Lenovo Announces ThinkPad W540 Mobile Workstations

Subject: General Tech, Systems | September 11, 2013 - 03:43 AM |
Tagged: w540, Thinkpad, quadro, optimus, mobile workstation, Lenovo, haswell

Lenovo announced several business-oriented ThinkPad notebooks today, including a new 15" mobile workstation called the ThinkPad W540. This new ISV-certified workstation employs Lenovo's claimed "user inspired design," high resolution screen, Intel Haswell processor, and longer battery life.

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The ThinkPad W540 measures 27mm and weighs 5.45 pounds. It features a 15.5" IPS display with a  resolution of 2880 x 1620 and Precision back-lit keyboard with number pad. The screen can be automatically calibrated using the integrated X-Rite color calibrator, according to the press release. IO ports include Thunderbolt, VGA, and USB among others.

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Lenovo has packed the W540 with a quad core Intel i7 processor, up to 32GB of RAM, an NVIDIA Quadro GPU (with Optimus support), and up to 2TB of hard drive storage in optional RAID configurations. The notebook comes with a Wi-Fi radio and can also be configured with a 4G LTE cellular radio.

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Lenovo has not yet announced pricing, but the mobile workstation will be available in November.


Source: Lenovo

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September 11, 2013 | 08:44 AM - Posted by Luke (not verified)

These are not new ThinkPads, they are Apple imitating monstrosities designed by sell outs.

September 11, 2013 | 12:15 PM - Posted by ArcRendition

In what way are these Apple imitating? Lenovo has simply cleaned up the design of their W-Series to improve overall aesthetics and remove clutter without hindering performance or versatility. The W-Series still incorporates all of the trademark Thinkpad features and design cues in a more steam lined package. The edges are still squared off, basic shape has remained the same, it still features exposed, dual contrasting metal hinges, a rugged chassis and military-grade specifications. Other than a cursory visual similarity in it's rough shape, nothing is the same... at all. Even the speakers have been moved to accommodate a number-pad, something Apple would never do. This machine was clearly designed with functionality ahead of form.

Apple has never used a eraser tip mouse and track pad combo, nor integrated a number pad, nor Quadro-GPUs, nor integrated color calibrator, nor finger print reader, nor exposed metal hinges, nor any of the host of workstation features the W-Series incorporates.

I don't see the similarity. And for one of the world's premier workstation class laptops, it actually looks quite clean. The W-Series appears as though it's integrated a quite a bit of customer feedback into the improvement of it's design and functionality.

I like it.

- Stewart Graham

September 11, 2013 | 02:06 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Apple imitating? You mean by releasing a laptop that looks nothing like a MacBook, with better specs, and provides built in 4G support? Yes... so Apple like. It is clear to me they completely ripped them off.

September 11, 2013 | 04:48 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

thinkpads are probably one of the first laptops.

apple has nothing on thinkpads. and thinkpads are more original than the queen of england.

please don t EVER place apple shit in the same sentence as thinkpad. it s shamefull and disgracefull.

piss off bitch

September 11, 2013 | 08:08 PM - Posted by Luke (not verified)

Haha, abuse, really mature. Whatever. Yes I'm a ThinkPad fan too, and don't like Apple products nearly as much as ThinkPads.

But the removal of physical trackpoint buttons, the removal of the ThinkVantage strip, and the grey rather than black chassis indicate - as even Lenovo design people have openly admitted - they are chasing the MacBook design and its fanboys.

Admit it.

September 11, 2013 | 10:50 PM - Posted by AnonymousBuddy (not verified)

I think it's cute you are calling a company sellouts. Gimme a hug!

February 13, 2014 | 04:05 PM - Posted by You in the Mirror (not verified)

Better they imitate Apple and sell than produce their own! Or even worse imitate any other Winblows PC manufacturer!


September 11, 2013 | 12:22 PM - Posted by Dan (not verified)

Just can't wrap my head around why OEM's keep putting out laptops with the trackpad off center. Would be great if I was left handed but myself, and most of the world, are not.

September 11, 2013 | 07:14 PM - Posted by gc (not verified)

For touch-typists who rest the base of their palms on the palm rest, the touchpad is centered between where the palms rest, so that the palms don't touch the touchpad and move the cursor. On some laptops the problem can be so bad the touchpad has to be turned off while typing.

On laptops which do not have a numberpad, the touchpad is closer to the center. Many such laptops still have a column of keys on the right side, so the home keys (asdf jkl;) are not centered, and the touchpad is a little to left of the midline of the laptop so that it is centered under the home keys.

September 11, 2013 | 07:27 PM - Posted by gc (not verified)

One daring change: they removed all 5 pointer/mouse buttons.

Frequently reviewers complain that buttons select more reliably than touchpad taps or clicks, especially for fine image/graphics pixel selections or editing small text, so it will be interesting to see if Lenovo has solved the problems. Multitouch might help when users remember to use it (click with a different finger than the one positioning the cursor, if that's possible).

