The 14″ Lenovo ThinkPad T420 looks like most of Lenovo’s ThinkPads, emphasising efficiency over aesthetics. The exterior plastic has a dull scratch-resistant surface, tending to resist fingrerprints and smears. The plastics indicate good build quality and don’t rattle when tapped. Again there’s that strong inner frame inhibiting flex, and keeping those delicate internal solder joints safe and sound. The lid is securely fastened, so there’s little teeter when the notebook is open. Put another way, a top-quality build. The ThinkPad T420 measures 13.4 x 9.5 x 1.18~1.2 inches and weighs 5.34lbs. Check out these Lenovo ThinkPad T420 pictures:
Lenovo’s T-series is especially beloved of corporate clients, who require fleets of fairly rugged machines to withstand abuse from rushed or careless stressed executives. This means the machine should be amenable to easy upgrades, hence the hard drive slides easily out its housing. RAM is similarly straightforward to upgrade.
The ThinkPad T420 boasts a 2.5GHz Intel i5 2410M with 4GB RAM, expandable to 8GB, and an Optimus-enabled 1GB NVidia 4200M graphics card. All with a speedy 500GB 7200rpm hard drive. WiFi-n is there, although no Bluetooth. There is however a 720p integrated HD webcam.
Corporate demands mean the T420 must deliver multiple connectivity options – so Lenovo have included a docking port underneath. Lenovo sells various docking stations, all offering plug-and-play access to a menagerie of ports and sockets. As standard, the T420 provides a mini-Firewire, VGA and DisplayPort sockets, an ExpressCard/34, a media card reader, an eSATA/USB-2 combi port, and a trio of USB-2 ports.
The 14″ display is available in either 720p 1366 x 768 resolution or 900p 1600 x 900 res. The larger screen offers around 30% more space, enabling users to view two windows side-by-side, and permitting more lines of text to be shown on screen. Viewing angles are typical for such business machines – fine horizontally but less so on the vertical. Anti-glare translates as easily cleaned and minimal distracting reflection.
Surprise surprise – the stereo speakers lack bass and even volume for a genuine loud and clear audio experience in the office. however, the dedicated Volume Up, Down and Mute buttons atop the keyboard are a welcome convenience.
Did someone say keyboard? The T420′s keyboard is huge, with traditional end-to-end keys, i.e. non-island style. Time-and-motion studies are probably to blame – busy workers have no time for constantly stretching their fingers to reach widely-spaced keys. Tactile feedback and key travel are perfect. Just enough travel for the finger’s nerves to realize a key is fully depressed, resulting in fast and accurate typing. Good spring sends the keys back stiffly, allowing users to rest their weary hands on the keyboard, instead of suspending them above the keys. The [Fx] keys and Home, End, PgUp, PgDn and Delete keys are all separated in groups, delivering superb keyboard orientation. A red rubber track-point amidships the keyboard, which with practise can be manipulated with pinpoint accuracy without removing your hands from the keyboard. The touchpad’s textured surface delivers precise pointer control, and its buttons give sound feedback.
With its integrated graphics card helping out, the Lenovo ThinkPad T420 is capable of handling Office suites with ease. The magic ingredient in this recipe is the 7200rpm hard drive, which places the T420 in the premier league of business laptops. Moderate use produces an epic 10 hours of battery life, boosted by Optimus’s automatically switching the graphics card off for the 95% of the time it’s not needed in Office use.
Supreme typing experience, stellar graphics performance, a paragon of connectivity, and world-beating endurance, a credit to any business.
Thinkpad T420 with 320GB of storage in 4G starts at $780.
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