ThinkPad W550s (and W541) announced!

Today, Lenovo has released their first “Ultrabook Workstation”. You may think “That’s a contradiction” – in a way it is, but Lenovo needs to watch the competitions, which are either innovating or copying their competitions (like the Macbook Pro/Air and the Lenovo Yoga). Dell has the Precision M3800, Apple its MacBook Pro 15, and HP its ZBook 14 (though this one falls a little bit out of line as a 14″ model). There was a missing piece in last year’s ThinkPad lineup, and it was the lack of a 15″ Ultrabook model (while there was the S540, it wasn’t available globally and it was also a lower-end model). So Lenovo needed to react to the increased competitions to fully cover its base. That is why the W550s was (is) born – a premium business Ultrabook with workstation attributes. It was announced today at the Autodesk University 2014 conference along with the W541 (more on that later…). Lets get into the spec sheet for the W550s first and then analyze a bit further what exactly this product is:

  • CPU: “CPU performance utilizing the future 5th generation Intel® Core™ processors” – Broadwell, here we come! Though Dual-Core, as the Quads are still a bit away…
  • GPU: nVidia Quadro K620M with Optimus (and an unknown Intel GPU), ISV certified
  • Screen: Either FHD TN (300nits) or 3K/FHD++ IPS (350nits), the last one Touch or non-Touch
  • Chipset: Integrated into the CPU
  • RAM: 2 DIMM Slots, 16 GB RAM max. (no soldered memory!)
  • STORAGE: Up to 512 GB SSD or 1 TB HDD (2.5″ SATA is still standard)
  • WWAN: LTE/UMTS
  • KEYBOARD: Full ThinkPad Precision keyboard version 2013 with Numblock and Backlight (optional)
  • TOUCHPAD/TRACKPOINT: New UltraNav (again): A two button ClickPad with integrated TouchPad buttons and 3 dedicated TrackPoint buttons (!), with a slightly different design compared with the T430/T530 gen
  • PORTS: 3x USB 3.0, VGA (still), mDP 1.2, Gigabit Ethernet, Combined Speaker/Mic In, CS13 Dockingport, optional Smart-Card, 4-in-one Card Reader
  • BATTERY: 1x 44 Wh (internal), + either 23 Wh, 48 Wh or 72 Wh (all external), so a maximum of 116 Wh, according to Lenovo up to 13 hrs of battery life
  • DIMENSION: 380.6 mm x 258.2 mm x 22.4 mm (Touch: 23.3 mm instead of 22.4 mm), 2.23 kg (Touch: 2.48)

So, essentially, it is a 15″ T450s with better internals. More importantly, it is the first 15″ ThinkPad Ultrabook with Powerbridge, an 3K IPS display, and and dedicated NumPad. Of course, the obvious return to the classic Trackpoint system also happens with this system. As mentioned before, a very important system for the lineup. Also, this shows that Lenovo cares about what the customers are saying about the need for dedicated TrackPoint buttons (and David Hill Rocks!).

Some pictures:

lenovo-w550s-01 lenovo-w550s-02 lenovo-w550s-06lenovo-w550s-04

The second machine Lenovo announced was the W541. As you can see just by the name, this wasn’t a totally brand new model revamp – but rather it is a small upgrade from the W540, the addition of the dedicated TrackPoint buttons – everything else should be nearly the same. As a model of the Wx40 line, it still comes with Haswell CPUs.

The W541 looks like this:

W541_product-454x680

Pricing and availability isn’t announced yet for both systems, but with the fact that the W550s comes with Broadwell, we can rest assure that it won’t arrive until next year, so this bit is clear.

What do you think of these new additions to the W-Series (a.k.a. “The Beasts”)? Post your comment below.

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