Lenovo ThinkPad E420s Review

by Charles P. Jefferies Reads (92,760)
Editor's Rating
6.14

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 5
    • Usability
    • 5
    • Design
    • 7
    • Performance
    • 6
    • Features
    • 6
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 6
    • Total Score:
    • 6.14
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Solid build quality
    • Excellent keyboard
    • Great battery life (6+ hours)
    • Good design
  • Cons

    • Non-removable battery
    • Low-resolution display
    • No status lights

Quick Take

The ThinkPad E420s represents a good value at its $799 price point. Just be aware it has limited screen options and a non-removable battery.


The ThinkPad E420s is a consumer-oriented ThinkPad with a 1-inch thin chassis, a weight of just 4 pounds, and more than 6 hours of battery life. If that isn’t enough to spark your interest, it has a starting price around $700. Read our full review for all the details.

Our Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420s review unit has the following specs:

  • 14-inch “edge to edge” glossy display (1366×768 resolution)
  • Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
  • Intel Core i5-2410M dual-core processor (2.3~2.9GHz Turbo Boost, 3MB cache, 35W TDP)
  • Intel HM65 chipset
  • Integrated Intel HD graphics
  • 4GB DDR3-1333 RAM (1x 4GB, supports up to 8GB – 2x 4GB)
  • 320GB 7200RPM Seagate hard drive (ST320LT000, 7mm height)
  • Intel WiFi Link 1000 BGN wireless network adapter
  • No internal Bluetooth
  • Integrated 720p webcam
  • Slot-load DVD burner (HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GS30N)
  • Integrated biometric fingerprint reader
  • Internal non-removable Li-polymer 48.8Whr battery
  • Weight: 4.14 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 13.7 x 9.3 x 0.9~1.2 inches
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • MSRP: $799

Starting at $699, our E420s has just two optional extras – the faster Core i5 processor (as opposed to the i3 processor in the base system) and the Professional edition of Windows 7. The E420s comes rather well-equipped for the price though coulduse a longer warranty period; business notebooks typically come with a two- or three-year standard. Of special note in the specifications list is the non-removable battery, 7mm thin Seagate hard drive (most drives are thicker at 9.5mm), light weight and slim dimensions.


Build and Design
The E420s departs from the essential ThinkPad design in a number of ways. For starters, the exterior is simpler and sleeker – there are fewer lines and less buttons. The palm rest and keyboard surround, lid, and bottom of the notebook have a rubber non-slip coating, which feels great and adds a measure of durability. The screen has a large glossy piece of plastic covering it, which Lenovo calls “infinity”. It may look good on a display shelf, but in reality it smudges up easily and worse, has even more reflections than a regular glossy display. The edge of the display is surrounded with reflective plastic, which again looks good but is a chore to maintain.

The E420s has a metal alloy support structure inside the chassis, something it has in common with a ThinkPad. The chassis is extremely solid as a result and does not flex even under strong pressure. The lid however could be stronger; it flexes when twisted by the corners; additionally, the fact that minor ripples appear on the screen when pushed in from behind means it could have better support.

Overall the build quality is impressive; aside from some glossy plastic and a lid that could be stronger, there is little to complain about.

Ports and Features
The E420s has an ample array of ports including HDMI v1.4, a USB/eSATA combo port, and a slot-load DVD burner. The inclusion of a DVD burner is notable given the thinness of the chassis; many notebooks are coming without them these days. The E420s lacks USB 3.0, a docking station port, and an ExpressCard slot. Something strange about this notebook is the lack of status lights; at the very least, a hard drive status light should have been included. All picture descriptions are left to right.


Front: Nothing


Back: Cooling exhaust vent, Ethernet, USB/eSATA combo port, VGA


Left: AC power, slot-load DVD burner, 4-in-1 media card reader


Right: Powered USB 2.0, standard USB 2.0, HDMI v1.4, headphone/microphone combo jack, cooling exhaust vent


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