Lenovo Launches the DeathStar of Laptops

Seventeen-incher packs quad-core CPU and pro graphics tools

I recently saw the ThinkPad W700, and, well, it’s almost scary. Packing a brilliant 17-inch screen, the beast spreads across a desk like a beached whale. But amazingly, it weighs just 8.4 pounds—about 4 pounds lighter than I would have expected.

The processing power is amazing. Lenovo won’t give the clock speed of the CPU (we’re all awaiting an announcement from Intel later this month), but the Quad-core Extreme chip is potent. After I clicked on a 45-megabyte TIFF file, the system launched Photoshop and opened the image in under two seconds. On the old iMacs we use at PopSci, I go get a cup of coffee while I wait for that same process to complete.

That image shone on an LCD screen that produces 400 NITS of brightness–about what you get from a television. And its colors should be spot on. The W700 is the first laptop with an integrated color-calibration system. A set of color sensors rests next to the trackpad. To calibrate the LCD, just launch the built-in software and close the screen. The system displays various colors on the LCD and the sensors take a reading to see if they are on target. If not, the software tweaks them. Lenovo built this system with
X-Rite (formerly Gretag-MacBeth), makers of the popular Huey portable calibrator. But this system is customized for the W700’s LCD panel. Another great feature for graphics pros—a Wacom tablet is built right into the palmrest, next to the trackpad and color calibration sensor.

As you might have guessed, this laptop isn’t for just surfing the Internet and writing your memoirs. It’s a graphics powerhorse for photographers, illustrators and video editors. And they can probably justify the investment, which starts at $3,000 (before you add calibration system, Wacom tablet, Blu-ray drive and maximum 8 gigabytes of RAM). Systems go on sale in September.

The W700 won’t be the only ultra-powerful graphics laptop this fall. I’ll be telling you about another one in around a month, so stay tuned.