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If you're just after a generic large laptop to replace your home PC and you've stumbled upon this review, you may wish to stop reading now. However, if you're a creative professional or demanding power user, start drooling, because Lenovo's ThinkPad W701ds is likely to be everything you've ever wanted in a (just about) portable package. Primary amongst its features is an actual, honest-to-goodness Wacom Intuos 3-equivalent tablet integrated into the palm rest , providing highly accurate, pressure and tilt sensitive drawing input along with the included stylus. The second big hitter is the screen, or should we say screens. Not only is there a superb quality 17in, WUXGA, RGB-LED-Backlit main display but there's also a slide-out secondary screen.
Inevitably this makes it a huge, hulking beast but Lenovo continues to make up for this with a raft of connectivity and hardware that would make most other laptops weep. You've got Nvidia Quadro graphics for professional 3D modelling and GPU acceleration, a built-in HueyPro hardware colour calibrator, USB 3.0, eSATA, DisplayPort, and optional dual ExpressCard slots. Are you hooked yet?
Naturally, Lenovo backs all this goodness with some pretty impressive potential specifications. An Intel Core i7 820QM quad-core processor that will turbo-clock up to 3.06GHz leads the charge and this can be partnered with Nvidia's Quadro FX2800M, which includes 1GB of video memory. All this makes for a killer combo for anything from rendering and encoding to gaming. Memory quotas start at a miserly 2GB but you can get all the way up to 16GB, with our review model including 4GB.
Also, at the W701ds' estimated price point of around £3,000, you might expect an SSD as the boot drive, rather than the – admittedly speedy – 7,200rpm, 500GB hard drive, though at least it's protected against shocks and vibration with a rubber mounting system. For some extra cash you can upgrade to a 128GB SSD and there's a second slot for adding another hard drive or SSD, with RAID options available.
As you would expect from a ThinkPad, you'll find the Professional version of Windows 7 running the show, rather than the Premium edition found on most consumer and some business laptops. OS aside, the installation is relatively free of extraneous software, which is how we like it, with only Microsoft Office, McAfee antivirus, Intervideo WinDVD, Corel DVD MovieFactory and heuyPRO's image calibration software preinstalled.
There's also some incredibly slick ThinkVantage software which provides easy and attractive management for things like battery life and networks.
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