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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