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Power Graphics Portables Hardware

Lenovo ThinkPad W550s: Heavy, But a Battery That Lasts Nearly All Day 79

MojoKid writes: Mobile workstation notebooks typically offer a fair degree of performance but usually at the expense of battery life. It comes with the territory for machines that are configured with higher-end processors with discrete graphics chips, as well as high-end displays that take more power to light up. Lenovo, however, seems to have found a way to strike a better balance with their new ThinkPad W550s, which comes equipped with an Intel Core i7-5600U CPU, an NVIDIA Quadro K620M GPU, and a 15.5 inch IPS display that sports 2880X1620 native resolution. With that kind of horsepower and that many pixels to push, you would think untethered up-time wouldn't be its strong suit but Lenovo configured a snap-in extended battery for the W550s. The 6-cell extended battery, in combination with its 3-cell internal battery, was able to power the machine for over 18 hours of light-duty web browsing in real-world testing (Lenovo claims up to 20 hrs of battery life). The machine also lasted over five hours under heavy-load Battery Eater testing, and the extended battery is unobtrusive, tilting the keyboard up slightly toward the user but keeping well inside the machine's footprint.
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Lenovo ThinkPad W550s: Heavy, But a Battery That Lasts Nearly All Day

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Would have been nice if I didn't have to click the link to get that number.

  • So..my Mac is light and the battery lasts all day.
    • Re:so? (Score:4, Informative)

      by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Thursday July 16, 2015 @11:08AM (#50125009) Homepage Journal

      So..my Mac is light and the battery lasts all day.

      But does your Mac have NVIDIA Quadro graphics? This is a workstation replacement laptop, not designed for just average use.

      It also has a vastly superior pointing device (trackpoint rather than only a touchpad) and keyboard (lenovo rather than jello) when compared to your Mac.

      • It's not jello, it's Chiclets. They're crisp until the first use but then, well, they're Chiclets.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        My mbp has 9 hrs battery , retina 15" display, discrete graphics chip, pcie flash storage and multitouch trackpad which is way better than ur little nub.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          And this Thinkpad has 18 hours of battery life, a faster pro-level GPU, a better than "retina" 2880X1620 resolution display, 16GB 12800 DDR3L upgradeable/replaceable RAM and dual pointing devices.

      • Re:so? (Score:4, Informative)

        by NJRoadfan ( 1254248 ) on Thursday July 16, 2015 @12:33PM (#50125227)
        Whats odd is this model is a downgrade over the refreshed W541. Unless you really need a Broadwell CPU, the W541 offers Thunderbolt, Expresscard, and double the memory capacity of the W550s. Heck, the optional battery for the W541 is higher capacity (99WHr) than the one for the W550s (72WHr).
      • It also has a vastly superior pointing device (trackpoint rather than only a touchpad) and keyboard (lenovo rather than jello) when compared to your Mac.

        Trackpoint is junk when combined with the god forsaken clickpad for the buttons. Clickpad by itself as a touch pad is just torture to try and right click with.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Which mac? There isn't an apple laptop made that matches this for performance and battery life.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Mbps get 9 hours battery life. You can get infinite hours of life using an external battery, so it's not a good measure. With flash storage it blows this away.

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          Mbps get 9 hours battery life.

          No, MacBook Pros claim 9 hours of typical battery life. And when I'm just doing word processing, I get about that. Unfortunately, when I run real power-user apps, like Photoshop, Finale (music notation), Xcode, etc., I'm lucky if I get three hours.

          Don't get me wrong, the effort that Apple has put into optimizing their apps and the OS itself is a very good thing, and it helps a lot for typical users. With that said, for what I do with my Mac, I'd trade this retina MBP for a t

          • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

            This thing's battery life is also specced as "light web browsing." Actually, when they did light web browsing they couldn't get it up to the rated battery life.

            If you used it to do actual workstation-y things that would justify that hardware, you get rather less.

            An ultra-long run notebook is an interesting idea, but I don't really understand why you'd want a notebook with a gigantic battery and a bunch of high end hardware for doing 3D graphics. Gaming in that coffee shop where you just can't get a plugin

            • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

              Using a beefier GPU isn't necessarily the wrong choice, assuming you can sink enough heat. From my perspective, the critical questions are how it compares in terms of power per watt and minimum idle power.

              For example, consider two GPUs. The faster chip uses 80% more power at full throttle, but gives you twice the computing power. So if you need to do 10 units of work, the slower ship will take 10 seconds to do it, and the second one will take five seconds, but will use the same amount of power as the fi

  • I use a laptop a lot for going out to customers and giving demonstrations and the ideal (for me) would be about 6 hours of so of battery life but I think I would be at the high end of the power curve (requiring active WiFi and Bluetooth as well as the processor/display fully up). For the average laptop, the life I get seems to be around 3.5hours. But, I can't see a larger/heavier laptop with more life would be an big advantage for me.

