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Customer reviews for Lenovo ThinkPad W520 Top Rated

15.6" workstation-performance with laptop-mobility, ISV-certified for flawless operation of graphically intensive apps.

Average customer rating:
4.261 out of 5
4.3
 out of 
5
(69 Reviews) 61
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (69 reviews)
5 stars
38
4 stars
20
3 stars
6
2 stars
1
1 star
4
59 of 69(86%)customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
Review 1 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Student

Wise Purchase

Date:March 11, 2012
"This is by far one of the best purchases I have made. I chose Lenovo after I read many reviews complimenting this company for durable and powerful laptops. As a student who spends a lot of time researching and traveling, I needed a sturdy and durable laptop which was powerful enough to handle the amounts of research I was doing and also be able to handle constant travel via airplane, bus and you name it. I bought the W520 with an i7 processor 8 GB RAM and a 500 GB harddrive. When I placed my order, I was going to start traveling soon after and customer service was able to help me get my customized laptop from Shanghai to the States within 2 weeks. Excellent service! Now, after using this laptop for 8 months I can provide the following with confidence:
Pros: Durable, powerful, travel-friendly, keyboard is the perfect size, battery life is 7-11 hours depending on settings, easy to use, pre-installed programs and features are excellent and useful unlike laptops from other companies, color display on screen is vivid, anti-glare screen so it's easy to use outside and in different lighting, it's a very very quiet machine, time between pressing the power button and opening a browser is less than 30 seconds.
Cons: Black design is prone to fingerprints and sometimes difficult to wipe down, and no number key pad.
This is not a shiny, glittering laptop for showing-off. It's a quality built machine made to be used extensively and it can sure handle anything. I watch my colleagues struggle with their laptops when it comes to extensive use and traveling, and though theirs look silver and sleek, it's obvious that my Lenovo W520 out-performs them all."
3 People found this review helpful.
Review 2 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Performance 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Mobility 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Design 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Features 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Reliability 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Heat
Location:taiwan
Owned Product:7-12 months
Operating System:Windows 7 Professional
Processor:Intel Core i7
Memory:4 GB or more

Not at all what I had expected

Date:July 9, 2012
Cons: Weight, Build Quality, Durability, Included Software, overheats, power adapter is a super brick
"Well totally dissapointed by this notebook. Had purchased it for playing games and also coding. Will point out what i dont like:
1. It OVERHEATS: It has a monster grapphic card and a CPU but the intelligent designers forgot to use 2 fans(unlike in many similar counterparts). So whenever i want to play a game on it. The thing overheats.
2. BULKY Poweradapter: Its also referred to as BRICK on many forums. Its around 1-2 kg.
3. Speakers are pretty bad: are not at all loud for the price tag it has
4. Tooooo BULKY: But thats all right if it didnt over heat...
Finally i wont suggest this notebook at all because it cannot handle heavy graphics etc due to overheating. So there is no point of buying such an expensive and heavy notebook if u are using it only for emails."
1 People found this review helpful.
Review 3 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
BigDave

Powerhouse W520

Date:May 26, 2012
"Recently ordered the W520 as a replacement for my T61p which I had for 5 years. I have not been disappointed! Keyboard is as great as ever! Ordered mine with the FHD screen which is fantastic. System is a solid workhorse with 2.4 quad core, 8 gig RAM, bluetooth, WiMAx, and built-in GOBI broadband card. Laptop is solid and powerful. I highly recommend the W520!"
1 People found this review helpful.
Review 4 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Shane87

