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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 1:24 pm 
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More pictures should be coming soon!

So the Lenovo ThinkPad L540 turned up today. It's come all the way from Shanghai. Took 8 days to build and 3 to deliver, so that's less than 2 weeks from pressing the order button to having it in my hands which is pretty good.

This laptop is more widely travelled than me! As you can see from my UPS shipping statuses, it's been about halfway across the world.

Spec in my signature.

Image

Image

Image

Image


I replaced the stock 500GB HDD with a 1TB Seagate SSHD. I'm currently using the recovery drive I made to put the Lenovo Windows 8 onto the SSHD. You can see how easy it is disassemble the laptop and get to the HDD and RAM.

Image


I am in the process of writing a full review on this laptop which will be posted on this forum in due time.

First impressions of this machine are great! Keyboard feels excellent, I like the TrackPoint, I like the 1080p screen. So far, so good!

This is the third ThinkPad I've owned now. :)

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Lenovo ThinkPad L540 | Core i5 4200M | 8GB 1600MHz RAM | 1920x1080 Display | UltraNav with Fingerprint Reader | Seagate SSHD 1TB | 720p Webcam | 6 Cell 56Wh Battery | Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Past: IBM ThinkPad A31, R40

My custom-built desktop - see pics!


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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 1:43 pm 
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It looks much easier to service than the T440. :)
Happy ThinkPadding!

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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 2:16 pm 
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Saucey wrote:
It looks much easier to service than the T440. :)
Happy ThinkPadding!

Haha thanks! :) It was quite easy to pull apart and replace the HDD with the SSHD. I'm not however a great fan of the plastic caddies Lenovo use for these models but it does the job I guess. I was scared I was going to snap it when I tried to remove the stock HDD.

Using the Windows 8 'Reset' feature to install the original Lenovo Windows 8 onto the SSD. Currently at 47%. It's been going for about 2 hours already. Going to be a while yet I think but I think it will be worth it. :)

As I said, I am in the process of writing a full review of this laptop which I'll posting here soon.

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Lenovo ThinkPad L540 | Core i5 4200M | 8GB 1600MHz RAM | 1920x1080 Display | UltraNav with Fingerprint Reader | Seagate SSHD 1TB | 720p Webcam | 6 Cell 56Wh Battery | Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Past: IBM ThinkPad A31, R40

My custom-built desktop - see pics!


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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 4:45 am 
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Finally arrived I see. :D

Looks really nice, and servicing of the Thinkpad also looks incredibly easy. I like the feature with the back-mounted fan, so you should be able to clean the fan without removing the keyboard and palmrest. Very nice feature, I reckon!

Also, I think the colour looks a little more brown or grey than black. But that might just be the pictures.

Congratulations on your brand new Thinkpad. :banana:

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Past: T430, X220T, 2x X220, T510i, 2xW500, T400, X61s, 2x T61p, T61, T60, X41, T43p, 2x T43, T41p, T41, T40, 600E


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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 3:24 pm 
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Yes, it finally showed up! I have it all configured and setup now and it is running very nicely indeed. Loving the 1080p display (with scaling at 100%). It is really nice and crisp and the real estate is excellent. I've been using it all day but coming back to the desktop with a 24" 1080p display, everything looks so much bigger. :D The keyboard is also very nice indeed.

It is definitely lighter than the previous generation models, but it is probably slightly closer to black than grey when you see it in person. I have it here sitting on the desk next to me and it looks black but it is dark outside and I only have the desk lamp on. :P

Here are some more pics of it, sitting on my desk. More pics obviously coming with the review (which I've nearly finished writing).

ImageDesk Setup by JasonBrown2013, on Flickr

ImageDesk Setup by JasonBrown2013, on Flickr

ImageDesk Setup by JasonBrown2013, on Flickr

ImageDesk Setup by JasonBrown2013, on Flickr

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Lenovo ThinkPad L540 | Core i5 4200M | 8GB 1600MHz RAM | 1920x1080 Display | UltraNav with Fingerprint Reader | Seagate SSHD 1TB | 720p Webcam | 6 Cell 56Wh Battery | Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Past: IBM ThinkPad A31, R40

My custom-built desktop - see pics!


