Heat and Noise
There is a single fan exhausting air out the back left corner of the chassis. At idle it's nearly silent; under load it develops a slight whine but remains quiet enough to be ignored (even in a quiet office). It's nice that the fan is located towards the rear; this way it won't blow hot air on left-handers. The notebook itself remains cool all over even during intense benchmarking sessions.
Our T420 has the optional 9-cell battery with a whopping 94Wh rating. I measured 10 hours on the dot, from 100% to 0% on our standard battery rundown test (Windows 7 Balanced power profile, 70% screen brightness, wireless on and refreshing a web page every one minute). This makes the T420 one of the longest-lasting notebooks out there, even compared to netbooks. Realistically expect a range between 8 and 10 hours for everyday usage, possibly longer if you have a Solid State Drive (SSD) and turn the screen brightness down to a minimum.
Battery life test results (higher scores mean better battery life):
The battery life is definitely helped by the Nvidia Optimus technology which automatically turns off the dedicated Nvidia graphics card when 3D processing power is not required (95%+ of the time for "typical" business users).
The Lenovo ThinkPad T420 is a well-engineered 14" business notebook. It has the hallmark ThinkPad qualities including great build quality and a superior keyboard. I liked almost everything about it. The anti-glare screen prevents reflections and with a 1600x900 resolution, provides a lot of working space. The keyboard has a highly functional layout and the trackpoint and touchpad are easy to use. All this functionality can be taken to the road thanks to the 10 hours of battery from the optional 9-cell.
Other pros of the notebook include a good selection of input/output ports, dedicated volume control buttons, a docking station port, and a swappable modular bay (ours was occupied by a DVD burner).
Complaints? Yes - the speakers are lackluster, the design might not appeal to people looking for something noticeable, and ... that's it. Oh, it's a bit thick and heavy for a 14" model, but Lenovo also offers the T420s model which is thinner.
Bottom line, the ThinkPad T420 isn't just a good business laptop ... the T420 is an excellent choice for business, home, and student use.
Software & Support
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