    What would be an advantage to me would be reasonable life (and 3.5hours seems to fit that need for a single meeting/session) with the ability to plug into an outlet (there's always an outlet around where I am) and car would be of more use to me than a big honking battery that takes a long time to fully charge. This would make travel simpler (don't have to bring along the brick) as well as search into the depth of the bags in a meeting when the seven minute warning comes up on Windows.

    • You know they sell additional "power bricks", right? I carry a small one for my Thinkpad in my messenger bag and it adds something like 200g to my loadout. The ones for the Broadwell Thinkpads are even smaller...

      As for 6 hours of battery life: That's roughly where we're at for modern machines (say since Sandy Bridge) with ~100Wh of battery power at medium-high load with network connectivity and high display brightness. A W550s would fit the bill... and it's not really that heavy.

  • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Thursday July 16, 2015 @11:11AM (#50125019)
    I really don't get why weight matters in a laptop. If 5.47 pounds is too heavy for you in any situation, you really need to stop worrying about it and maybe start lifting some weights.
    • by johnnys ( 592333 )

      5.47 pounds is reasonable for a "business laptop". It is WAY overweight for an "ultrabook". The whole point of an ultrabook is that it's powerful *and* light. And way expensive, too. It's the supermodel of laptops.

      5.47 pounds just makes it the Rosanne Barr of ultrabooks.

      • Even still, who are these people looking for ultrabooks that can't lift and carry 5.47 pounds??
        • by ZipK ( 1051658 )

          Even still, who are these people looking for ultrabooks that can't lift and carry 5.47 pounds??

          People who travel extensively and have enough other crap in their backpack or bag that an additional 2.5 pounds makes a difference as they trudge through airports, between meetings or around a large campus. Dropping from a 5+ pound ThinkPad to a 3-pound MBA made a noticeable difference, both in combination with other things in my bag, and on its own.

    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      5.47 pounds is WAY to heavy for a laptop for me. My current laptop is 3.14 pounds and I still find it too heavy. Why? Because I primarily use it for traveling to conferences: I'll be transporting it from the hotel to the conference, from the keynote room to the session room, to the break rooms, to lunch, to diner, to visit the city while I am there. So essentially, I'll be transporting it all day long with everything else I need (cell phone, wallet, charger).
      5 pounds in a shoulder bag is too much (it offset

    • A sibling post already explains one key issue. When you're carrying something, it usually puts an asymmetric load on you, causing all kinds of strain over time. It's very different from lifting weights, which is more controlled and dynamic, and usually done for a limited amount of time, not all day. I presume you don't have that much experience carrying laptops (along with all other crap you might need with you).

      Also, lifting weights is a very different setting overall from a business day. Small weights

    • Sounds like you don't commute by public transit and walking.

      If you travel everywhere by car and just carry the laptop at the end points, weight isn't that big an issue. If you go everywhere by public transit and walking, it matters more because you're going to spend a lot more time actually carrying that laptop. It's not unusual to be looking at a mile walk at the end point.

      Weight also matters to frequent flyers. First, you may be carrying that laptop for a while; in larger airports the walk to your gate ca

  • by eviljav ( 68734 ) on Thursday July 16, 2015 @12:15PM (#50125103)

    I'm glad they fixed many of the issues with the previous keyboard.

    Would have been the perfect new laptop, if they had centered the keyboard.

    • This. Laptop keyboards are already full of compromises, so the extra space should be used for better keys, not just more keys. To me, a good keyboard was one of the key reasons [iki.fi] for getting a Thinkpad, but I wouldn't pay for this crap.
      • by fnj ( 64210 )

        Disregarding the imbecilic complaint that the "keyboard is off center" (which it ISN'T), exactly what is your specific objection to "this crap"?

        • While the sibling post should explain the off-center issue, I should probably elaborate on the "better, not more keys" idea. I'm used to traditional navigation keys such as Home/End/PgUp/PgDn and the arrow keys. I also use the function keys a lot, and I appreciate the traditional grouping into 4s for quick access in near-dark conditions (such as DJing and theatre sound tech). My current Thinkpad does this pretty well [bigcommerce.com] for a laptop, they actually put some thought into grouping the keys nicely in a tight spac

  • It comes with the territory...

    Tim, you're a writer (or, at least, attempting to play one on TV); as such, you might want to actually learn how. The saying is "goes with the territory."

