Lenovo keeps coming out with one fine laptop after another. The laptop under review, the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420s, is one of the new machines from its labs. It was launched in April this year and is part of Lenovo's SMB (small and medium businesses) line-up.
Since the laptop is targeted at SMBs, the machine needs to be a performer at an affordable price. And that's exactly what ThinkPad Edge E420s is.
The machine has a clean look. I would even say it looks a bit stylish, if you will, for a Lenovo machine: with rounded corners, it has metal accents that frame the machine's black, soft-matte exterior. On the weight side, an important consideration for mobile PCs, it is comparatively light. It is one-inch thick and it weighs about four pounds.
The machine fires up pretty quickly. Every time I tried it, it booted up with Windows 7 in less than half a minute. The secret behind the machine's roaring power is its Intel Core i3 processor. Another secret is the machine's Enhanced Experience 2.0, which, in Lenovo's words, speeds up boot time by 30 percent with RapidDrive technology. RapidDrive takes advantage of a solid state drive (SSD) for faster boot speed.
The machine comes with a complete numeric keyboard. Since I use a laptop of a different brand, I had some difficulty in adjusting to its keys. I don't think regular Lenovo users will have any difficulty with this lay-out. The Lenovo trademark centre-keyboard trackpoint is very much there in this machine.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy-or so goes the cliché. The ThinkPad Edge E420s is good for play too. It has a great sound system-the machine comes equipped with Dolby Home Theatre audio. So, after work, if you want to watch videos on YouTube, go ahead. Every time I tried, the machine gave me clear videos with crisp audio.
Though I did not try video conferencing, the machine comes equipped with enhanced video conferencing technologies including a high-definition Web camera, noise-cancelling keyboard software and high performance microphones and speakers. The machine also features an HDMI port to show presentations on a PC monitor or flat-screen TV.
For connectivity, it has all the usual wireless connectivity technologies - wi-fi, optional mobile broadband and 4G/ WiMAX.
Some laptops are doing away with DVD player slots. I like the fact that the E420s comes with a DVD player/burner slot. The slot is very thin: 9.5 mm only.
Once fully-charged, the machine could easily run for 3-4 hours in my experience. I think this could be made better. Another area of improvement is the machine's power button. At times, I was not sure if the machine was sleeping or if I had to keep the button pressed to boot up the laptop. My current machine does not keep me confused like the E420s. But that, I figure, is a minor squabble.
Overall, I think the 14-inch ThinkPad Edge E420s is a potent business-class laptop that is available for an attractive price for the SME customers. I am told it is currently available in Singapore, starting from S$1,499.
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