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Lenovo ThinkPad W550s vs W541 Mobile Workstation Laptops, Which One Should You Buy?

Lenovo has basically two Mobile Workstation laptops you can choose from. These are the Lenovo ThinkPad W550s and the ThinkPad W541. Although both are mobile workstations, each one has its own set of unique features, specially the hardware installed. One maybe powerful than the other, but the other one may be more mobile friendly that the first. Each one has its pros and cons over the other, and it’s up to you to decide which one you should get. Before you decide to get which one of Lenovo’s mobile workstation laptop, check out below our comparison first. This article may help you decide better which laptop you should get depending on your needs or environment. Without further ado, please continue reading our Lenovo ThinkPad W550s vs W541 below.

Lenovo ThinkPad W550s Workstation Ultrabook-13 Lenovo ThinkPad W541 Workstation Laptop-10

Lenovo ThinkPad W550s vs W541 – Features

Physical Features

First, let’s compare the physical aspects of both the ThinkPad W550s and W541. The Lenovo ThinkPad W550s is smaller and lighter at 15″ x 10.2″ x 0.88″ (for the non-touch version) or 15″ x 10.2″ x 0.92″ (for the touch version), and it weighs only 4.92lbs. The W550s is considered as an Ultrabook due to its form factor. Meanwhile, the Lenovo ThinkPad W541 is the larger one between the two workstation laptops. It measures approximately 15.6″ x 9.7″ x 1.17″ inches and weighs around 5.57lbs.

ThinkPad W550s (left), ThinkPad W541 (right)
Lenovo ThinkPad W550s Workstation Ultrabook-01 Lenovo ThinkPad W541 Workstation Laptop-01

The ThinkPad W451 has more connectivity or input options like: a 4-in-1 SD card reader, 2x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USSB 2.0 ports, VGA port, miniDisplayPort + Thunderbolt 2.0, RJ45 Gigabyte Ethernet port, docking connector, audio combo jack, express card, smart card reader (optional), an optical drive, an optional X-Rite Pantone color calibrator, and a fingerprint reader. Meanwhile the ThinkPad W550s has most of the mentioned connectivity options, but it doesn’t have a color calibrator, no optical drive, no Thunderbolt port, no express card, and has 3x USB 3.0 ports. Almost forgot, the W550s has a real docking station or port at the bottom. Both of them feature the ThinkPad Precision Keyboard with NumPad with backlighting and a 720p camera.

ThinkPad W550s (left), ThinkPad W541 (right)
Lenovo ThinkPad W550s Workstation Ultrabook-03 Lenovo ThinkPad W541 Workstation Laptop-03

The Display

Both the Lenovo ThinkPad W550s and W541 have a 15.5″ screen size and you also have the same resolution options. You can choose from a full HD 1920×1080 TN panel with 300 nits brightness, or a 3K resolution at 2880×1620 IPS panel with a 350 nits brightness. Both options are available for the two workstation laptops.

Hardware Installed

Aside from the physical aspects, what’s under the hood of the W550s and W541 is what defines them from one another. The Lenovo ThinkPad W550s is powered with a 5th Generation Intel Core Broadwell processor. You can choose from a Core i7-5500U or Core i7-5600U. These processors are only dual cores, and are not as powerful compared to the quad core processor(s) that the W541 has. However, these new Broadwell processors are more power efficient and runs cooler compared to the CPU that is powering the W541. This may means lower temperature and longer battery life compared to the W541.

Lenovo ThinkPad W550s
Lenovo ThinkPad W550s Workstation Ultrabook-09

The Lenovo ThinkPad W541, on the other hand, is powered by a 4th Generation Intel Core Quad Core Haswell processor. You can choose to power your W541 with an Intel Core i7-4710MQ, i7-4810MQ, i7-4910MQ, or Core i7-4940MX Extreme Edition. These processors are really powerful (specially the Extreme Edition), and are designed to handle demanding and multiple computations or workload. If you want a fast computing and powerful workstation laptop, better go with the W541.

Lenovo ThinkPad W541
Lenovo ThinkPad W541 Workstation Laptop-08 Lenovo ThinkPad W541 Workstation Laptop-09

The Lenovo W541 mobile workstation is also powered with either an NVIDIA Quadro K1100M 2GB or K2100M 2GB discrete graphics processor. Meanwhile, you only get one option for the Lenovo W550s, and that’s the NVIDIA Quadro K620M 2GB. You can also install up to 32GB of DDR memory in the W541, thanks to its 4x SODIMM slots, meanwhile the W550s can only accommodate up to 16GB of memory with its two SODIMM slots. There is no difference in terms of storage options, since both can accommodate a 500GB HDD + 512GB SSD.

In terms of operating system, the Lenovo W541 has Windows 8.1 Pro 64bit or Windows 7 Professions 64 bit. This is preinstalled through downgrade rights in Windows 8.1 Pro 64. Meanwhile the Lenovo W550s has Windows 8.1 Pro 64bit, Windows 10 Pro, and Windows 7 Pro 64bit (preinstalled through downgrade rights in Windows 10 Pro).