More Than What I Hoped For

Date:May 8, 2012
"Let me preface this review by saying I have been purchasing all sorts of products (including a few laptops and desktops) for years, and this is the first time I have ever felt compelled to write a review.
I'll start by saying the W520 is just a powerhouse, if you've never owned a Workstation Laptop then prepare yourself to be amazed, this thing will rock your socks.
I appreciate the complete professional attitude engineered into the machine, there is relatively little flash to the whole package, but it all has purpose. The included software is ACTUALLY helpful and far from bloat-worhty (sans Norton, which was easily replaced). - To keep the review to a reader-friendly length as I myself appreciated, I'll flip this to a Pros VS Cons.
PROS:
- Incredible Power (If doing video, do yourself a favor and bump up the 2000m, you'll grin ear-to-ear later)
- Battery length is just amazing. I never expected a laptop this powerful ever lasting this long. If just browsing the web or typing a document I could expect 5-8 hours depending on screen brightness. Heavy-loads would be a different story, though still exceeding industry standards IMO.
- ThinkLight, at first I thought a non-backlit keyboard to be a bust - however, the included ThinkLight illuminates the keyboard perfectly and also allows for enough ambient light to read any paper documents you may have beside the laptop. This is a much better option for people who are actually working.
- Keyboard is the best I've ever used!
- Matte screen is superb.
CONS:
- Speakers are sub-par to be kind, they just don't sound that great nor do they get loud enough for any large presentations. - Use headphones or get external speakers
- Memory Upgrade, I installed some additional RAM shortly after purchase for that extra kick (and I found a good deal on it) to bring my RAM up to 16GB. Installing the RAM wasn't the easiest thing I've ever done. Installing it on the underside of the machine was fine, but under the keyboard was a tad more tricky and left me feeling I may break the keyboard before getting it removed.
- Styling. It won't win a beauty contest in my book, though I also don't find it repulsive by any means. - Its true beauty lies in its functionality, which it holds in spades.
Final Thoughts: If you've got the dough, treat yourself with the W520, you won't regret it. Productivity on this machine is incredible. - Customer support on the Lenovo site is great (haven't needed any via phone), latest drivers and all sorts of handy documents at the ready."
1 People found this review helpful.
Review 5 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Falconi1026

my w520 and me

Date:April 15, 2012
"I spent about 3 months of solid and frustrating months looking for my new computer. Let me first tell you that very few devices can last in my hands. not that i am careless but my spirit for hacking and testing the device to its limits is my legendary skill.
I was hesitant to buy this laptop mostly because i am a web site and graphic designer, and everyone just told me to buy a mac.
And i am so glad i did not. i would of pent maybe twice as much for a less powerful computer.
ok here we go
Pros:
extremely powerful - i upgraded to the 17-2860 there is no real need to go for the -2960xm its only a tenth of fractions faster. I have not had any problem with performance matter of fact i never expected this laptop to perform the way it did. at times i run Dreamweaver, Gimp a movie window in the back ground and a couple of taps on the browser.
RUGGED- YES this compute will last the test of time. the carbon fiber finish is Solid as a rock and the framing of the computer itself is just amazing. It has airbag protections. spill prove keyboard. The design it self is made to be just rugged and outlasting.
professional - while as a working man most people in my field will pull out the macbook this baby looks sweet and professional and makes you look like a boss..trust me in the business world this matters. Also all the great features it comes with business is a key to success for example the mic has sound cancellation technology that works like a charm even for conferences.
Graphics: i am overwhelming at the quality of the screen and the performance of the graphics with the secondary nvidia quatro graphics card i am in a beautiful place where i can run all my graphics and CAD programs with no problem. I always have the Optimus tech running but anytime i am doing hardcore graphics i switch to strictly discrete graphics. i have played the assassins creed games with spectacular graphics...
Cons:
Size -he size of this computer is definitely not to small but its not to big either. the big battery running optimus will fetch about 5 - 6 hours of battery and it will cut that to about 3 if running the nvidia card. this computer is made for people who don't mind to travel with a lethal weapon. So its depends on you if this a Con
Battery charger. - my gosh this battery charger is huge but the beauty of it is that its powerful you will be amazed at the speed that your w520 will charge. but its tough to carry that thing around.
Carbon fiber Finish - It collects dust and prints easy you can get yourself a cover for it but if your a neat person trust me its work taking care of your laptop. trust me this computer attracts immediate attention when you pull it out. so it depends on you.
Mouse pad - im not sure if this is because of me but the mouse pad has small dotted groves on the surface a part of it has now smoothed over im not sure if its because of the design or because of how much i use it.
*** i would also like to mention that the Color calibrator is worth the money if you are in any kind of graphics or design field.
overall this computer is outstanding i took a risk buying this computer because i never owned a lenovo product before. So far i am just impressed with this laptop and now i don't think i would ever change it for the world. i spent less that a high end mac book pro and got a nvidia graphics card, super juiced processor and the choice to upgrade my ram to 32 gb( that right!! you read correctly 32!!) this computer is not for the sole gamer and it definitely not for the everyday user( unless you really want it) but i Recommend this computer highly"
1 People found this review helpful.
Review 6 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
NCPhotoBug

Big, Powerful & Fast

Date:March 23, 2012
"I wanted a machine that was powerful and fast to process photography software and be portable but not a carry all the time. This one fit the needs.
I went with extra memory and the best graphics, and the screen is fantastic.
Top notch machine. No issues whatsoever. Lenovo config base and tools are easy to understand and manage the HW and SW.
Great decision on my part. Would do it again!!!"
1 People found this review helpful.
Review 7 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
RedGreenGeek

W520 lacking reknown toughness.

