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If you asked any PC user to describe Lenovo's ThinkPad line, the chances are that phrases like "solid", "boxy" and "heavy" would come to the fore pretty quickly. It's a very apt description for the W700ds, the biggest and boxiest of them all, and by an extremely large margin.
Large is the right — indeed, the only — word to use when describing the W700ds. Sure, it's a 17-inch laptop, and they're always big by sheer dint of having such large screens. Still, the W700ds outdoes them all in just about every dimension. It measures in at 410x310x41mm, so it's big, but that's only part of where you'll notice the W700ds' impact.
Lenovo's claim for the W700ds is that it weighs in "starting at 3.8kg", which is to say that it's a fair bit heavier than that in real terms. The 800-gram power supply alone is heavier than some netbooks. Put simply, this thing could eat several Dell Adamo laptops for breakfast, and still have space left over for a Macbook Air or two for supper. And we're still not at the W700ds' particular unique selling point yet.
That kind of size does afford Lenovo the ability to incorporate all sorts of other design elements into the W700ds. From the mundane for a business notebook, such as a fingerprint scanner and your choice of trackpad or trackpoint for mouse control, to a stylus that allows for on-screen or off-screen stylus control via a secondary and much larger "Ultranav" Wacom pad to the side of the trackpad. There's a full number pad slapped onto the keyboard, although this is somewhat at the cost of the cursor keys, which are unusually tiny for such a gargantuan system.
In terms of colour choices, you can have the ThinkPad W700ds in black. Henry Ford never compromised his vision for the Model T, and so it is with Lenovo and the ThinkPad.
There is an interesting addition to the ThinkPad line in the W700ds, and it's one of the system's key selling points. If you buy the standard W700, you'll just end up with a big, chunky notebook with lots of tech goodies stuffed inside. Buy the W700ds, and you'll quickly discover a rather thick slot in the right-hand side of the 17-inch screen. Press it in, and with a solid clicking noise, a separate 10.6-inch LCD panel pops out, which can be slightly angled to make for a better viewing experience.
Lenovo describes the W series as "the Ultimate Mobile Workstation". While time and technology will probably prove that untrue — we can't imagine that Intel and AMD are going to stop developing new processors, just for a start — it's certainly at the cutting edge of most things that you can throw into a notebook today.