In a fast paced world, things are always in motion and people are as well, so they travel a lot from one point to another, if not for pleasure, then for business purposes, and they need to carry with them gigabytes of information. And the best way to transport photos, movies, documents and other files is to save them on a laptop, then to take it with you in your trip or to a conference, where you’ll need to show important people projects that you have been working on. Usually, ultrabooks are for businesses, but they cost a lot of money. If you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on an ultrabook with an aluminum construction, then you’ll love Lenovo’s ThinkPad E550, a laptop with a great performance and a plastic exterior.
The E550 is not eye-catchy, but it’s not an ugly laptop either, as it features a charcoal dark grey polycarbonate lid which feels soft to touch, while the chassis was built from a dark grey plastic. You’ll see the ThinkPad logo written on the diagonal, somewhere in the lower right, while the red navigation joystick sits between keys G, H and B. Also, the physical mouse buttons are located above the trackpad, but there’s a small space between the left and right mouse button. The fingerprint, which you can use to log into websites or lock down files, is located in the right.
When the laptop has its lid closed, its total thickness is 27mm, while the chassis measures 18mm. It’s neither thick nor thin, but if you’re placing it on your desk, you will see that it has a standard height for a laptop that fits into the mid-range category. It has a length of 377mm and a depth of 256, weighting 2.35kg, which is also an average weight.
The display measures 15.6inches, but it’s available in two variants of resolutions: 1366 x 768 200 nit Antiglare and FHD 1920 x 1080 220 nit Antiglare. The keyboard stretches to the left and right edges, it contains a full-sized number pad and above it are shortcuts for the browser, calculator, Windows Explorer, plus the lock switch. You’ll find the 12 function keys above all keys, from left to right, but obviously, in front of the row of function keys sits the Esc key. Some of the keys will allow you to change the screen brightness and volume etc.
In the left-hand side you’ll find the ports: Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, USB 3.0 and the vent is very wide, occupying almost half of the space. On the right side you’ll notice a USB 2.0 port, the optical drive and the rectangular Lenovo power connector.
Hardware and Prices
The model with an Intel Core i3-4005U Processor (3MB Cache, 1.70GHz), Intel HD Graphics 4400, 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3L of SDRAM 1600MHz SODIMM and 500GB of storage (7200rpm, 2.5inch) costs $550.05 on Lenovo’s website, but if you’ll want to choose the variant with 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3L (2 DIMM), you’ll pay extra $80, the variant with 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3L SDRAM 1600MHz SODIMM will add $100 to the final price, while the variant with 16GB PC3-12800 DDR3L (2 DIMM) adds $250 to the final sum. Also, if you’ll need more storage, you’ll buy the variant with 1TB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm, 2.5″, which adds $60, while for the variant with 128GB S128GB Solid State Drive, SATA III, you’ll pay extra $130.
The same price of $550.05 is applied for the variant with an Intel Core i3-5005U Processor (3MB cache, 2.0GHz).
The model with an Intel Core i5-5200U Processor (3MB Cache, up to 2.70GHz) costs extra $100, while for the variant that is powered by an Intel Core i7-5500U Processor (4MB Cache, up to 3.00GHz), you’ll add $260.
The laptop comes loaded with Windows 8.1 64 OS, but if you’ll prefer Windows 7 Professional 64 (preinstalled through downgrade rights in Windows 8.1 Pro 64) or Windows 8.1 Pro 64, you’ll add $50 to the final sum.
The laptop comes with preloaded applications such as Office 2013, Norton Internet Security 2014, Cloud Storage (Windows 8.1 only), Evernote (Windows 8.1 only), Dolby advanced audio V2, Lenovo SHAREit and Skype.
The model with a dual-core processor running at 2.4GHz obtained a score of 285 in the Cinebench test, while the results for the graphics were 37.8 fps. In the PCMark 8 Home Test, the Lenovo laptop scored 2871 (3692 accelerated), while the Battery Life test shows that it can last up to four hours and 14 minutes. Also, in the 3DMark: Sky Diver test, it scored 4512; in the Cloud Gate test had a score of 5658; and finally, the Fire Strike test gave a score of 1271.
According to these results, the ThinkPad E550 proved that it’s worth its price. However, the 6 cell Li-Ion Battery (48WH – 75+) didn’t have the best results, as it has a shorter lifespan than other laptops with similar batteries.