Awesome 2011 ThinkPad T420/T420s/T520, it doesn’t get much better!
February 22, 2011
The much anticipated new 2011 ThinkPad T Series notebooks are here and we now have a release date. In this ThinkPad T420, ThinkPad T420s and ThinkPad T520 Review we are going to cover the new features in depth. Release date will be the first week in March!
STOP PRESS: March 18th ’11 The ThinkPad T420 and ThinkPad T520 with Intel HD 3000 Integrated Graphics are now available on the Lenovo site. With the new Sandy Bridge Architecture with the 12EUs Graphics cores, the Intel 3000 HD Graphics option is going to do a great job of handling most business applications.
Visit Lenovo to configure your superb new ThinkPad T420 and T520
Let’s start with the super slim, ThinkPad T420s which must be on every T Series fans most wanted list! Coming in at under 4lbs and equipped with the second generation Intel® Core™ i3-2310M (2.10 GHz Sandy Bridge Processor as the base option and going up to the Intel® Core™ i7-2620M (2.7 GHz, up to 8MB Ram and NVIDIA NVS Optimus Graphics, this baby is going to fly.
Equipped with Dolby Home Theater Audio (yes, in a ThinkPad!), the combination of Graphics capabilities and raw processing power, we have a really serious laptop for both work and entertainment!
ThinkPad T420s Specifications
Video – Display Port + VGA, 3 USB ports consisting of one USB 2.0, one USB Always-On and a USB 3.0 port – 34mm Express Card and 4 in 1 SD Card – Dual Array Digital Microphones with a 720p HD Camera – the option of NVIDIA Optimus NVS 4200M with 1GB VRAM – up to Intel® Centrino® Ultimate-N 6300 3×3 AGN – a choice of Wireless including Gobi 3000 – Ericsson HSPA+ WWAN Minicard – LeadCore TD-SCDMA WWAN Minicard or the Huawei EV-DO WWAN Minicard
Hard Drives start at 160GB 7200rpm – to 320GB 7200rpm with the option of Rapid Drive incorporating the Intel® 80GB Micro SSD.
There is also an option for a 4GB SSD, plus SSD configurations from 128GB SSD up to 160GB SSD
The T420s will also now standardize on the ThinkPad Series 3 Port Replicator’s and Mini Docks, allowing up to 3 active displays at once!
The ThinkPad T420 starts with the Intel® Core™ i3-2310M Processor and goes up to the Intel® Core™ i7-2620M 2.70GHz, whilst the ThinkPad T520 goes all the way to Intel Core™ i7-2820QM 2.30GHz. Now, this isn’t the most powerful of the new Sandy Bridge chips, but its pretty close. It is only about 90% short of the ‘Extreme’ versions of the new processor line up, and is really designed for use in high end multimedia notebooks, so this is going to be some powerful ThinkPad T520.
So with the new 12EUs Graphics cores in the 2nd generation iCore processors, and the NVIDIA® NVS 4200M Discrete Graphics with 1GB Video RAM, we are going to see some pretty staggering performance. Initial benchmarks suggest that your building is going to have to be on some good foundations when you fire the new ThinkPad T520 up!
Of course Lenovo Enhanced Experience 2.0 will be incorporated in all of the new models and ‘Rapid Drive’ technology will be an option. Rapid Drive incorporates all the advantages of the storage capacity of large spin drives, with the fast data access time of an SSD for super fast load times.
The tiny little Intel SSD drive that makes all this possible is 1/8 the size of a normal 2.5-inch SSD. The Intel SSD 310 is under a ¼” (5mm) thick with 80GB capacity. Performance is also pretty impressive with Intel claiming that the SSD 310 provides the same performance as its X25 drives. The 80GB Micro Drive is strapped on (metaphorically) to the conventional drive, to form a performance and storage hybrid!
The ‘Thinking’ ThinkPad
Lenovo have achieved amazing battery life benchmarks with the new T Series. The ThinkPad T420 gets up to 30 hours with the 9 cell plus 9 cell ‘clip on’ slice battery.
All of the new T Series Laptops are ‘self-aware’, which together with adaptive technologies senses where power is needed the most. This not only ensures priority is given to components that need power for improved overall performance but those that don’t, whilst you may be watching a movie for instance or surfing the web, are powered down.
With Lenovo Turbo Boost Plus, which Lenovo has worked with Intel to develop your new ThinkPad will increase processor speed during performance intensive tasks such as video editing, number crunching and using 3D rendering software, whilst at the same time keeping temperatures down.
So by reducing power to hardware that doesn’t need it, the notebook will achieve up to 30% greater battery life, which means you can work and play longer whilst your traveling.
The All Day ThinkPad
With its standard 9-cell battery, the ThinkPad T420 delivers up to 15 hours of battery life with an amazing 30 hours with the clip on 9 cell slice. The T420s achieves up to 10 hours with its combined 6-cell and optional snap on 6-cell slice battery.
