Updated Thinkpad T420 Review – OutStanding value! Fall 2011

October 11, 2011

Thinkpad T420 Updated 2011 ReviewIn our first ThinkPad T420 review we were impressed with the outstanding increases in performance over the older ThinkPad T410. What impressed us most about the new ThinkPad T420 was the increase in power with the new Intel Sandy Bridge processors, and an overall increase in graphics performance without loss of battery life.

In fact the ThinkPad T420 will give you close to a claimed 15 hours of  battery life with the 9 cell installed, or an amazing 30 hours with the  ‘slice’ battery.

So let’s take a close look at the ThinkPad T420 line up for fall 2011. First  of the ThinkPad T420i gets a new Core i3 processor, in the form of the 2.3  GHz i3 2350M with 3MB of L3 cache. Slated for release in Q3 2011, Lenovo has been quick to get this new chip into the ThinkPad T Series range.

Intel Mobile Core i3-2350M is a dual-core chip for middle power notebooks and of course is based on the new established and stable Sandy Bridge architecture. With 2 cores, a GPU, Memory controller and PCI Express the i3-2350M runs at 2.3 GHz which is 100 MHz up on the 2330M, and 200 MHz quicker than the  2310M. The GPU is HD-capable and also supports 3D acceleration and   Hyper-Threading which should boost processor performance considerably.

Using Enhanced SpeedStep technology which lowers core voltage and should play a part in increased battery life over previous Core i3 offerings.

Processor upgrades for the ThinkPad T420i are limited to the Core i5 2430M running at 2.40GHz

Thinkpad T420Options include HD+ 1600 x 900 Resolution LED Display, up to 8 GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz Memory across 2 DIMM’s, Finger Print Reader, up to  a 500 GB 7200rpm Hard Disk Drive or the sublime Intel 160 GB SSD Drive, you  can also specify the 9 cell Li-Ion Battery plus the usual host of WiFi and  broadband options. Intel HD 3000 Graphics, brings more than acceptable performance unless you’re a hard core gamer. A 720p HD Camera come as standard.

Overall the new incarnation of the ThinkPad T420i for fall 2011 is an excellent offering from Lenovo and a great choice if you’re looking to fit yourself out with a T Series on a budget!

Way out at the other end of the scale comes the ThinkPad T420 with the Core i7-2620M Chip running at 2.70GHz sporting 4MB L3 Cache. Fit this one out  with the NVIDIA NVS 4200M Graphics with Optimus Technology with 1GB DDR3  Memory onboard, upgrade your system memory to 8 GB DDR3 and you’ve got  yourself a real mobile powerhouse, that’s going to keep you working most of  the day.

Once you have the ThinkPad T420 fitted out with the specifications of your choice, you’re really going to have the pinnacle of business notebooks to  work with.

We fitted ours out as follows

ThinkPad T420 Specifications – Fall 2011

ThinkPad T420 with NVIDA OptimusIntel Core i7-2620M 2.70GHz Processor with 4MB L3 Cache with Windows 7 Pro  64 installed so we can run 8GB memory – 1600 x 900 Resolution LED Backlit  Display with Anti-Glare 14″ with its Lenovo HD+ designation, NVIDIA NVS 4200M Optimus Graphics with 1GB DDR3 Memory – 8 GB PC3 DDR3 SDRAM  – Fingerprint reader – 720p High Definition Web cam – 500 GB 7200rpm Hard  Disk Drive – DVD Optical Drive – 4 in 1 Card and Smart Card Reader – 9 cell  Li-Ion Battery – Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205, and an accessories I won’t  personally do without, the ThinkPad Mini Dock Plus Series 3 which runs at  170W to give increased power for higher end graphics cards.

Total price for this souped up T420 rig as of October 11th ’11 is a wallet  melting $2579, however, with the current online sale and the relevant  ThinkPad T420 Coupon, we can bring this down to a very respectable $$1682

The reason for choosing the 500GB drive over an SSD option is capacity. we have long had the promise from Lenovo of a real Hybrid drive solution,  with all the benefits of a spinning drive for capacity and a small MSata  drive piggybacked for Rapid Boot. This has been a promise since CES 2011, and again at CES 2011, but we are yet to see it. So what about it Lenovo?