The things mentioned above are basically the main difference of the Lenovo W550s vs the Lenovo W541. You can check out the specifications table below for a side by side comparison between the two mobile workstation laptops.

Lenovo ThinkPad W550s vs W541 – Price

Both the Lenovo W550s and W541 also differ in price. The Lenovo ThinkPad W550s starts at $1,169.10 and is available in three different pre-configured models. Meanwhile, the Lenovo ThinkPad W541’s price starts at $1,322.10, and has 1 pre-configured model available.

Of course you can choose to customize and change the pre-configuration depending on your needs. You can configure the specifications of your desired workstation laptop, and you can also add a 3 year Onsite + Accidental Damage Protection to your system.

Price mentioned above are accurate at the time this article was published. For latest pricing, availability and customization options visit the links below.

Latest pricing and configuration from Lenovo Shop:
Lenovo ThinkPad W550s and Lenovo ThinkPad W541

Also, don’t forget to visit our Lenovo eCoupons and Discounts for 2015, for a complete list of updated deals and promotions. Lenovo usually offers a certain amount of discount for these two mobile workstation laptops, and usually it comes it free shipping.

Lenovo ThinkPad W550s vs W541 – Specifications

SpecificationsThinkPad W550sThinkPad W541
ProcessorIntel Core i7-5500U Processor
Intel Core i7-5600U Processor
Intel Core i7-4710MQ Processor
Intel Core i7-4810MQ Processor
Intel Core i7-4910MQ Processor
Intel Core i7-4940MX Processor Extreme Edition
Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro
Windows 8.1 Pro 64
Windows 7 Professional 64 preinstalled through downgrade rights in Windows 10 Pro 64
Windows 8.1 Pro 64
Windows 7 Professional 64 preinstalled through downgrade rights in Windows 8.1 Pro 64
Power Supply65W170W
GraphicsNVIDIA Quadro K620M 2GBNVIDIA Quadro K1100M 2G
NVIDIA Quadro K2100M 2G
Memory2 slots, 2 SODIMM, 16GB max4 SODIMM Slots, 32GB max, 1600 MHz
RAID SupportNoneRAIDs 0, 1
Media Card ReaderIntegrated 4-in-1 SD card reader (SD, SD-HC, SDXC, MMC)Integrated 4-in-1 SD card reader (SD, SD-HC, SDXC, MMC)
ChipsetIntegrated on SoCQM87
Ports1x VGA
1x mDP v 1.2
3x USB 3.0, 1 Always-on charging
1x Mic / Headphone Combo Jack
1x RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet
1x Docking connector
1x Smart Card reader - optional
2x USB 3.0
2x USB 2.0, 1 Always-on charging
1x VGA
1x mDP + Thunderbolt 2.0
1x RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet
1x Docking connector
1x Mic / Headphone Combo Jack
1x Smart card reader - optional
1x ExpressCard / 34 mm
Dimensions (W x D x H)Non-Touch: 15" x 10.2" x 0.88"
Touch: 15" x 10.2" x 0.92"
15.6" x 9.7" x 1.10-1.167.3"
Max Storage Devices - 2500GB HDD 7200RPM
Up to 512GB SSD
WLANIntel 7265 BGN + Bluetooth Version 4.0
Intel 7265 AC/B/G/N Dual Band Wireless + Bluetooth Version 4.0
Intel® 7260 2x2 AC + Bluetooth® 4.0
Intel® 7260 2x2 b/g/n + Bluetooth® 4.0
WWANIntegrated Mobile Broadband upgradable
LTE Sierra EM7345
Integrated Mobile Broadband upgradable
Sierra Wireless 7355 - Gobi 5000
Battery3 cell Front (44 Whr)
3 cell Rear (23 Whr)
6 cell Rear (48 Whr)
6 cell Rear High Capacity (72 Whr)
6 cell (56 WHr)
9 cell (99 WHr)
Display15.5" FHD – 1920 x 1080 – TN
15.5" 3k – 2880 x 1620 – IPS
15.5" FHD – 1920 x 1080 – TN – 300 nits
15.5" 3k – 2880 x 1620 – IPS – 350 nits
Color SensorNoneX-rite Pantone - optional
Optical DriveNoneDVD-RW
Up to 1TB HDD with Bay Adapter
Up to 512GB SSD with Bay Adapter
Travel Bezel
WeightNon-Touch: 4.92 lbs5.57 lbs
KeyboardThinkPad® Precision Keyboard with NumPad & BacklightThinkPad® Precision Keyboard with NumPad & Backlight
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Peter Paul
Peter is a PC enthusiast and avid gamer with several years of hands-on experience in testing and reviewing PC components, audio equipment, and various tech devices. He offers a genuine, no-nonsense perspective, helping consumers make informed choices in the ever-changing world of technology.

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