The ThinkPad T510 is the 15.6" notebook from Lenovo that competes head-to-head with the HP EliteBook 8540p and the Dell Latitude E6510. The T510 offers optional NVIDIA NVS 3100M dedicated graphics, a full line-up of display options, and Intel Core i5 and i7 processors. In this review, we see how the ThinkPad T510 performs in our test lab and if you should add it to your Christmas shopping list.
Our Lenovo ThinkPad T510 Specifications:
Build and Design
The ThinkPad T510 has a "get down to business" appearance that has served the ThinkPad-series of notebooks very well. The outside finish is matte black, with a slight rubbery texture to increase grip when carrying it around. The design includes many flat surfaces with sharp and precise corners, but still manages to stay comfortable to use for hours on end. The screen hinges are stainless steel, and unlike the models two generations ago, are equal in size on both sides. Inside, the all-black appearance continues with a textured plastic palmrest, keyboard surround, and screen bezel. There are few, if any, glossy surfaces on the ThinkPad T510 which is great if you worry about glare from overhead lighting or sun while outdoors.
Build quality is very good on the Lenovo ThinkPad T510. Out of the box, this model has a stronger feel to it than most of the smaller ThinkPad models and is fairly hefty. Our model weighed in at over 6 pounds and is built like a tank. The newer palmrest and keyboard design is solid as a rock with a strong support structure underneath the plastic. Even with a strong grip or a lot of downward force, we saw minimal flex around the palmrest and keyboard. Following with its "overbuilt" (in a good way) trend, the screen hinges are strong enough that it required two hands to open the notebook and even to tilt back the screen once the lid was opened. When fully open, the screen did not have loose wobble or other problems staying firmly positioned.
The bottom of the notebook has two access panels for the system memory and hard drive. Users looking to upgrade either of those will only need to take out a couple of screws to gain access. Only one of the memory slots is located beneath the notebook though, making upgrades easy if you are only adding to the memory configuration. If you are replacing both sticks you will need to open up the notebook to get at the other slot.
Ports and Features
Almost every inch of the perimeter of the Lenovo ThinkPad T510 is filled with some form of connection or feature. The T510 includes three USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA/USB combo port, FireWire 400, VGA and DisplayPort-out, Ethernet, a modem jack, and a headset port. Expansion slots include an ExpressCard/34 slot and a SDHC-card reader.
If you are one of the ever-increasing segments of consumers that use their notebook for a desktop-replacement at home and mobile platform on the road, the latest ThinkPad Mini Dock might be for you. Our T510 review unit included the Mini Dock Plus Series-3 docking station that is loaded with ports and even supports up to three monitors connected simultaneously. In total the docking station adds six more USB ports, Ethernet, two DVI-outs, two DisplayPort-outs, one VGA-out, eSATA, and additional headphone and microphone jacks. If you have a ton of devices that need to be connected at your home or office, a docking station is one of the best options.
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