Date:February 22, 2012
"I bought my w520 to replace my T61p. The step up in power is of course great, but that was expected.
Pro's:
Keyboard is slightly softer than previous TP's which I like, but still far from the flappy key's from other brands.
Screen looks great.
Onboard mic works really well, and no echo has been experienced using onboard speakers.
Con's
Build in speakers is far from good and even a bit behind mid range. Lenovo please spend another dollar on the speakers.
Headphones jack and LAN cable moved to other side, which I find annoying. Most headphones from good brands has cord on the left side.
mSATA is only SATA 2, should have been 3. Imagine Raid 0 on three SSD's in a laptop. :-)
Build quality:
This would usually be a pro for me, but I have to write a separate note on it. The whole laptop seems to flex a bit more and the plastic seems slightly more elastic. I do not know if I like this or not. I have never had a TP fail on me due to build quality, and I travel a lot. I really hope this will not be my first. The latch to open the screen does not work as well as on previous models, the new system is simply worse. The battery is also more loose than previously.
All in all, I love my W520, but I fear that Lenovo has lowered their standards on build quality too much. It may be the death of it."
1 People found this review helpful.
Review 8 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
SecurityTech

Incredible Disappointment

Date:May 18, 2012
"16GB mem, dual SSDs, i7... the works. Just under $3K is what my company paid. The positive: It has a button to turn off the mic which is useful during conference calls.
The negatives:
1. The speakers are disgusting. Really? This is the cost/benefit compromise on the laptop you feature as the flagship in performance?
2. This system is slower than my Dell XPS 16 (i7/8GB) that's now nearly 2 years old.
3. I used the UltraBay today and it destroyed my perfectly fine SSD.
4. Startup times are SLOW from a hibernate. Several minutes slow. Make coffee slow. Painful in meetings with customers.
5. The keyboard is sub-par compared to my Apple or Dell.
6. The finish/plastic feels cheap. Really cheap. It's not at all like the thinkpads I remember. It's not on the same planet as Apple, Sony, or Dell. Again - on your flagship desktop replacement? Chilling. Stunning. Mind staggering."
1 People found this review helpful.
Review 9 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
lanativelea

Best Laptop EVER

Date:May 1, 2012
"I am a 30 year IT pro and have seen my share of hardware. I am going to state for the record - THIS IS HANDS DOWN THE BEST LAPTOP EVER BUILT. Okay I am done shouting!
Not much else to say, oh BTW did I mention that I spilled my drink on a flight and it kabosed the laptop - I sent it in for warranty repair and had it back in three days in mint condition with all of my data intact! Unparrelled customer support and service take it over the top... If you want the best then look no further, this is THE BEST LAPTOP EVER BUILT - I call it the BEAST!! Enjoy!!"
1 People found this review helpful.
Review 10 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Performance 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Mobility 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Design 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Features 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Reliability 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Atif
Owned Product:1-6 months
Operating System:Windows 7 Professional
Processor:Intel Core i7
Memory:4 GB or more

Extended Display Problem

Date:March 29, 2014
Pros: Screen size, Display resolution, Display performance
Cons: Display performance
"I am heaving a problem with its extended display, as soon as I use Adobe applications while using extended display, i.e projector or LED, it gave blue screen error and restarts, and when I login the windows, a message windows appears that windows has recovered from serious problem, I have checked this on 4 other W520 machines and 2 W530 machines, same problem exists on all of them. Can any one guide me about this, what kide or error is this and how can I fix this."
Review 11 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Performance 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Mobility 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Design 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Features 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Value 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Reliability 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Disappointed
Owned Product:7-12 months
Operating System:Windows 7 Professional
Processor:Intel Core i7
Memory:4 GB or more