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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 2:56 pm 
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Looks like an improvement over the L series when it originally came out.

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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 4:57 am 
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Congrats! May it serve you well for many years to come.

btw;
I love these painting schemes of dutch F-16 Fighting Falcons.

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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 8:00 am 
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Congrats on your new "baby" and welcome back to ThinkPadding...even with a 6-row keyboard... :roll:

I haven't tested any of the new L series in person, but like the fact that they kept the "upgrade bay" simple, unlike the T440 series.

May it serve you well, looking forward to the review!

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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 2:15 am 
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Thank you for the nice comments.

The wallpaper of the F-16 is my own photography. I took it at the Waddington Airshow 2013: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonbrow ... 4543240811

I had figured that ajkula would be rolling his eyes over the 6 row keyboard but to be perfectly honest, it's been such a long time since I used a 7 row keyboard that losing the extra row does not make any difference to me at all. I've been using a 6 row keyboard on my desktop for years, after all.

I've owned the L540 for a week now, here are some quick thoughts:

Pros:
- Build quality is very nice indeed.
- I think that overall the laptop looks clean and professional.
- I personally like the keyboard. Comfortable to use and I can type quickly on it.
- I'm still impressed with the display.
- I'm still finding the buttonless TrackPad easy enough to use with the TrackPoint.
- The battery life is fantastic. I've used it on battery for about 5-6 hours each evening over the past week with the screen relatively bright, surfing the internet and writing to the hard drive and it's never died on me (and has always had about 2 hours to go before it reckons it will die). This is just the stock 6 cell 57++ too.
- The Core i5 4200M seems quick enough. I've not tested it to the 'max' yet but for a mobile processor it appears to be good. I ran some benchmarks on it and it is faster than a Core 2 Quad Q8300 and only slightly slower than a Core i3 3220, both of which are desktop processors. Q8300 is a quad-core with no HT, 3220 is a dual-core with HT (just like the 4200M).
- Upgrading the laptop is easy, as I have mentioned before.

Cons:
- Webcam sucks, but hey for £12 what do you expect? Audio quality is decent, but picture and video quality is pretty poor. Sample photos and videos coming soon (in my review).
- Fingerprint reader is a little temperamental. Sometimes it works - but most of the time it doesn't. For some reason the Lenovo Fingerprint Manager Pro software won't work, so I use the Windows one instead.
- Sometimes it takes a while to resume from sleep and can freeze on the Windows lock screen.
- I know it's not standard, but I've not been very impressed with my 1TB SSHD. I'm thinking about replacing it with a 256GB or 512GB SSD since they are getting affordable. The SSHD actually feels slower than the stock 7200 RPM HDD. Especially to boot and shut down. At first I thought it was pretty quick, but now it doesn't seem any quicker than a regular hard drive.
- The lack of any kind of charging indicator is irritating. I plug it into AC power and the little red LED in the 'i' of ThinkPad on the lid flashes a couple of times, but then there is nothing to tell me it is actually charging or has finished charging. I remember my old A31 had a charging indicator on the lid and inside on the screen bezel.

The review should be coming soon. It's difficult to say exactly when, because I am spending all of my free time revising for exams at school (I've done 5 in the past week, still got 19 to do!) and I am doing my revision on the ThinkPad to test the battery life and keyboard etc. ;) I have a week off school next week - I might be able to stick the review up then.

The review will likely be posted in a new thread in the L-series forum - that would be the logical place to put it.

Watch this space!

_________________
Lenovo ThinkPad L540 | Core i5 4200M | 8GB 1600MHz RAM | 1920x1080 Display | UltraNav with Fingerprint Reader | Seagate SSHD 1TB | 720p Webcam | 6 Cell 56Wh Battery | Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Past: IBM ThinkPad A31, R40

My custom-built desktop - see pics!


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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 8:21 am 
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sir_synthsalot wrote:
Looks like an improvement over the L series when it originally came out.


I agree. In fact, the L series is looking more and more like the T series, whereas the T series is looking more and more like the L. I suspect Lenovo plans to merge the two designs, though the T series will continue to use better material than the L series.

A31 wrote:
- Sometimes it takes a while to resume from sleep and can freeze on the Windows lock screen.