The ThinkPad T420 though, like all T Series, goes beyond mere performance and iconic looks. the build quality is superb, the keyboard is simply  outstanding  and a great deal of thought has been put into the ergonomics and  features that make a corporate notebooks users life so much easier.

Features like ‘Instant Resume’ which keeps you connected as you roam and enhanced audio conferencing features with talk and type noise reduction function keys for when on a VIOP call.

So here we are in late 2011 and we ponder if this is a good time to buy a ThinkPad T420 with the advent of Ivy Bridge and the rumored release of the ThinkPad T430. One thing’s for sure, we won’t be seeing Ivy Bridge till at least April  2011, which probably means we will be seeing a new Ivy Bridge equipped T  Series and subsequently ThinkPad T430 around late April to early May.

Our opinion? Don’t wait. The current ThinkPad T420 and in fact the whole T Series range is outstanding and Lenovo have done an excellent job of bringing together all the features of the classic ThinkPad and engineering them into a remarkable range of notebooks.

Whilst it still retains all the features and subtleties that we love, the modern ThinkPad has suddenly become sleek, stylish, and dare we say sexy? It is difficult to comprehend sometimes that the ThinkPad X1 and the new Android ThinkPad Tablet come from the same lineage as the A Series and the legacy T Series like the T60!

Lenovo has done a remarkable job of defending the ThinkPad design legacy whilst bringing us a modern technology classic.

The purpose of this updated ThinkPad T420 Review is really to illustrate what a superb business notebook the T Series is. If you’re looking for a new notebook right now then the 2011/2012 ThinkPad T420 is the undisputed class leader.

ThinkPad T420 Video

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5 Responses to “Updated Thinkpad T420 Review – OutStanding value! Fall 2011”

  1. hieulam on October 16th, 2011 10:13 am

    Hi Ian,
    How about the T420 LCD quality ? Is there any improvement or it’s just a mediocre screen as many people complain ?

  2. Ian Orford on October 17th, 2011 6:58 pm

    Personally hieulam, we love the screen, especially the HD+ screen at the higher resolution of 1600×900. For a 14″ business orientated notebook is great. However, if your really looking for an outstanding screen, then you should go for the full blown 15.6″ FHD 1920 x 1080 Resolution LED Backlit Anti-Glare Display on the latest ThinkPad T520, its awesome! See our latest ThinkPat T520 Review, cheers, Ian

  3. | ThinkPad on October 21st, 2011 2:48 pm

    [...] PostsCommentsTop ThinkPad Coupons ThinkPad T420sThinkPad W520Top ThinkPad NewsThinkPad T520ThinkPad T Series, ThinkPad T420 [...]

  4. Jay Ringold on December 23rd, 2011 12:29 pm

    Thanks Ian for the advice on the T 520. Still, those of us who want a lighter laptop will be delighted if Lenovo goes back to using non-reflective hi nit screens instead of gorilla glass screens that are virtually impossible to see outdoors and even difficult in various indoor settings. Amidst the various technological changes, the keyboard and screen are the most important features for people who use their computers for long hours. You folks have great keyboards, but other companies like Samsung and Sony are outpacing you on screens. I hope you catch up with your T430 and T430S and release them soon! Best wishes, J

  5. Save $605 with this Lenovo ThinkPad T420 Coupon Code on March 3rd, 2012 11:48 am

    [...] There are 4 different ThinkPad T420 builds available for this March Sale. The base model comes with the Intel Core i3-2350M Processor (3M Cache, 2.30 GHz), the 64 bit Windows 7 Premium, 14″ HD display found in all Thinkpad T420 version, an Intel 3000 Graphics card, 4GB DDR3 RAM and a 320GB hard drive. You can also upgrade to a faster processor, a solid state hard drive and a much better graphics card. See our Thinkpad T420 Review. [...]

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