Worse laptop ever

Date:February 1, 2013
Cons: Warranty, Support, Weight, Keyboard/peripherals, Included Software, Build Quality, Durability
"I bought this machine about 8 month ago to replace my old laptop. Main problem with this product is quality. the body start cracking and when I put my hand on it, it makes noise. the touch pad texture faded in lees than six month. the performance is not I expected for a machine with quad core processor."
Review 12 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
stdotjohn

a great laptop for linux users

Date:June 18, 2012
"I bought this computer with some trepidation. I was going to install xubuntu on this machine and I was concerned about compatibility. If you look on the web for the W520 and problems with linux, you will find several hits.
However, save one issue, these problems all seem to have been solved by the linux and lenovo teams. The installation was easy. I set the bios to use integrated graphics (probably not required but I was nervous) and installed xubuntu. It installed very quickly without a hitch. Then after checking around a bit, I decided to get the NVidia drivers and try the discrete graphics. This also worked seemlessly. In fact, except for one issue (below), everything I tried simply worked. I haven't tried the third option yet because I am pretty happy.
It is a beautiful machine. Feels very solid (unlike my previous machine) and it is very fast. The display is wonderful.
The one thing that gave me a bit of trouble (after using the computer for a week) was an apparent interaction between the graphics driver and some of the virtualization capabilities of the chipset. If you go to the bios and turn on the virtualization capabilities, it (sporadically) doesn't always boot right. Based on a hint on the network I tried with integrated graphics and didn't see any problems. This seems like a very minor issue to me. as there are at least two workarounds (don't use the virtualization capability and don't use discrete graphics). I figure that this will probably get fixed with a little time."
Review 13 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
mthink30

Great Laptop - Would recommend

Date:June 16, 2012
"I've had this laptop for 6 months and had no problems with it. None of the programs I have opened with it (CGI, Virtualization and Photo Editing) have crashed the machine or slown it down. The ThinkLight has been useful when using the machine in badly lit areas lighting up the keyboard. The graphics card (nVidia Quadro 1000m) and the processor (Intel i5 2520m) have both performed well in benchmarking and in image rendering for animations.
RAM changing is a simple manoeuvre, unscrew two screws and the first two RAM slots are available, to get the other two the keyboard has to be removed (easy enough) and the slots are accessible.
ThinkVantage Power Manager has proved useful with its easy to change power usage settings and to modify the fine details of system performance and battery life.
Any downsides - The battery life is long, but it soon goes down when running graphics intensive applications - this makes you better off to use it plugged in (performance also increases plugged in).
Overall - Great Laptop - Would recommend it - and would buy a Lenovo ThinkPad again."
Review 14 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Anonymoose

Legendary

Date:June 7, 2012
"Thinkpads have always been known for their sturdiness and steadfast performance. As a university student technician, I have had the chance to work with many different types of laptops, and the W520 is one of the few machines that doesn't feel cheaply made, get uncomfortably hot or loud, or have poor performance.
In fact, it's more than met my expectations for a laptop. With its Quadro 2000M graphics card, I've been able to play recent games like CoD MW3 on High/Ultra High settings without problems, and applications like AutoCAD and SolidWorks work well as well. Programming also goes very well the machine - the compiler just flies in spite of how many other programs like emulators going on. With the 10 GB of RAM in the machine (bought some sticks externally), I've never had poor performance, even with over 50 Chrome tabs open and other applications in the background.
My only complaints with the machine are that it would sometimes crash due to static electricity (the metal fingers holding RAM on the back door were not grounded and I had to bend them), and also that the speakers themselves do not match the quality of the machine. These issues are fixed with the W530, but I'm likely going to be using this machine for the next 4-5 years and don't have any problems.
So, if you just want a machine that waits for you and not the other way around, go with the W series Thinkpad. You will not be disappointed."
Review 15 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Prince

Great Computer

Date:May 26, 2012
"I've had a lot of computers, and my Lenovo seems to be the first that consitently works. It can take a beating, and it is lightening fast. The customer service is great as well, when my computer drowned they sent me a brand new computer."
Review 16 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Engineer

