If you're looking for high-end Windows workstation performance and even better usability, the Lenovo ThinkPad W540 should be at the top of your shopping list.Read the full review →
The ThinkPad brand of laptops has long stood among the cream of the crop for Windows machines, with the W Series becoming the go-to workstation for many a road warrior these past few years. The newest iteration in the series is the ThinkPad W540, but instead of moving the line forward, the W540 stumbles in some key areas.
On the outside, Laptop Magazine says the ThinkPad W540 is "made more for function than form," with "a durable glass-fiber reinforced plastic material on the outside and magnesium roll cage on the inside to guard against drops." Notebookcheck notes it leaves a "sturdy impression in general," despite "the typical weak spots" and "some quiet creaking sounds from the palm rest." However, they also note that "one advantage of the case construction is the low weight," which Laptop Magazine says makes it "easy to carry under my shoulder because its weight feels evenly distributed."
… show more However, open the W540's lid and you'll find its strengths aren't as evenly distributed, with some features succeeding while others merely disappoint. You can chalk up one in the "win" column with the display, which features "vivid colors with outstanding image quality" and TweakTown calls it "simply gorgeous." It's no slouch in the performance department either, with a "good score" that TweakTown says proves "that even in a mobile workstation, you can pack serious CPU power."
Unfortunately, when you turn your attention to the input half of the machine, the W540's frustrations are laid bare. At least typing on the keyboard is nice, with TweakTown liking its "good tactile feel," while Laptop Magazine even went so far as to call it "the best of the best." The feel of the touchpad is a completely different story. TweakTown finds it "a little clunky" and Notebookcheck says it "quickly results in frustration because the lower corners do not accept clicks or inputs, respectively." While they note it "requires a lot of patience to use," the frustration it causes is more evident in user reviews, with jxf noting the W540's touchpad is "incredibly finicky, doesn't always recognize right-clicks, and is hard to make precision movements with." Additionally, the "off-center keyboard makes it painful to use for long periods, because you'll have to angle your hands to the left to use the keyboard correctly." Overall, jxf says you'll "feel like you've suddenly become far less productive."
With a gorgeous screen and solid build, the W540 still has a lot of offer road warriors. They just need to be very patient road warriors willing to make a few compromises -- like buying a portable mouse.
Speed and features
Design and form factor
Portability (size / weight)
When looking for a mobile workstation, the W540 should be at the top of your list. This is a well designed laptop with top performance, fast boot times and a gorgeous display. Its light weight also makes it ideal when carrying around on location.Read the full review →
Lenovo offers an exciting notebook with the ThinkPad W540 mobile workstation, which is the right choice for many professional scenarios. The combination of a light case, good performance, decent port variety and the excellent high-resolution display is attractive.Read the full review →
Be careful of fake positive reviews for the W540. Broken English and/or minimal actual review rating explanations are a dead giveaway! This computer is such a piece of crap Lenovo is actually removing negative reviews of the computer from their own website!!!!!!! That's how you know it's bad....Read the full review →
Overall, the W540 is a solid, powerful laptop that unfortunately has a few huge, glaring flaws. Not recommended for power users or software developers. Major successes: * Everything works in Ubuntu 13.10 out of the box, flawlessly. Great work! * Fast, powerful, great graphics performance. I...Read the full review →
My previous thinkpad was a W701 with 17" WUXGA (1920x1200). Lenovo dropped the W7x line and I needed a replacement. Compared to the W701 this machine is: + much more compact (both machine and power adapter) + better battery life + color calibration works great + better form factor, now you...Read the full review →
Reviews of Thinkpad W540 are up to now pre-dominantly negative, which made me hesitate for buying it. After I actually bought it, I was first frustrated as well, but later on my opinions improved. My comments are: Most people complain about the inclusion of Num pad . I find it actually quite...Read the full review →
Thinkpads used to be the best machines that professionals could buy for reasonable amounts of money, unless you were looking for the Apple side of things. This machine is still good, and it might still be among the top of its field, but it, along with its Thinkpad kinsmen, no longer stands out....Read the full review →
Upgraded from a T400, some thoughts: Was hit by famous BIOS bug (Intel Rapid Start) - first time they swapped the mainboard on-site, the second time i had to send it to a service center, which took about two months(!) Keyboard layout is okay for me, although you get it dirty with fingerprints...Read the full review →
Having used the W520 before I was sure the W540 would be at least as good. Unfortunately is the W540 not the Thinkpad that honors its predecessors. Although the W540 weighs less than the W520, both the hardware as its performances are not what you expect for this price. The famous hinges are...Read the full review →
I bought this computer by chance. I am from Europe and I went to US to visit a relative. I aimed at buying a new computer (my HP 8730w was showing aging signs) and I wanted a Z-book. Coming at the B&H store, they didn't have a z-book exactly at my preference, bet they showed me (on-screen...Read the full review →
I like this machine. I'm running Ubuntu 14.04 on it and, aside from headaches figuring out how to make the touchpad function only as buttons so I could use the finger nub that I'm used to, it's been fantastic. As it arrived the touchpad handled multitouch fine but was so sensitive that it was...Read the full review →
Today on shutting down the W540, I get the Windows blue shut down screen with the comment: "Operations are in progress, pleases wait. The machine will be turned off automatically after the operations are complete." OK, so I waited 20+ minutes.... Mouse logo spinning, but no idea what i/o's are...Read the full review →
Original Post 6.4.2014 So there are a lot of negative reviews about the keyboard and track-pad. I think there are a lot of low tech users that are behind the times reviewing these machines. First of all off-set keyboard and track-pads are now the norm with many current laptops. I also have on...Read the full review →
I received the W540 two months ago as a desktop workstation replacement for doing CAD for work. I have to say that i am very surprised and pleased about how well it performs. I use it between two locations and have it always with the lid closed and hooked up to an external display, (one is...Read the full review →
I dont know why I have seen negative reviews for this laptop. Ive seen people complaining about the touchpad, personally, I like the touchpad, sure it's not as good as the macbook pro trackpads but it's very sensitive for light touch clicking and is desgined to be pretty functional as you can...Read the full review →
Definitely W540 is a powerful machine, 4th gen Intel Core i7 good Nvidia GPU with Optimus and up to 32GB or ram is all You need to do serious work. Best mobility for this kind of machine and very good battery life is another advantage. Stunning Full HD and 3K displays are perfect for multitasking...Read the full review →