Lenovo ThinkPad E540 review: Lenovo ThinkPad E540

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Sadly our review sample had major issues with our overall system benchmark, PCMark 8 Home. Despite reinstalling it several times and reverting to earlier system restore points, we couldn't get it to run without crashing, a very disappointing result considering the hardware within should have delivered speedy results. Thankfully our casual gaming benchmark, 3DMark Cloud Gate, did work, with the score of 5597 being one of the fastest we've seen at this price point. We're guessing the PCMark 8 issues were a result of our review sample having been messed up by earlier journalists, and believe a freshly installed version of Windows 7 wouldn't have any of the issues we saw. Battery life was very acceptable for such a speed demon, delivering 257 minutes in the PowerMark benchmark.

One final benefit of the large dimensions is connections — there's room for a plethora. The E540 comes with twin USB 3.0 and a single USB 2.0 connection, along with VGA and HDMI out. Gigabit Ethernet is also included, as is a headphone output.

PCMark 8 Home Accelerated Test

  • CRASHED
  • Lenovo ThinkPad E540
  • 1690
  • Sony VAIO Pro 11
  • 1844
  • Toshiba Satellite U50D
  • 2215
  • HP Spectre 13
  • 1727
  • Sony VAIO Multi-flip Fit 13
  • 2394
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
  • 1889
  • ASUS Vivobook S551LB
  • 1602
  • Dell XPS 11
  • 2231
  • Gigabyte U24Ti5
  • 2625
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T440s

(Longer bar equals better performance)


3DMARK 2013 Edition - Cloud Gate

  • 5597
  • Lenovo ThinkPad E540
  • 2080
  • Sony VAIO Pro 11
  • 2432
  • Toshiba Satellite U50D
  • 4030
  • HP Spectre 13
  • 3847
  • Sony VAIO Multi-flip Fit 13
  • 4667
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
  • 5101
  • ASUS Vivobook S551LB
  • 2165
  • Dell XPS 11
  • 4590
  • Gigabyte U24Ti5
  • 4643
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T440s

(Longer bar equals better performance)


PowerMark - Battery Life (minutes)

  • 257
  • Lenovo ThinkPad E540
  • 231
  • Sony VAIO Pro 11
  • 261
  • Toshiba Satellite U50D
  • 276
  • HP Spectre 13
  • 229
  • Sony VAIO Multi-flip Fit 13
  • 243
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga
  • 270
  • ASUS Vivobook S551LB
  • 289
  • Dell XPS 11
  • 198
  • Gigabyte U24Ti5
  • 253
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T440s

(Longer bar equals better performance)


Conclusion

If you don't mind lugging this 2.44kg brute around with you, the E540 delivers a powerful package at a very competitive price. Unfortunately it's pipped at the post by the more affordable Gigabyte U24Ti5, although the E540 is the quicker of the two thanks to the 128GB SSD. Either way you're getting a powerful laptop around the AU$1000 price point that will also happily play your casual games, which could be a good for prospective student buyers. Or a bad thing, depending on their level of self-discipline...

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