Some people think that at one point the ThinkPad was the ultimate laptop for a mobile workstation. However some beg to argue that this is no longer the case while others still think the company is doing a bang up job. The new Lenovo ThinkPad W540 20BG0016US workstation laptop has been something that has been eagerly anticipated by many. There have been numerous changes to the ideal business laptop and though the company has great branding and some of the best performing machines not all of the changes have been welcomed.
When it comes to a mobile laptop this 15 inch ThinkPad W540 20BG0016US with self-calibrating IPS display and performance still is amongst the top in mobile workstations. While the device doesn’t come with a option for touch-screen and probably could use a little bit more storage and memory there is still plenty to really enjoy with this machine. From the Biometric security to the ISV certification, not to mention the up to six hours of battery life from the removable battery. You can’t help but to be impressed with the self-calibrating bright 3K display and it offers both detail and awesome color.
This particular ThinkPad from Lenovo is one of those high end machine made for graphic designers. If you are someone who clearly need a workstation for all your designs and works this W540 20BG0016US offers up a solid state drive that is fast, Intel Core i7 and the Nvidia Quadro K2100 graphics. For those artists who really want to make sure color is both accurate and on point the 3K self-calibrating screen.
If performance is one of the main things you are looking for as mention this workstation comes equipped with the Intel Core i7-4800MQ processor that includes an internal Intel HD Graphics 4600, as well as the Nvidia Quadro K2100M 2GB ISV-certified graphics card. While this W540 is great for design and creating its not the machine we would put up for PC gaming even though the laptop is great for 3D. The processor in this laptop is more than enough to provide sufficient performance for most scenarios. While the system does come in high for most task we would have liked to have seen both more memory and a faster storage solution. The good thing is that you can easily upgrade the memory. When it comes to the battery life you can expect to get at least 6 hours which should be plenty, not to mention its a removable one at that so you can easily swap it out if and when needed.
The display of the Lenovo ThinkPad W540 is the 3K IPS display which has a resolution of 2880 x 1620 pixel and has great viewing angles. The self-calibrating color screen is top-notch as it comes with the integrated X-Rite Pantone color calibrator. If works by using a built in camera that is in the palm rest that allow you to view and adjust the color balance on the device’s screen. Which is great for those user’s who are constantly in need of calibrating their work.
By having the screen calibration available it cuts out the need for having an external one that you would have to pay for and carry around. For best results you should calibrate the screen as soon as you power it up and re-calibrate as needed. Many users may not understand but for someone who really needs color accuracy this is nothing small to over look. To calibrate the screen you just need to launch it from the workstations start menu, then close the lid and wait for the beeping to end. To make it easy for you the lid actually will light up when the calibration is complete.
While the W540 doesn’t come with a touch-screen option it however does come equipped with anti-glare coating that is on the display’s surface. It’s a very nice screen even though it has a matte finish and not like some of the other glossy screens out that such as the ones on the MacBook Pro. Some may think that the matte finish would harm the display but having the color calibrator more than makes up for it.
For the design aspect of the new W540 ThinkPad it is pretty the similar design as the rest of the series. It comes with a outer dark gray color and measures in at 15 x 10 x 1.1 inches (WHD). You get a workstation that is still portable weighing in a just under six pounds at 5.67lbs. This machine sports a backlit keyboard with full numeric keypad and a TrackPoint pointing stick. The trackpad is for the most part just like the ones on the other ThinkPads and is very large. You will notice that the biometric fingerprint reader is also located on the palm rest. On this mobile workstation the chiclet keyboard still provides a good pressure point which makes for accurate and easy typing. There is good feedback from the keyboards and there is also an F-row with extra features. The touchpad is not as reliable as one would want it. We would have preferred to see the dedicated buttons on this machine like they have on it predecessors.
The bottom-line is that the new Lenovo ThinkPad W540 20BG0016US offers great battery life, a self calibrating screen, offers up power and performance that would suit most users needs and is even a little lighter than previous models. However there are things such as the single button trackpad seems to not be a favorite and while there is plenty of space for the keyboard it is edge to edge so some people my find that there hands hang off if they have big hands. More memory and no touch-scree option are some of the cons. Also be aware that Lenovo changed all of their accessories so chances are nothing you currently have such as docking stations or old power units will work with this W540 model. This still is one of the better mobile workstations out on the market right now. It just really depends on how much your want to spend, the quality you expect and your individual needs as to whether this is the machine for you.