Review: Lenovo's G550 laptop isn't up to lofty ThinkPad standards

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Review: Lenovo's G550 laptop isn't up to lofty ThinkPad standards

Lenovo's Value line combines ThinkPad build quality with consumer-friendly features, but it's a disappointing mix

Lenovo's iconic ThinkPad range has become synonymous with high-quality business portables, and now its Value line is trying to recreate that success with keenly priced consumer models.

With its lid closed, the Lenovo is rather handsome. A subtle grain helps to make the G550's silvery-grey plastic look 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 to worry about, but the chassis is noticeably more pliant than others here, 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, with a light usage of 3hrs 52mins.

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 giving way underneath. It's a shame, since it makes for a disconnected feel that isn't as pleasant as other models here.

Image quality is yet another of the Lenovo's weak points. The 15.6in panel has a native resolution of 1366 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 pushes just ahead of all its budget rivals, and it passed the finish line with 1.10 overall in our application benchmarks.

The GMA 4500 graphics help keep the price to a tiny $831 but offers no gaming potential.

Lenovo's G550 fails to excel. With a poor display, average build quality and mediocre ergonomics, it simply doesn't have what it takes to compete with the Dell Studio 15.

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