By "freeze" do you mean you actually need to forcefully power off the computer and restart?

A31 wrote:
- The lack of any kind of charging indicator is irritating. I plug it into AC power and the little red LED in the 'i' of ThinkPad on the lid flashes a couple of times, but then there is nothing to tell me it is actually charging or has finished charging.


You will be even more irritated when the computer performs a prolonged process (e.g. installing a major Windows update) and it appears to be doing nothing for a very long time. You wouldn't be able to tell whether the computer has frozen, and wonder "should I just keep on waiting for another hour?"

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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 9:36 am 
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Yeah I put it to sleep by closing the lid, and sometimes when I open it up again no matter what I do the laptop doesn't respond. I usually just shut the lid and open it up again and it's OK.

I am just doing a fresh install of a retail copy of Windows 8 Pro right now. I think I may have had some problems with my install which was making the SSHD perform slowly. I did after all effectively clone the default install from the HDD to the SSHD.

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Lenovo ThinkPad L540 | Core i5 4200M | 8GB 1600MHz RAM | 1920x1080 Display | UltraNav with Fingerprint Reader | Seagate SSHD 1TB | 720p Webcam | 6 Cell 56Wh Battery | Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Past: IBM ThinkPad A31, R40

My custom-built desktop - see pics!


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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 4:49 pm 
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Quick update on the SSHD front!

It seemed that doing a fresh install of Windows 8.1 Pro from the retail installation media has fixed my 'slow SSHD' problems for the time being. I got rid of all the weird partitions which the cloned HDD had put onto my SSHD and started fresh. At first, it didn't seem like it was a lot faster, but after spending a few hours installing all my software and Windows Updates, I kept continually rebooting the machine to make the SSHD firmware 'learn' which files to cache to increase performance.

Before I did a fresh install of 8.1 Pro it was taking 60-90 seconds to boot into Windows.

After I did the fresh install, it took about 30 seconds.

After having done about 10 reboots (shutting down completely and then starting from cold), my boot time was halved and now it's about 15 seconds or so which is much more like a real SSD (and much more like what I was expecting). Shut down times are about a second or two. Impressive stuff. I just hope it stays this speedy!

For the sake of comparison, I have an OCZ Vertex 4 in my desktop and booting Windows 8.1 Enterprise on that usually takes about 15-20 seconds too. We've got other machines in his house with SSDs too and they take about ~10-15 seconds to boot Windows 8.1, so this SSHD is now definitely up there in terms of boot speed. Just make sure you keep on rebooting your machine a lot after you've finished your install of Windows, because that will speed it up.

I ran Crystal Disk on the stock 7200 RPM 500GB HDD before I formatted it and installed the SSHD - here are the results:

Image


And here are the results on the SSHD after today's clean install of 8.1 Pro:

Image

Yes, the speeds are sower than that of the stock HDD but this is a 1TB 5400 RPM disk with an 8GB cache buffer, so I don't think Crystal was reading the cache buffer. Obviously the faster spindle speed of the stock HDD means it reads and writes better but there is no way Windows was booting in ~15 seconds on the stock HDD, so from that point of view the SSHD is a lot faster.


So, I am pleased that I took the time today to reinstall because I was a little disappointed with the speed of the SSHD. Not sure what was up before but I guess something from that cloned install was holding it back (Crystal Disk reported about 55mb/s reads with my cloned install on the SSHD). The boot speeds are much more acceptable and the laptop feels more responsive, so that's good.

I have noticed that the cost of 512GB SSDs has reduced - the Samsung 840 Evo 500GB is about £200 and the Crucial M500 480GB is about £180. If over a longer period of time I feel that the SSHD isn't fast enough for me, I'll upgrade, but for the time being I'm a lot happier with the SSHD than I was this morning.

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Lenovo ThinkPad L540 | Core i5 4200M | 8GB 1600MHz RAM | 1920x1080 Display | UltraNav with Fingerprint Reader | Seagate SSHD 1TB | 720p Webcam | 6 Cell 56Wh Battery | Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Past: IBM ThinkPad A31, R40

My custom-built desktop - see pics!


