Lenovo ThinkPad SL500 review

Barry de la Rosa
16 Apr 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT



15.4 in 1,280x800 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Lenovo's ThinkPads have a classic design that never seems to go out of date.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

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo T5870
Processor clock speed2GHz
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory3GB
SoundConexant HD SmartAudio 221
Pointing devicetouchpad and touch stick
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption idle17W
Power consumption active45W


Viewable size15.4 in
Native resolution1,280x800
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA 4500M HD
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory32MB


Total storage capacity250GB
Optical drive modelHL-DT-ST GSA-T30N
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports4
Total Firewire ports1
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11a/n
PC Card slots1x ExpressCard/54
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD
Other portsminijack audio output, minijack microphone input


Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows Vista Business
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedIntervideo WinDVD, Roxio Creator Small Business Edition, PC-Doctor 5 for Windows

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB

Read more