September 13, 2013 | 10:16 AM - Posted by manos (not verified)

They finally managed to f@@k up completely Thinkpads

September 13, 2013 | 02:27 PM - Posted by lophiomys (not verified)

Probably a ZenPad, as a previous poster wrote, that this would be a "cleand up" Thinkpad design, BUT NOT a Thinkpad.
We are lucky that the trackpoint is still there.
I say no to this.

Give me back the old "messed up" classic Thinkpad design!
(eg. 600X, X31, X41, T42p, T60p)

September 13, 2013 | 05:23 PM - Posted by Six (not verified)

I miss the keyboard! My w520 appears to be the last of the bunch with that glorious thing.

I might buy a 540 out of loyalty, but I guess I will move on to an MBP as my main workstation.

September 15, 2013 | 09:38 AM - Posted by Andrea (not verified)

sweet, the W540 seems to fall between a Dell Precision M3800 & M4800 perfectly.

September 19, 2013 | 02:55 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

From the pictures it looks like Lenovo set function keys default to multimedia crap instead of actual F1-F12 functionality *facepalm*. Don't they get it that the word "workstation" implies heavy use for work, where function keys need to perform work functions rather than change music tracks? Hopefully they'll at least offer BIOS setting to adjust the behaviour. Also looks like they removed the ThinkVantage buttons, a shame, though the extra buttons above keypad can probably be reassigned from useless "launch calculator/browser/etc." with some xmodmap magic.

September 19, 2013 | 05:28 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I get the impression that laptop manufacturers nowadays are panicking that PC market doesn't grow as much as it used to and are trying to "innovate" just for the sake of "innovation", trying to attract customers with superfluous bling instead of focusing on utility of these machines. The problem with this approach though is that it won't really attract the "casual" computer users as there are cheaper and/or more specialized devices that can satisfy their needs, yet it also alienates the professionals who need their workstation to be functional and not forcing them to change their workflows. And seemingly small things like relocating Home/End/Insert/Delete/PgUp/PgDn and PrtSc keys and removing "unused" keys like context menu key, scroll lock and ThinkVantage button does disrupt the workflow, forcing people to come up with multiple keys combinations where they could use just one "unused" key before (I use ScrollLock as host key in VirtualBox) or figuring out how to remap one key to another (I had to remap useless to me PrintScreen to a missing now context menu key I use a lot). Removing LED showing Caps Lock state? Another bad sacrifice for the sake of style that's not worth it at all.

Reading lots of comments and forum posts it seems there is a strong sentiment among most people that Lenovo's best move with W-series ThinkPads would've been, essentially, to take T61p and replace CPU and video with more modern ones, upgrade USB to 3.0 and up the screen resolution, leaving the keyboard, hinges and screen aspect ratio intact.

September 21, 2013 | 10:34 AM - Posted by noob (not verified)

What is 3k ips mean, will this new beast be able to tackle gaming like a GeForce770?

September 21, 2013 | 10:37 AM - Posted by noob (not verified)

What does 3k ips mean, will this new beast be able to tackle gaming like a GeForce 770? And there is a CD drive yeah?

November 2, 2013 | 01:54 AM - Posted by shin (not verified)

Damn, this keyboard is shit. This is for professionals? No context-menu key? Scroll lock hidden? 6 row chiclet?

This is a joke. Hipster-level sh1t.

I thought there was enough mac clones out there.

November 3, 2013 | 01:45 PM - Posted by Neal (not verified)

first off i love my W520, smaller than the elitebooks and precisions with the best trackpoint and battery life in the business.
As for the new W540-
2880x1620 res. would be sweet, could run it at 1440x810 until I go into my programs, then crank it up.
-K2100 big step up from my 2000m
-not at all crazy about the offset keyboard thnx to number pad addition.
-BUT THE DEAL BREAKER -> Why oh why would they remove the physical trackpoint buttons!? All I use is the trackpoint, I desperately need the buttons while selecting in photoshop or using the bezier tool in illustrator etc., HUGE MISTAKE!
I don't like the size, trackpoint or battey life of the dell's and HP's but I feel I have no choice but to make the switch back :(

November 4, 2013 | 08:45 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Supposedly TrackPoint buttons are not removed, they're just integrated into the TrackPad. Means there are still separate buttons for TrackPoint, but it's hard to say how comfortable they are going to be to use.

Cleaning aside (which is a bitch even for a traditional laptop keyboard) I actually like the chicklet-style keys, but I hate the 6-row layout.

December 24, 2013 | 07:37 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

My wife bought an E591 with the TrackPoint buttons integrated into the TrackPad. It is almost unusable compared to the old buttons. It is very inprecise and the whole pad is on a wobbly base. I call it the wobbleplate. It doesn't select the correct button unless you are very purposeful about reaching to the extremities of the wobbleplate. I will not purchase a Lenovo ThinkPad in the future unless they switch back to the separate physical buttons. I'm very dissappointed with the purchase.

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