My Lenovo Choice - ThinkPad W700 vs. ThinkPad W500 Review
"But it’s the same laptop!" my wife said. I've been using a Lenovo T60 or T60p for a very long time. Since it came out, in fact. I had a T60 at my last job for years, and a T60p all the while at Microsoft. I have happily running 64-bit operating systems on my T60p with 4gigs of RAM…unfortunately with the caveat that the T60p can only address 3gigs, no matter what. (Unlike its smarter cousin the T61.)
I've been at Microsoft almost 2 years (it'll be 2 years in October, I think) and I've been begging my boss for a "hardware refresh." That's Microsoft speak for giving your laptop back and getting a better one. You're better off if the laptop you want is "MSIT Supported." Folks have been known to order all sorts of crazy stuff, but they're responsible for keeping it running if things go south.
My budget was limited and I wasn't able to get an SSD (Solid State Disk, vs. a regular hard drive) in my new laptop, but I would have needed at least a 160gig version anyway, so I'm not too sad.
I've been trying out two Lenovo laptops and settled on one. The other gets sent back to Lenovo.
First, The Beast, then Ultimate Winner. Note that all of this is just my opinion, and I didn't get any free stuff or whatever. I'm just writing a review because I felt like it.
The Beast - Lenovo ThinkPad W700
I was on-site working for a week recently at a large NW company that does business online. I took the W700 with me for a trial run. During the final presentation of the code I had written for this client, it was noticed I'd forgotten to remove a reference in the code to a proxy server I'd been running, so the Senior VP saw "http://bigasslaptop:8080" on his conference room screen. At least it wasn't a proper cuss word, but I felt I needed to explain myself to the room. I pulled out the ThinkPad W700 and the VP I thought I'd offended said "Holy s***, that's a big ass laptop. Ok, I get it now. Continue."
There's nothing else it could be called. This laptop is only a laptop if your lap is two-laps wide. This laptop could be considered a deadly weapon and beat a man to death. This laptop has its own gravitational pull with netbooks and smaller laptops orbiting around it.
it's truly awesome. It is a quad-proc machine with an amazing 1920x1200 17" screen and a second 1280x768 pull out side-car monitor. What's that extra monitor for? Toolboxes, the Solution Explorer, your Email, whatever. It's brilliant, and don't knock it until you've tried it.
If you're looking for a luggable, this is the pinnacle. My #1, and really ONLY problem with the laptop is that it's just too big for my bag. In fact, i was unable to find a bag, backpack or briefcase (even my beloved Zero Haliburton aluminum case) that could hold it.
However, if you want a desktop machine that you can really easily move around, look no further. It's a portable machine, but not a machine you move lightly, or without a buddy assist and strong back.
The WEI scores speed for themselves. A 7.2 on the processor out of a max of 7.9, that's crazy on a laptop. Notice the 5.8 for 3D graphics. It's a great gaming machine (Half-Life looks great) and it'd be excellent for 3D modeling. Interestingly, only the Hard Drive suffers compared to the W500.
The Perfect Laptop - Lenovo ThinkPad W500
The W500 is EXACTLY like my T60p. But with more awesome. It basically fixes every tiny thing that was wrong with the T60p, which was very little. It weighs the same and looks exactly like the T60p. It adds an integrated webcam in the bezel, which means one less thing to carry on trips. It also adds a built-in card reader in the front, which is nice as I've got a half-dozen SD Cards lying around. There's 3 USB ports, a VGA port and a Display Link port and a nice ATI card with a half-gig of RAM. It'll run my big monitors no problem. The screen on the W500 is amazing, running at 1920x1200, but the same size as the T60p.
It's got Bluetooth, WiFi with an external switch (thanks!) as well as WiMax built-in, which is rolling out through my town.
There's a standard PC Card and an Express Card slot. It's got Gigabit Ethernet, which is nice as the whole house is wired. There's also a FireWire port in front. The only thing it's missing is an External SATA slot.
The W500 isn't the big powerhouse that the W700 is, but it's no slouch for a laptop. Notice that you'd have a 5.9 WEI if you drop out the 3D score. I wish I could have put in a SSD but budgets are what they are.
I love this W500 because it's exactly the same size as the T60p. It's the T60p, but updated with everything new, fast and wonderful. It's a nice, normal-looking laptop that is so powerful I can use it as my main machine. There's lots of giant laptops, but the W500 isn't. I can totally use it on a plane without trouble.
To be clear, I've got a MacBook, I've got a Dell Mini 9, a Dell Studio, and a Toshiba. I've used every brand under the sun and I realize that everyone's got their own opinion. Everyone's had a laptop fail and decided that THAT brand sucks.
I've personally had great success with Lenovo ThinkPads for work. They are the tuxedos of laptops. I'd buy a Mac for a personal machine and run Win7 on it (I do) but for work, as a developer, the ThinkPad W500 is rocking my world. I'm running Windows 7 happily on it as well as booting into a Windows 7 VHD with Dev10 installed.
Size Difference Photos
Here's the W700 under a 17" MacBook Pro under a W500.
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