The Lenovo ThinkPad E555 promises business-class build quality and Lenovo's high-quality keyboard for less than $500. Though we haven't tested the E555, we have reviewed several other ThinkPads and similarly priced small business laptops, which gave us a lot of context. Below, we share our thoughts on this laptop, along with a summary of opinions from ThinkPad E555 owners and other professional reviewers. Be sure to check out our lists of the best sub-$500 laptops and top Lenovo laptops, all of which we have tested thoroughly.
Who is it for?
The 15.6-inch ThinkPad E555 ($474.05) is a budget laptop designed with modern ThinkPad aesthetics for small business users. It packs many of the features and design elements that make ThinkPads unique while starting at a price usually reserved for budget consumer systems. It is designed specifically for working professionals who need a large screen for data analysis and document creation, and provides reliable performance. At 5.2 pounds, it's on the heavier side, so like most 15-inch laptops, this notebook is not ideal for frequent travelers.
Key Specs and Features
The ThinkPad E555 has a 15.6-inch, nontouch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 — and no option to upgrade the screen. Users who still play DVDs or CD-ROMs will appreciate that it comes with an optical drive — something fewer and fewer laptops have. The E555 is wrapped in a nice matte finish, with the typical black ThinkPad aesthetic.
Depending on the configuration, this system can be powered by either an AMD A6-7000 2.2-GHz dual-core CPU or an AMD A10-7300 1.9-GHz quad-core CPU. The A10 version comes with a discrete GPU: the Radeon R7 M260DX with 2GB of DDR3 VRAM. To complement its processing power, users can select among 4GB, 8GB and 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and either a 500GB, 7,200-rpm hard drive or a 128GB solid-state drive. The base model comes with an AMD A6-7000 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive.
Connectivity options include 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and gigabit Ethernet. Lenovo offers a Broadcom AC wireless card as an option at no extra cost if you order the E555 directly through lenovo.com. Ports include a single USB 2.0 port and two USB 3.0 ports (one of which features always-on charging).
Additionally, you'll find HDMI and VGA ports, a microphone jack, an SDXC slot and Lenovo's proprietary OneLink port. A 720p webcam is built into the screen’s bezel, and there are stereo speakers. Interestingly enough, this laptop offers users the choice of the 64-bit Pro versions of Windows 7, 8.1 and 10. These options will be beneficial to different users.
Our Experience with Similar Laptops
We've reviewed many Lenovo ThinkPads over the years, and their keyboards are almost always better than the competition, providing strong tactile feedback and solid key travel. In addition to standard touchpads, ThinkPads have TrackPoint pointing sticks, which allow you to navigate around the desktop without lifting your hands off the home row. As a small business laptop, the ThinkPad E555 doesn't have some of the security and manageability features (e.g., a fingerprint reader) that more expensive business notebooks have, but most people don't need those.
What Owners Say About the ThinkPad E555
According to reviews on Amazon, Lenovo and B&H, many users report feeling disappointed with the A6 CPU, with some simply opting to return that variant and buy a different laptop altogether. The users who purchased the A10-equipped model had a very different experience; many were very happy with the performance, especially when they opted for 8GB to 16GB of RAM and an SSD.
Many owners reported that the keyboard provided an excellent experience. They reported that the trackpad felt great but was very glitchy. The mix of I/O ports was praised, as well as the included DVD SuperMulti Drive.
According to the commenters, the 15.6-inch screen provides decent brightness and color reproduction, but the battery life lasts only about 3 hours, which was cited as a disappointment. Overall, most of the owners are satisfied with the performance of the keyboard, touchpad and processing power, citing its ability to seamlessly multitask without lagging.
What Reviewers Say
Several professional technology publications have reviewed the Lenovo ThinkPad E555, and were impressed with its keyboard and value for the money, but were disappointed by short battery life that hovers around 3 hours. It is a "Laptop with a highly impressive value-for-money rating," wrote Desire Athow at TechRadar, who also complimented both the keyboard and the touchpad.
NotebookCheck called it a "simple office notebook for private and business users," adding, "The performance is sufficient for office and web applications." The site also said that keyboard keys are "firm and springy" and have good travel. However, they were disappointed that there's no keyboard backlight.
Overall, reviewers say the E555 provides the easiest way to get the look and feel of a ThinkPad while not paying standard ThinkPad prices.
The ThinkPad E555 is quite affordable for a small business laptop that promises ThinkPad-level build quality and Lenovo's high-quality keyboard. If you want an inexpensive professional notebook, this system is definitely worth considering.