As announced earlier this week, the new ThinkPad W700ds is the first notebook to offer a true dual-screen mobile solution. This massive powerhouse packs more technology inside its all-black chassis than most workstation desktops. From two bright displays, a built-in Wacom digitizer, and built-in color calibrator to dual hard drives and a dedicated Compact Flash card reader, this notebook has it all. Is this the greatest ThinkPad yet? Keep reading to see our take.
Although many large notebook computers have been billed as "desktop replacements" there is one area where notebook computers couldn't compete with true desktop computers ... dual screens. Yes, you can always connect a second screen to a laptop, but then your laptop isn't a "mobile" solution anymore because you have a wired external monitor tethered to your notebook. Lenovo is the first manufacturer to solve this issue by offering a high-performance mobile workstation notebook with two screens.
Our pre-production sample of the Lenovo ThinkPad W700ds Mobile Workstation features the following specifications:
The starting price of the W700ds is $3,663, but we don't currently have a price for the pre-production sample we are using for this first look review.
Build and Design
In our original review of the single-screen W700 we jokingly called the W700 "the laptop designed to make normal people feel small." Well, someone at Lenovo obviously subscribes to the idea that "bigger is better" because the W700ds makes the W700 look downright slim. In order to accomodate the second display in the W700ds Lenovo roughly doubled the thinkness of the display lid used in the W700.
What does this mean in practical terms? It means you're carrying a notebook that is almost the same thinkness as two 14-inch laptops combined. Take a look at the images below to see for yourself (we even included a shot of the W700 with a Dell Latitude D630 on top for scale).
Of course, if you're wondering why Lenovo didn't make the W700ds thinner, the answer is durability. Every ThinkPad owner knows that the ThinkPad brand is synonymous with durable notebooks designed for serious work. The reality is that a second display sliding out from behind the main display creates obvious areas where the notebook could be damaged. That's why Lenovo made it thicker. First, by having a display that sticks out from the side it's easy to accidentally bump or knock the display, and Lenovo made the second spring-loaded, slide-out display quite rugged and sturdy to prevent breakage. Additionally, when a second display slides out from behind the primary display this creates a gap behind the primary display that is prone to flex and could potentially make it easier to damage the primary display when excess pressure is applied to the lid. Lenovo solved this problem by making the lid thicker and sturdier to prevent flex.
The end result is a thicker notebook ... but one that can survive day-to-day use and abuse by working professionals around the globe regardless of the environment. It's easy to imagine a press photographer using this system to edit photos in the middle of a warzone. The lid might even stop a bullet ... but we'll refrain from testing that.
The Second Screen
Let's face it, the ThinkPad W700ds is essentially just the ThinkPad W700 with a second screen. That being said, let's take a moment to focus on that second display that makes the W700ds so interesting. The primary screen on the W700 and W700ds is a 17-inch 1920 x 1200 display with wide color gamut and 400-nit brightness. The second display on the W700ds is a 10.6-inch 1280 x 768 display with 280-nit brightness. While it's obvious that the second display isn't as spectacular as the main screen, it is surprisingly nice and proved to exceed the expectations of most of our editors. Viewing angles on the second screen are adequate, and the screen can be tilted up to 30 degrees forward so that the viewing angle can be adjusted as needed.
We know what some of you are asking: "If the main screen has a vertical resolution of 1,200 pixels and the second display has a vertical resolution of 1,280 pixels doesn't that look weird?" The short answer is no. Lenovo has some very nice software running to scale the resolution on the second screen so that things look consistent and everything moves smoothly from one screen to the next. Font sizes on one screen are consistent when moved over to the second screen and the second display just looks and works like a natural extension of your primary desktop. Below is a screen shot showing some of the voodoo going on in the background that allows that two screens to work together as a single desktop (it looks strange when you take a screenshot, but looks perfectly normal in regular use).
more than 100 focused websites providing quick access to a deep store of
news, advice and analysis about the technologies, products and processes crucial
to the jobs of IT pros.
All Rights Reserved, Copyright 2000 - 2013, TechTarget | Read our Privacy Statement