Lenovo Thinkpad R500
Lenovo, the firm that bought IBM’s Thinkpad line, has done a sterling job of creating well-built, dependable machines, and this workhorse laptop is no different.
It’s a little chunky, and the design could be (generously) described as Volvo-esque, owing to its boxy frame. But the build quality is stunning, and by far the best you’ll find. It’s solid and the keyboard is superb, almost as good as that with a dedicated desktop.
With a 15.4-inch screen, it’s also the perfect spreadsheet cruncher, and while performance isn’t great for running games, it’s good enough for day-to-day tasks at home or on the move.
For the security conscious, there’s a built-in fingerprint scanner, and it has several battery options ranging from five to ten hours’ use per charge. There’s a decent trackpad, but also a brilliant trackpoint in the middle of the keyboard for getting about.
The R500 isn’t going to win any awards for innovation, but it’s a superb example of an everyday laptop, one that you can rely on, both at home and away, to get the job done. The old saying of “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” definitely continues with Lenovo.
PROS Amazing build quality, solid and dependable
CONS Not the most stylish design