    (If I don't tell you, who is?? Your editors?!) ;)

    • Partial apologies are due; I misread the name of the submitter (in my defense, I'm used to you Dice guys scraping the bottom of the barrel; just saying...)
    • Tim, you're a writer (or, at least, attempting to play one on TV); as such, you might want to actually learn how. The saying is "goes with the territory."

      Not according to a little known author named Arthur Miller who wrote: "A salesman is got to dream boy, it comes with the territory." (Death of a Salesman, Act 2)

  • Yabut ... Lenovo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rudisaurus ( 675580 ) on Thursday July 16, 2015 @12:17PM (#50125117)
    Superfish [theregister.co.uk]

    Should be all that has to be said. There should be a price to pay.
    • No, there is nothing to be said about superfish, as Lenovo never installed superfish on a ThinkPad. As awful as superfish was for many reasons, it was never on any ThinkPad, ever. Period.
    • Rather that telling us why we should avoid Lenovo, how about suggesting where we should go?

      Every company at some point has screwed over customers. If we shunned every product over every poor company practice then we may as well retreat into the forest and lock ourselves into a cabin away from the world.

      Also Superfish was NEVER installed on any business product and the Thinkpad is no exception. So if we were to vote with our wallets isn't this exactly the product we SHOULD be buying? A product that people ha

    • Superfish [theregister.co.uk]

      Should be all that has to be said. There should be a price to pay.

      Lenovo is not shipping Superfish anymore. Hey, they listened to feedback and made appropriate changes. What else do you want? Please, let's not make this another decade-long nerd-grudge like IBM DeathStar or SonyBMG rootkit.

  • I like reviews for new hardware, I'm not against that at all, but why is it always HotHardware which gets posted? Do they have some kind of affiliation with Slashdot? Or Dice?

    There are a lot of other good review sites out there.
  • - too expensive for what it is
    - too heavy
    - the touchpad is too big and not centered
    - numeric keyboard is useless most of the time
    - 3 usb ports? for this size I expected 4
    - mini-displayport? why not hdmi?

    I would rather buy a normal laptop (2 Kg or less) and a docking station connected to a nice big screen, keyboard and mouse to use at home/office.

    And this being a Lenovo, the BIOS is artificially crippled to limit upgrades to just Lenovo "approved" cards.

    No thanks.

    • by fnj ( 64210 )

      too expensive for what it is

      Purely subjective by definition. Agreed it is a lot of $, but I'd rather have high end options available than no high end options available. Lenovo has an INSANE profusion of models, most of them much cheaper.

      too heavy

      Not necessarily, for what you're getting (hey, we're both subjective here)

      the touchpad is too big

      Really? Well, I would never use it. I wish like hell it wasn't there, and the keyboard was moved downward, but I'll never win that argument in the marketplace.

      and not ce

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > - mini-displayport? why not hdmi?

      You can trivially go from DisplayPort to HDMI (or anything else). The HDMI consortium makes it difficult-to-impossible to go from HDMI to anything other than DVI-D or VGA.

      DisplayPort truly is the universal display interface.

  • No thank you, but that's no W series. It might be a bridge between the T series and the full-fledged W series, but it is not the typical workstation-type laptop. The W series was meant to be a larger, traditional, no-compromise laptop limited only by technological progress - not as some cut-down box.

  • The question 'but does it rune Linux?' needs these days of UEFI be expanded with the question 'is it easy to install?'
    My W520 is still working very well but has been around the world and shows some scars and I'm trying to decide on a replacement.

    Maybe it is a sign of the times these questions weren't addressed in the original article...
  • Recently got an Alienware 15 with the highest specs. At first I thought the battery life was a bit crap, but that was to be expected with the highest end i7 and a gtx980m.

    Put it in low battery mode and I get 9 hours of internet/office/video use.

    And I get a great keyboard.

    So, suck it, Lenovo, with your spyware.

  • I don't care much about looks, and this is certainly one of the best laptops available now, I'd like very much to have one. But I don't understand why do they make thinkpads so ugly. It seems almost intentional.

    • It's very intentional, as Thinkpads have changed very little in appearance since the first ones came out in the mid 1990's years ago sporting 486 processors. That's over 20 years of laptops that are pretty much instantly recognizable as a Thinkpad by anyone familiar with them.

      I for one like their simple, clean, no nonsense styling, and functional design (though Lenovo has been mucking with that a bit more than I like). But each to their own.

  • How about build that thing using the XPS 18 form factor with a 1.5 hour internal battery and put all the extra battery in a big power cover. When it's on the docking pedestal, it can be used as an all-in-one, and when it's being carried, users can make their own weight versus battery life trade off by their choice of which battery size in the power cover. With a hot swappable power cover, users who really want extra battery life could carry two or more of them. When I imagine this sort of thing, I think of

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