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Lenovo G550 review

Verdict

Lenovo's G550 tries to combine ThinkPad build quality with consumer-friendly features, but it's a disappointing mix

Review Date: 7 Jan 2010

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £483 (£568 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
3 stars out of 6

Features & Design
3 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

Lenovo’s iconic ThinkPad range has become synonymous with high-quality business portables, and with its Value line, it's attempting to recreate that success with keenly priced consumer models such as the G550.

With its lid closed, the Lenovo is almost rather handsome. A subtle grain helps to make the G550’s silvery-grey plastic look a little like brushed metal, and the curved edges initially dispel any comparisons with the square-jawed ThinkPad range. Tilt back the lid, however, and the thick base and lumpen design make most ThinkPads look positively svelte.

The G550’s 2.56kg frame seems to promise equally thick-set build quality, but it isn’t up to ThinkPad standards. There’s nothing major to worry about, but the chassis is noticeably more pliant than Acer’s Aspire 5739G, and there’s a fair amount of give in the lid, too. If you do decide to take the weighty Lenovo on your travels, battery life is middle of the road: sitting idle with the screen set to mid brighness it lasted 3hrs 52mins on a full charge.

Lenovo G550

The average build quality rears its head in other areas. The keyboard is sensibly laid out and the keys have a nice, positive action, but you don’t have to press too hard to feel the base give way underneath. It’s a shame, since it makes for a disconnected feel that isn’t as pleasant to type on as the best we've tried.

Image quality is another of the Lenovo’s weak points. The 15.6in panel has a native resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels, which is identical to many of the other laptops here, but while the images it produces appear eye-poppingly bright, it isn’t subtle. Highlights looked crushed and poor contrast left even the most vibrant of pictures looking sun-bleached.

Performance at least showed the Lenovo in a more favourable light. The 2.2GHz dual-core processor is enough to push the G550 past the finish line with 1.10 overall in our application benchmarks and, on the graphics front, the Nvidia GeForce G210M chip powers to a respectable 36fps in our easiest Crysis benchmark.

But despite fine performance, Lenovo’s G550 doesn’t deliver the all-round panache of some of its rivals. With a poor display, unremarkable build quality and mediocre ergonomics, it simply doesn’t have what it takes to compete with best in this price bracket.

Author: Sasha Muller

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