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Despite the laptop world’s obsession with cramming faster hardware into ever-smaller spaces, sometimes the best laptop for the job is a big, hulking brute. There's no denying that a full-sized keyboard is easier to type on, while a large screen usually makes it simpler to run simultaneous programs. Those in the market for one of these behemoths might like to consider the slab of a laptop that is the E540, a design where mobility apparently featured far down the list of design goals.
Design and features
The 15.6-inch touchscreen determines the large size of this laptop, yet strangely Lenovo hasn't installed Windows 8 to make the most of it; the OS on our review sample was the rapidly aging Windows 7. Touching the screen reveals a small cursor, and its jagged motion suggests the touch sensitivity of this screen isn't quite as new or accurate as other competing displays. For such a large screen the low resolution of 1366 x 768 is a real disappointment, obviously compromised to enable a touchscreen at a lower price. Once again we see Lenovo wheel out its generic all-black plastic construction, used to deliver a very plain, business oriented case.
Our favourite Lenovo feature, the Precision Keyboard, is present and accounted for; when combined with the large keyboard size it makes the E540 a touch-typist's delight. Lenovo also includes the usual pointing stick, as well as their less than impressive touchpad design. Our biggest issue with Lenovo's touchpads is left clicking — doing so sees the entire touchpad depress, rather than just the bottom left corner, which can make it hard to tell whether it's been clicked in the right place.