Pros: improved features
Cons: impossible to buy
My review is not pertaining to the use of the new W520 because I have yet to see the computer I first ordered on March 29. I will be reviewing my buying experience involved with trying to purchase it online through Lenovo.
I needed a new laptop because my 1.5 year old laptop doesn't have a good enough graphics card that can handle the 3D graphics requirement of a navigation program I recently purchased. I did plenty of research trying to find a good value that met two main requirements. 1) Mid to high end dedicated graphics card with 1gb of memory. 2) Since I will be using the unit in a marine environment I need at the least a semi-rugged platform which the professional line of most brands offers. I like my old Toshiba and the good service they have provided me so far but their Tecra (professional) line does not offer a mid range graphics card. I looked at Lenovo's W series and was very impressed with the environmental features and the higher end graphics capabilities even though they use a business optimized graphics card as most professional laptops do. One of the major improvements Lenovo made with the W520 over the W510 is they finally take advantage of the Optimus technology incorporated in the NVIDIA graphics cards they use. The W510's NVIDIA graphics card although in a slightly lower class did have the Optimus technology but Lenovo's engineers decided not to incorporate it for some odd reason. This feature allows switching between the integrated graphics and the dedicated graphics depending on necessity of applications. This improved battery life tremendously and in theory, possibly cuts down on unnecessary wear and tear due higher heat production caused by the continuous use of higher end graphics cards when not needed. This definitely sounded like the right unit for my purpose.
I ordered the W520 on March 29. Ironically on April 1 Lenovo cancels my order without emailing me or calling me. I only found out because when I went to check on my order status my order didn't exist anymore. I call them up and they patch me through to accounting in India. Accounting tells me they cancelled my order due to credit card issues but won't tell me specifics. I'm told my only option now is to reorder because after an order is cancelled it cannot be reinstated. I get sent back to sales in the U.S. and reorder. After I get off the phone with sales I call my bank to inquire what the problem was. They tell me there was no problem on their end, that it was an issue with Lenovo. On April 4 I go online to check my order status and once again my order is cancelled. I call up accounting again and they tell me they had a problem running the card (which is a different card from the first time) and so they cancelled my order. I tell them that the purchase is pending on my account and I ask them why they didn't call me first before cancelling my order again. Needless to say I never got a straight answer. However they do contact the credit card company finally (I think) because I am put on hold and when they come back they say they will create an authorization number now and expedite the order. I'm sent back to sales to reorder again. They don't communicate with sales about the sensitivity of the situation and I have to tell them what happened myself which makes me wonder if my order is really getting expedited. After I reorder again I ask to please speak to a manager. I am told "EVERYONE is at a business meeting" and they will have their manager (lets call him Bob Barker) call me as soon as the meeting is over. After two hours and no response I call back and talk to a new sales person. I ask to speak to one of the presidents of Lenovo in hopes that I will get somebody, ANYBODY that will stop passing the buck and take accountability for the lack of proper procedures within the unorganization and try to help me. I'm told the president is in china but they will patch me through to the front desk. After a half and hour of trying to patch through to a non existing front desk I am offered to speak to their "personal manager" as soon as he's done selling a computer right next to them at the moment. I ask if their manager's name is Bob Barker and they say yes. I never get to speak to Bob Barker as suggested but a message is relayed to me via the sales person that the manager of the original sales person who sold me the unit will contact me. The buck is passed yet again. No one has been considerate enough to contact me yet, including the original sales person that will get the commission from the sale if it ever happens. In the end, I might not receive my laptop before I have to fly out for my next job due to the constant delays of having to reorder 3 times and now two computer purchases are pending on my account.
In the beginning I thought there was a lack of continuity within the company being stretched across the globe as it is but as I go deeper into the maze of what purchasing a Lenovo is I realize that incompetence is consistent across the board. I sincerely hope if and when I finally receive my W520 it performs as well as predicted by the many enthusiastic reviews of the machine itself, because if technical support is anything like the departments I've already dealt with then there might not be a single redeeming quality of owning a Lenovo.
I've ranked the machine based solely on the customer service I've received to date trying to get it purchased from Lenovo sales. I will revise my review and ranking if I ever receive the unit and after 6 months of continuous use in a marine environment.