Green is the new game in town for many manufacturers and Lenovo just launched a new notebook designed to fill the eco-friendly market segment. The new ThinkPad L-series is a near carbon copy of the previous SL-series but with a huge increase in recycled content. The L-series offers up to 30% post-consumer content, LED-backlit screens and green packaging that takes up 20% less space. If you're interested in a new eco-friendly notebook, check out our full review of the new Lenovo ThinkPad L512.
Our Lenovo ThinkPad L512 Specifications:
As soon as we pulled the new ThinkPad L512 out of the box, it was as if we were staring at the previous SL-series notebook. (insert link here) The two designs are identical, down to the lid texture, touchpad contours, port layout and even bottom panels. The main updates are newer recycled plastic content and updated internal hardware.
The ThinkPad L512 has a consumer take on the rugged, business-oriented T-series ThinkPad. Unlike the Edge series which is really a consumer-focused model, the L- and SL-series ThinkPads keep the general look and feel of the T-series with a few tweaks to the design. Most notably is the lack of rubbery black paint around the chassis, which has been replaced with smooth black plastic. For some users this type of finish maintains a cleaner look and feel compared to the rubbery finish that can wear off over time. Inside, the slightly rough black plastic palmrest and keyboard surround on the T-series is replaced with the same smooth finish plastic; some users will argue that it feels nicer on the wrists. The other big change is the shift from a squared-off chassis with right-angled edges to an inward-sloping profile that tucks the ports into the sides.
Screen and Speakers
The L512 includes a matte-finish LED-backlit display with a 1366x768 WXGA resolution. Compared to most consumer displays we have seen, colors and contrast were slightly below average. For some business models, however, this could be considered average. We measured peak viewing brightness at 212 cd/m^2, which is more than enough for viewing in bright office conditions and even partially visible outdoors. As long as you aren't in direct sunlight the matte-finish screen at high brightness should be usable outside. Viewing angles were good to about 15 degrees forward or back before colors started to shift or invert. Horizontal viewing angles were better with the screen staying readable to between 60and 70 degrees.
Speaker performance was very average for a 15-inch notebook and scored lower than most consumer notebooks. Bass and midrange were very weak, but volume levels were fine for a small room. The speakers are forward-facing, located directly underneath the screen; they shouldn't get blocked when you put the notebook on your lap.
The keyboard is very comfortable to type on and has a very similar look and feel to the keyboards on the T-series ThinkPads. The layout has been slightly tweaked, using a single row of function keys instead of the two rows seen on higher models. Tactile feedback is excellent from the keyboard with soft key-presses that give off a very mild click when fully triggered. Media buttons have been moved from above the top row as seen on the T-series to the left side of the keyboard. Lenovo still gives buttons for speaker mute, microphone mute and volume up and down.
Ports and Features
Port selection on the ThinkPad L512 is pretty good with three USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA/USB combo port, VGA and DisplayPort-out, and LAN. Expansion slots include an SDHC-card reader and ExpressCard/34 slot. Compared to the SL510, Lenovo swapped out the HDMI port in favor of the DisplayPort connection. For home theater users this could be a big disappointment since DisplayPort doesn't use the same standard for passing digital audio to a stereo or TV.
Rear: One USB 2.0 port, Kensington Lock slot
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