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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2014 10:19 pm 
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Perhaps it was a true cloned HDD because it only put the data on the mechanical part of the SSHD and not on the solid state.
I was going to make a comment earlier today about the SSHD will 'learn' what data goes to where, but it seems you figured it out.

Though it is true, the SSHD wont be as fast as a solid state, but given what it can do I still think they are a good buy.

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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 1:54 am 
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Just booted it up this morning. 15 seconds again. Pretty nice. :)

If it remains this quick to boot and shut down I think I'll keep the SSHD unless I feel that I need the SSD. Applications load pretty quickly on this which is nice.

I've got an SSD in my desktop and an SSHD in the ThinkPad, so I can compare them directly. :)

More pictures of the L540 will be coming with my review.

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Lenovo ThinkPad L540 | Core i5 4200M | 8GB 1600MHz RAM | 1920x1080 Display | UltraNav with Fingerprint Reader | Seagate SSHD 1TB | 720p Webcam | 6 Cell 56Wh Battery | Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Past: IBM ThinkPad A31, R40

My custom-built desktop - see pics!


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 2:16 pm 
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I said there'd be more photos, and now there are! :)

But first, I want to point you in the direction of this video which I recorded today to demonstrate how the L540 performs with the Seagate 1TB SSHD. As you can see, resuming from sleep isn't too bad and shut down and boot times are very good indeed.

So, if you're interested in picking up an SSHD and you want to know what boot times with Windows 8.1 are like, there's the video to watch.

Now for the photos. I have uploaded them to my Flickr. I will post a few here (because there are a lot), but you will also see these in the review which should be posted here within the bext week or so. I now have a week off school so I can spend some time finishing writing the review and putting it all together for you. I think many of you will find it an interesting read.

ImageLenovo ThinkPad L540 by ThinkPad Review, on Flickr

ImageLenovo ThinkPad L540 by ThinkPad Review, on Flickr

ImageLenovo ThinkPad L540 by ThinkPad Review, on Flickr

ImageLenovo ThinkPad L540 by ThinkPad Review, on Flickr

ImageLenovo ThinkPad L540 by ThinkPad Review, on Flickr


...and, she also looks pretty sweet in B&W, too.

ImageLenovo ThinkPad L540 by ThinkPad Review, on Flickr

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Lenovo ThinkPad L540 | Core i5 4200M | 8GB 1600MHz RAM | 1920x1080 Display | UltraNav with Fingerprint Reader | Seagate SSHD 1TB | 720p Webcam | 6 Cell 56Wh Battery | Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Past: IBM ThinkPad A31, R40

My custom-built desktop - see pics!


Last edited by A31 on Sat May 24, 2014 4:43 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 3:07 am 
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Stunning pictures! I wish I had that display in my T430, *****Expletives removed by Moderator***** be Lenovo for using different cables and connectors.


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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 7:39 am 
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kony wrote:
Stunning pictures! I wish I had that display in my T430, *****Expletives removed by Moderator***** be Lenovo for using different cables and connectors.

Thank you. :) Some slightly better ones will be coming in my review of the L540. I'll be taking the pictures in just a moment.

I do like the display on this L540. It's nice but it does get washed out since it is just a TN panel and not an IPS one. Colours look nice and saturated on it, though!

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Lenovo ThinkPad L540 | Core i5 4200M | 8GB 1600MHz RAM | 1920x1080 Display | UltraNav with Fingerprint Reader | Seagate SSHD 1TB | 720p Webcam | 6 Cell 56Wh Battery | Windows 8.1 Pro x64

Past: IBM ThinkPad A31, R40

My custom-built desktop - see pics!


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 6:31 am 
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Nice machine, may it serve you well.

Now that that is out of the way. I love your desk setup. More importantly I love the lamp in the right hand corner. It's really beautiful. Nice F16 pic you took also.

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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 7:12 am 
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pianowizard wrote:
You will be even more irritated when the computer performs a prolonged process (e.g. installing a major Windows update) and it appears to be doing nothing for a very long time. You wouldn't be able to tell whether the computer has frozen, and wonder "should I just keep on waiting for another hour?"
Task Manager in Windows 8 can display hard disk activity. Therefore, a hard disk LED isn't absolutely necessary as long as Windows is up and running.


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