Calling all ThinkPad’s!
When it was first introduced, the ThinkPad T400s and the subsequent ThinkPad T410s were big on enhanced VIOP functions. This has been a priority with the premium ‘s’ T410 and the new sleek ThinkPad T420s carries on that tradition.
The ThinkPad Engineers have built in a number of technologies to enhance the video and voice conferencing experience. You can switch between Private Chat and Conference Call microphone modes with single mouse When you’re in Private chat mode you use noise canceling technology to focus on yours and the other parties voice, whereas Conference Call mode includes everybody in the room, and the sound is ‘cast’, so that everybody around the conference table can hear.
Keyboard noise suppression software will eliminate noise from a keyboard if you or anybody else in the room is typing during your Conference. Ever made a conference call boob, and said something you shouldn’t have over an open mike? I know I have and it was a very embarrassing moment! The ThinkPad T410s has an LED-lit microphone mute key which tells you when the microphone is transmitting audio so you know to switch it off before you say anything you shouldn’t!
The Secure ThinkPad
The new ThinkPad T Series range offers both 2nd generation Intel® Core™ and Core™ vPro™ processors giving corporate level IT departments a high level of reliability ease of deployment and a high level of manageability.
The new ThinkPad T420s, ThinkPad T420 and T520 will also share the Series 3 Docking Station with the new ThinkPad W520, the L Series and the upcoming new ThinkPad X220. Another feature that will please corporate IT Managers is the fact that all 14” and 15” ThinkPad’s will now share the same batteries, another big cost saver in the IT Stock room!
Of course the biggest headache for the corporate IT Director is security, and of that extends down to the SMB and Soloprenuer level. All of the new ThinkPad’s present you with various options to overlay several layers of security all the way through the hardware, software, BIOS. The options include encrypted hard drives and remote management support with an integrated fingerprint reader with one touch swipe for power on and authentication, a feature which was first introduced in the T400. This includes yellow ‘wrong swipe’ LED’s which light up on the left or right of the finger print reader to indicate which way your finger is leaning!
Statistics show the in US Airports alone 12,000 laptops are stolen every week and one laptop is stolen every 53 seconds! This of course is a nightmare with all the personal information that we carry on our laptops but for anybody that has a work notebook stolen with a hard drive full of sensitive information this is an absolute horror story! With vPro Intel has incorporated Anti-Theft 2.0 which uses software and hardware technology to remotely disable your ThinkPad and lock access to your precious and sensitive data if your ThinkPad is lost or stolen.
This can be done remotely with a simple call to your help desk at Comuputrace LowJack or the service from Symantec. Intel have a really good video that illustrates the type of thing that can happen when the service is activated using Intel® Anti-Theft Technology (Intel® AT)
The always on ThinkPad
With the new ThinkPad T Series Lenovo has introduced an Instant Resume feature which keeps your ThinkPad connected to your wireless or VPN access point during sleep mode for brief periods of time. This does away with the need to login and reconnect if your moving from meeting to meeting or around the building.
Now, we haven’t heard this yet, but we can’t wait because the ThinkPad T420s is the first ever notebook to feature Dolby Home Theater v4, Dolby’s hottest new audio technology which gives virtualized surround sound and dialog enhancement technology for crystal clear sound tracks in movies, music and during video calls. This is a completely new direction for the usually staid corporate image of ThinkPad’s of old, but according to Russ Compton the ThinkPad T Series Marketing Manager, as users, we are demanding more ‘after hours’ features on our ThinkPad’s
So we have a ThinkPad T420 and ThinkPad T420s or a ThinkPad T520 with great audio, raw power and game playable graphics! Wonderful!
The “I want one” ThinkPad!
There is no doubt that the ThinkPad Engineers have stepped up the game yet again with the new 2011 ThinkPad T Series. The ThinkPad T420s elevate the meaning of portable power to a new level and take the premium ‘s’ machine up another couple of notches. This was always a near perfect companion for the fast moving power user, but the ThinkPad T420s is almost beyond superlatives
The ThinkPad T420, T420s and ThinkPad T520 with the wonderful keyboard, immense durability and superb ergonomics and enterprise level features support again raise the bench mark for business notebooks. Its now almost impossible to envisage any other manufacturer equaling what the 2011 T Series achieves.
Combine that with the sheer power of the new Intel Sandy Bridge Architecture, the NVIDIA Optimus Graphics and the outstanding battery life, and the new 2011 T Series ThinkPad’s are a real game changer
So the waiting is over! The ThinkPad T420s and T420 together with the ThinkPad T520 will be on sale from we believe the 1st March. The pricing in the USA will start at $1399 for the ThinkPad T420s, and $1029 and $999 for the new ThinkPad T420 and ThinkPad T520. There has never been a better time to buy a new ThinkPad!
ThinkPad T420s Review