopes gently around the keyboard to make the keys more accessible.

ThinkPad keyboards have a great reputation. Although this one is still better than most here, it’s disappointing; it’s stiffer than those on more expensive ThinkPads and the keys seem more cramped. The Fn key is placed to the left of the Ctrl key; this layout may annoy those used to keyboard short cuts. There’s a choice between a touchpad and a pointing stick; both of these options are responsive with light-action buttons.

The display has a matt finish to reduce reflections and, apart from small dark patches in the bottom corners, it’s evenly lit and has accurate colours. There’s an HDMI port for connecting external screens or projectors.

The ThinkPad SL500 is one of the best-equipped laptops here and the only one with a FireWire port. Thanks to the Bluetooth and Draft-N wireless support, modem, ExpressCard/54 slot and four USB ports, you have more options to connect to peripherals and networks than you do with any other laptop here.

As if that wasn’t enough, the SL500 comes with a built-in 3G modem and a GPS receiver. It also comes with a free trial to Vodafone’s service, but to switch SIMs you’ll have to unscrew a door on the bottom of the case. The SL500 has the longest battery life in the group but, at 2.9kg, you’ll feel the weight if you carry it everywhere.

The SL500 has all the features you could ever need in a business laptop. It’s more expensive than other laptops such as Samsung’s R510 and Medion’s P6613, which are better value for home use. Still, if you’ll use all its features, the ThinkPad won’t disappoint.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo T5870
Processor clock speed 2GHz
Memory 2.00GB
Memory slots 1
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 3GB
Size 39x358x260mm
Weight 2.9kg
Sound Conexant HD SmartAudio 221
Pointing device touchpad and touch stick
Power consumption standby 1W
Power consumption idle 17W
Power consumption active 45W


Viewable size 15.4 in
Native resolution 1,280×800
Graphics Processor Intel GMA 4500M HD
Graphics/video ports VGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory 32MB


Total storage capacity 250GB
Optical drive model HL-DT-ST GSA-T30N
Optical drive type DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 4
Total Firewire ports 1
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11a/n
PC Card slots 1x ExpressCard/54
Modem Yes
Supported memory cards SD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD
Other ports minijack audio output, minijack microphone input


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows Vista Business
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included Intervideo WinDVD, Roxio Creator Small Business Edition, PC-Doctor 5 for Windows

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £572

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