Lenovo ThinkPad SL510 2847 review
The ThinkPad SL510 is part of Lenovo's hard-wearing business range. Its chassis has the same incredibly sturdy construction and matt grey finish as almost every other ThinkPad. It also has a matt screen, Windows 7 Professional and integrated Bluetooth. There's a bright red touchstick in the centre of the keyboard, in addition to the usual touchpad below the space bar. At over five hours, its battery life is among the best we've seen from a 15.6in laptop with a standard mobile processor.
Unfortunately, this version of the ThinkPad SL510 also makes some fairly serious compromises starting with the processor. It may be quicker than its low-power CULV cousins, but Intel's 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo T6570 is no record breaker managing just 55 overall in our benchmarks. If you simply want a laptop to run Microsoft Office and browse the web then the SL510 is perfectly adequate for the task.
Another reason for the low score is that Lenovo has scrimped on memory, providing a meagre 2GB of RAM. There's little point in upgrading to 4GB of RAM as the 32-bit version of Windows 7 Professional is installed, which can use only around 3GB. The Intel GMA 4500M HD on-board graphics can't handle 3D games, but can output High Definition video via the HDMI port if you want to connect an HD TV or projector.
Fortunately, the screen is fantastic. Its LED backlighting is even, colours are natural and viewing angles are wide. Dark tones were rich and deep, while pale colours didn't suffer from unwanted cold or warm tints. The matt finish means it isn't reflective and this makes it easier to use under bright lighting.
The SL510 has Lenovo's usual sturdy and responsive keyboard, which lacks a dedicated numeric keypad. This means that the keyboard, touchstick and trackpad are all perfectly centred, making for particularly comfortable typing. There are four USB ports, one of which doubles as an eSATA port, along with VGA and HDMI video outputs, Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n WiFi. An ExpressCard/32 slot provides scope for upgrades, although few products use this format. The memory card reader supports most common formats including SDHC, xD and Memory Stick PRO. Sound from the built-in speakers is powerful and well-balanced.
The ThinkPad SL510 is a good buy if you value sturdy reliability over blistering performance. It's built like a tank, has good battery life and plenty of ports. It's powerful enough for undemanding users, but its performance pales in comparison to similarly priced Core i5 laptops, such as Acer's Aspire 5741.
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