ThinkPad T420 vs T420s head to head comparison.
March 5, 2012
It shouldn’t be a match up since these two are so different, but a lot of people cross shop these two laptops to figure out which one they want. So let’s compare, ThinkPad T420 vs T420s, which is the right fit for you and your lifestyle?
Well the first thing you’ll look at is most likely the price. The ThinkPad T420 has the MSRP of $1,325 and the T420s has the MSRP of $1,965. No brainer right? After all, $640 is quite a bit more than the price of T420. But that’s before you apply the coupons. Just use our ThinkPad Coupons page, to take off 40-50% off MSRP. After coupons, the price of the Thinkpad T420 comes down to ~$720 and the price of the Thinkpad T420s, comes down to ~$1100.
That’s a difference of around $400…which you can save, or you can use the money to spec out the T420 to be a bit more high end.
So what are the core differences in the Thinkpad T420 vs T420s comparison?
The main difference of the T420s is that it’s slimmer(that’s what the s stands for). So it’s lighter(by half a pound), and not as bulky(by half an inch). It might not sound like much, but it makes a huge difference in the look and feel of the laptop. Unfortunately, being slim will cost you a few extra ports…but unless you are using your laptop as a gaming PC, that shouldn’t matter. Overall the slim design is worth it for those of you who tend to travel a lot. You can see just how much slimmer it is in the following image.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the slim design of the T420s also limits you in battery power. The T420 can use the 9 cell battery($50 upgrade) that gets you 4.5 hours of work(although it’ll stick out a bit from the back), while the T420s is limited to the 6 cell battery, which only gets you 3.5 hours of work. But you can always invest into buying a backup battery to double your “range”.
On the plus side, the T420s brings something you can’t get with the T420. The USB 3.0 port. For the non-techies reading this, it means that when you use a USB stick/drive, the files will play and transfer much faster. So how much faster is USB 3.0 vs USB 2.0? Quite a bit…the USB 3.0 is supposed to be 10x as fast. But what is it like in the real world? Here are a few test cases:
- 500 Photos from your latest vacation: USB 2.0 = 1m 12s / USB 3.0 = 23s
- 1.4GB movie = USB 2.0 = 3m 7s/ USB 3.0 = 55s
- 10 GB worth of files for backing up your HD: USB 2.0 = 22m 14s / USB 3.0 = 6m 31s
As you can see the difference is quite big, and it makes a huge improvement for user experience, since you no longer have to wait for things to transfer.
So what about the rest of the setup? Well the $1,099 T420s comes with:
- Intel Core i3-2350M Processor (2.30 GHz, 3MB L3) – plenty for work/internet…struggles a bit with high end games
- 14.0 HD+ (1600 x 900) LED Backlit Antiglare Display
- 1GB Graphics Card – more than enough
- 4 GB DDR3 – 1333MHz (1 DIMM)
- 320 GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm
So we covered the T420s in our Thinkpad T420 vs T420s head to head comparison. So what about the T420?
The $730 T420 comes with pretty much the exact same setup as the $1,099 T420s…the only major difference is that it uses the 1366 x 768 resolution, and has a slightly worse graphics card(which shouldn’t matter, unless you plan to play a lot of games) and of course, it limits you to only using the USB 2.0.
For those who want to spend the $400 difference on upgrades, you can pick a slightly higher end T420 build for $1,034(after coupons). Which will get you the same resolution as the T420s, the same 1GB graphics card. And will get you a bigger hard drive(500GB instead of 320) and a better processor(2.5ghz vs 2.3 ghz).
Is it worth it? To be honest, no. If you are going to spend that much, you should just go with the T420s. Otherwise it probably makes more sense to just get the $730 build and then pick the $50 option to upgrade the resolution.
So to sum up. When comparing ThinkPad T420 vs T420s, the T420s is the obvious choice for the price…but if you don’t care about being slim, the T420 works just fine as well, and will save you quite a bit of money in the process. To save more, don’t forget to check our ThinkPad Coupons page for the latest coupons.