Lenovo's ThinkPad E420s: A personal take

Lenovo's ThinkPad E420s: A personal take

Summary: ZDNet UK's David Meyer bought the new 14-inch Lenovo ThinkPad Edge laptop, the E420s, with his own cash. Here he tells us whether he thinks he got his money's worth


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  • Lenovo E420s back and top

    Gigabit Ethernet, eSATA and VGA connections are on the back. This shot also shows off the matte black lid, which I find a good thing. Not sure why everyone says they don't collect fingerprints, though.

    Photo credit: David Meyer

  • Lenovo E420s underside

    And finally, the underside of the E420s, which I think shows off the rigid construction quite nicely. It doesn't have an easily accessible battery, though, so banish all thoughts of swapping that out in extra-long meetings.

    So, am I happy with my choice? Kind of. It's not perfect, but it is tough and light, and... well, it's a notebook. Unless you're willing to shell out a couple of grand, any laptop will be something of a compromise, and that's what this is.

    Pros: a mid-sized screen, a DVD drive, beefy discrete graphics, the latest Sandy Bridge processor, a high-quality webcam, a superb keyboard and what I consider to be attractive styling. Cons: low-res and slightly washed-out screen, lack of USB 3.0, slightly mystical graphics-switching.

    Considering the spec I got was just north of £900 including VAT (and only because I bumped it up to 8GB of RAM rather than 4GB), I think it worked out as a very good deal.

    I'm conscious, by the way, that this has been quite a consumer-ish review. For those considering this as a business machine, well, it's a ThinkPad. Lenovo's pushing it as an SMB machine, and it will certainly be an excellent choice for the besuited crowd as well.

    Just beware of navigating Lenovo's appalling online purchasing system. That, as they say, is a different story...

    Photo credit: David Meyer

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Reviews

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • Those reading this review should note that I have had very serious problems with Lenovo's sales and repair systems. Please read: http://www.zdnet.co.uk/blogs/communication-breakdown-10000030/ordering-a-laptop-from-lenovo-a-survivors-tale-10022358/

    UPDATE (5 June): All sorted out now, with Lenovo having given me compensation for the many delays and other general snafus.
    David Meyer
  • Just got mine this week. I've got to say, this is probably the best keyboard I've ever used. However, it's also probably the worst touchpad. Two finger scrolling doesn't work for crap and occasionally my cursor jumps randomly across the page, which can be a real problem when I'm trying to type something.

    Are you having better luck with yours? I'm wondering if mine is defective.
  • Have you done the Lenovo tools system update? That might fix matters - it certainly worked out the sound card issue that was making my microphone unusable for Skype.

    I find the trackpad to work very well, although it almost feels too big! In any case, I've become a convert to the Church Of The Little Red Nubbin - it's extremely accurate and scrolling with the middle button beats scrolling on any trackpad.
    David Meyer
  • Hi David,
    Read your comments, interesting
    thinking of going ahead and ordering form Lenovo- have done quite a bit of background for a new laptop- looking one that will be fast essentially - have come down to Lenovo- but is there any difference between the E520 & the T520? And be interested to hear what everyone thinks- is Lenovo thinkpad best choice , better than Acer etc- What laptop best review sdon't seem t mention Lenovo - but I need a machine that sfast and reliable with good build quality ( resistant to toddler tumbles!)- cheers

  • I don't understand regional pricing policies. An E420s from Lenovo's US website is about £300 cheaper for identical spec. Although they don't currently have an option for a graphics card.
    Yelling Melon
  • I would really recommend against the Lenovo E420s. There seem to be major problems with the battery software and engineering (per my own experience and the web forums). I've owned the machine for less than 2 months, and it is already getting a third motherboard. I haven't been able to use the machine more than a couple of weeks, and the servicing has been unbelievably slow and dishonest. I was actually told by the servicing agents that these kinds of problems are not out of the ordinary with Lenovo.