3 Strikes

Date:May 16, 2012
"Strike one: Inadequate speakers. Yes I know it is a laptop but these speakers are completely useless.
Strike two: No audio over Display port. Why? Why? Why? Since the speakers are unusable hooking up to my LCD tv is one option, save for when I want to use the display port to connect to it since it won't let me run display port video with a separate analog audio input. So I was forced to buy external speakers.
Strike three: The super cool docking station removes usb power when the laptop is removed. This is super useless and quite irritating. So if I want to charge usb devices while I'm mobile with the laptop I can forget about it.
Other Negatives:
-Function key is lower left most key on keyboard which I'm constantly hitting thinking it it the crtl key.
-Plastic construction. This puzzles me for a $2,000 laptop. My work laptop, a Dell XPS 17, features an all aluminum body for a fraction of the cost.
-Can run quite hot while playing games.
-Two finger scrolling on the track works 20% of the time.
Postives:
-Battery life is awesome, 3-4+ hours easy.
-Generally problem free.
-Dock has many video ports and handles 3 monitors pretty well.
-Track pointer and center scroll button are key.
I've had mine for over one year now. Honestly it is a good product despite my aforementioned setbacks. Unfortunately for its price tag I will shop other brands next laptop purchase, but I anticipate this will be mine for at least the next 2 years."
Review 17 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Schulz

Powerhouse

Date:April 18, 2012
"I am currently running SolidWorks 2012 64 bit design program. What an impressive machine!
The NVIDIA 2000 card along with 16GB of DDR3 memory is unstopable.
A quality machine. The ThinkPad can handle anything I can throw at it. From veiwing high speed test videos, while converting large assembly CAD models the machine does not flinch. I am very happy with my purchase.
"
Review 18 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Will

Amazing machine!

Date:March 23, 2012
"I ordered my W520 as a graduation gift. I love this laptop!! This computer has numerous features that I really enjoy.
Pros:
-Ultranav
-Textured trackpad
-Mechanical keyboard, not membrane keyboard
-Ultrabay- great for popping in a 500 gb hard drive for data when you don't want to fill up or make superflous writes to the SSD
-Durable construction
-Quad core with great VM support
-Excellent graphics
-Fingerprint reader
-Good temperature control. Will definitely still burn your leg if using the discrete NVIDIA gpu, but you normally won't use that much on battery at any rate, so just leave it on a desk.
-Battery life is fairly long for a quad-core
-Lenovo EE 2.0. Great UI enhancements over standard Win7
-VGA and Displayport
Cons:
-The indicator light on the camera glares on the lens causing green spots in low light situations
-Power brick is HUGE but that is to be expected with a mobile workstation.
-Lenovo HOTKEY num lock indicator was a bit finicky at first. Just go to display > screen resolution > advanced > on screen display > untick enable > apply > re-enable > reboot. Problem solved.
-on edge of the optical drive bezel was not quite flush with casing after laptop was shipped. Apply pressure inwards and the bezel snaps back to where it should be.
-DisplayPort to HDMI converted output requires NVIDIA card, so if you use fn+f7 to switch display mode in certain situations, you have to go to the NVIDIA control panel to change your settings and resolutions back unless you unplug the display. Trial and error taught me when not to do that.
My cons were fairly minor and unimportant thins, just QC issues mainly. Even if those problems would not have been resolved I would definitely buy another one of these machines. It is a great replacement for a desktop, as it has 4 USB ports (one is eSATA combo) which is the most many people would need without a port replicator or hub anyway. I would highly recommend this product."
Review 19 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
CowboyMike

Lennovo W520

Date:February 23, 2012
"This is a very nice laptop.
The bad is I can not get the touchpad scrolling feature to work very well. It is very difficult to use and does not work consisitently. I have tried adjusting the settings but nothing seems to get the scrolling to work correctly. Makes my finger sore and will only scroll up. Not down
The laptop came with a ton of software pre-loaded. Much of which I could do without.
Horsepower and performance wise I am happy with everything else except for the darn scrolling feature on the touchpad.
Happy trails, Cowboy Mike"
Review 20 for ThinkPad W520 Top Rated
OverallOverall Rating 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Larry

Not over the top

Date:February 22, 2012
"I am over all please with the W520 series I purchased. However, the speaker system is terrible. Most of the time I cant hear videos etc. Also the touch pad is terrible and the scrolling feature I don't even use because it is so erratic. If those two features were better I would give it a 10. But is only gets a 8 because of the everyday useability of those two features."