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Lenovo ThinkPad R500 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £760
inc VAT

Lenovo's ThinkPad R500 has surprisingly long battery life, but it otherwise failed to live up to our expectations, and is also expensive.


15.4 in 1,280×800 display, 2.9kg, 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6670, 2.00GB RAM, 250GB disk, Windows Vista Business

Lenovo’s ThinkPad R500 is chunky for a 15.4in laptop.

While this means that there’s room to fit both a CardBus and ExpressCard/54 slot, it also means that it weighs 2.9kg. As such, this is more a laptop for using around the home than out and about, although if you unplug it the battery life of five-and-a-half hours is decent.

Unfortunately, the rest of the laptop isn’t so impressive. For starters, there’s only 2GB of RAM, where we’d expect at least 3GB. The 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo T6670 is a decent enough processor, but the R500’s overall score in our benchmarks of 59 was slightly disappointing. More memory would improve matters.

It’s also disappointing that there’s no dedicated graphics chip, and the onboard Intel GMA 4500M HD graphics aren’t up to playing games. There are VGA and DisplayPort outputs, but you’ll need a DisplayPort-to-DVI or HDMI adaptor to use this with most monitors. We haven’t seen any displays that use DisplayPort yet, as it’s a new standard.

The 15.4in display’s resolution of 1,280×800 gives you a similar amount of desktop space as the more usual resolution of 1,366×768 on the 15.6in laptops. The screen’s matt finish helps reduce reflections, but the backlight is uneven and viewing angles are poor, so we had to sit straight-on to get the best image quality.

The R500’s keyboard isn’t quite as good as other ThinkPads we’ve reviewed, but it’s by no means bad and it’s comfortable to type on. It’s annoying that some keys aren’t in their usual place – the Esc key sits above the F1 key and the Control key has switched place with the Fn key – but you’ll soon get used to that. There’s a choice of touchsticks with a selection of tips and a touchpad. Both are accurate to use, although their buttons are a little spongy.

The 250GB hard disk is disappointingly small. At this price we’d have expected at least a 320GB model, although 500GB would have been better.

The R500 is by no means a bad laptop, but long battery life is its only standout feature. Mesh’s Edge 15 is a better choice.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo T6670
Processor clock speed 2.2GHz
Memory 2.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 1
Maximum memory 4GB
Size 42x359x260mm
Weight 2.9kg
Sound Conexant HD SmartAudio 221
Pointing device touchstick, touchpad
Power consumption standby 1W
Power consumption idle 20W
Power consumption active 32W


Viewable size 15.4 in
Native resolution 1,280×800
Graphics Processor Intel GMA 4500M HD
Graphics/video ports VGA, DisplayPort
Graphics Memory 64MB


Total storage capacity 250GB
Optical drive model LG GSA-T50N
Optical drive type DVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Total Firewire ports 1
Bluetooth no
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11a/n
PC Card slots 1x ExpressCard/54, 1x CardBus
Modem Yes
Supported memory cards SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo, xD
Other ports none


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows Vista Business
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included InterVideo WinDVD 5, Roxio Creator Business Edition 10.1
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty one year collect and return
Price £760

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