Going hands-on with the ThinkPad Edge E220s notebook

Summary:The ThinkPad Edge brand straddles the corporate-aimed ThinkPad and the consumer-friendly IdeaPad line from Lenovo. The E220s is the latest notebook in this line and I try it out in this review.

Lenovo, long known for the ThinkPad brand since acquiring it from IBM, has been branching out into the consumer space for the past few years. The IdeaPad brand was Lenovo's first move into making consumer laptops, followed by the ThinkPad Edge brand which straddles the corporate ThinkPad market and the consumer space with edgier designs. The latest model in the latter product line is the ThinkPad Edge E220s, and I've been putting it through its paces.

The E220s takes the unique 12.5-inch display and buttonless trackpad seen on the ThinkPad X220 I reviewed, and incorporates both into a thin, light case with consumer appeal. The E220s also uses a battery sealed in the notebook case, so it is not replaceable by the user which will not be popular with some. As a member of the ThinkPad Edge product line, The E220s adds useful ThinkVantage utilities found previously on the pricier ThinkPad line.

Check out ThinkPad Edge E220s photo gallery


Image Gallery: ThinkPad Edge E220s nice keyboard and display
Image Gallery: E220s
Image Gallery: E220s

Hardware specifications as reviewed:
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2537M (Sandy Bridge)
  • Display: 12.5-inch, 1366x768
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Storage: 320GB HDD, 7,200 rpm
  • OS: Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
  • Ports: SD Card (multi-format), RJ45, VGA, audio in/out combo, 3-USB (1 eSATA), HDMI, power, SIM slot (for 3G-equipped models)
  • Trackpad: Buttonless, red trackstick with three buttons
  • Battery: Li-Polymer, 43 Wh
  • Communications: WiFi b/g/n
  • Special: Fingerprint sensor, keyboard light (toggle-able)
  • Dimensions: 12.3 x 8.4 x 0.85 inches; 3.23 pounds

The E220s is a joy to use given the full keyboard. The keys have a nice feel and the placement is exactly as you expect in a Lenovo keyboard. The keyboard is spill-resistant according to Lenovo, but thankfully I haven't tested that feature. The trackpad has a smooth feel and is nicely sized, and the two mouse buttons are incorporated into the trackpad surface. This works very well and is very natural during use.

I am seeing about four hours of usage out of the sealed battery, so those requiring long battery life need to look at other notebooks. This usage is with typical power management, which can be stretched with stringent control made possible by the inclusion of the excellent ThinkPad power management system. I suspect with a little effort over 5 hours could be squeezed out of a single charge.

The ThinkPad Edge is very thin and light making it a highly portable notebook for those on the go. It is easily carried in one hand due to the weight, and the 12.5-inch display provides a very high-resolution display belying its small size.

Pros:

Very portable, comfortable to use

Great keyboard

Buttonless trackpad works well; has trackstick for those who like them

Good value for price

Cons:

Battery not replaceable by user; battery doesn't last all day

Lack of LED activity indicators makes it hard to tell what's going on at times

No optical drive

Conclusion:

Lenovo is currently selling the E220s starting at $749, so those wanting ThinkPad features at a more consumer-friendly price point should consider this notebook. It brings ThinkPad quality to the consumer in an attractive notebook that performs well.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Mobility

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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