Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420 Review


The Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420 is a new 14” screen laptop that comes equipped with the latest 2nd generation Intel Core i3 and i5 processors.  The ThinkPad Edge E420 is very competitively priced starting at $549 and is targeted at small business buyers, but can easily serve well as a student laptop given the similar needs between these two customer sets.  While the ThinkPad T420 I recently reviewed is a higher end and more expensive 14” screen laptop, the Edge E420 is a close cousin and has many of the same configuration options.  The Edge E420 differs most from the T420 in terms of design and build.  We’ll cover those differences in this review and evaluate whether the E420 makes a good option for a student laptop.

ThinkPad Edge E420 Review

Before commencing with the review, here are the full specs for the E420 as purchased for review:

Edge E420 Specs as reviewed:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2410M 2.30GHz
  • Screen: 14.0” 1366 x 768 screen with anti-glare
  • OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Memory: 4GB RAM
  • Storage: 320GB 7200RPM hard drive
  • Graphics: Intel HD 3000 graphics
  • Optical Drive:  Multi-Recorder DVD/CD
  • Battery: 6- cell lithium ion
  • Wireless: 802.11 b/g/n
  • Ports: VGA monitor out, HDMI, Ethernet port, microphone / speaker combo jack, 4 x USB 2.0 ports (1 powered, 1 USB/eSata combo), 4-in-1 card reader, 34mm ExpressCard slot
  • Weight: 4.6lbs
  • Dimensions: 13.34” x 9.05” x 1.10 – 1.29”
  • Warranty: 1-year standard

The Edge E420 was ordered direct from Lenovo.com during a sale event, the price was $539.10 before any taxes.  Shipping was free.  The purchase process is pretty straight forward at the newly redesigned Lenovo.com, I might add I like the new design they’ve applied to the site, it’s much fresher looking and easier to navigate now:

ThinkPad Edge E420 order page

The E420 was ordered on June 3rd and delivered just 10-days later on June 13th. That’s pretty impressive fulfillment time for a custom configured laptop with standard free shipping.

Below is a picture of the ThinkPad E420 packaging it arrived in and then the unboxing:

ThinkPad E420 boxThinkPad E420 box open ThinkPad E420 unboxed

ThinkPad Edge E420 Vs. ThinkPad Edge E420s Differences

Just to be clear, this review is of the ThinkPad Edge E420 and NOT the ThinkPad Edge E420s, that is a different model laptop although quite similar to the E420 in configuration options.  Some key differences between the E420 and E420s are as follows:

  • The E420s is slimmer, at 0.9” thin to 1.2” thick.  The E420 is 1.10” to 1.29” thick.
  • The E420s weighs less at 4.1lbs versus 4.6lbs for the E420
  • The E420s battery is sealed (cannot be removed and replaced) while the E420 battery can easily be removed and replaced or upgraded to a larger battery
  • The E420s has an Infinity glass display, essentially a design touch that adds an extra layer over the screen to make it look like a single glass panel.
  • The E420s has 3 USB 2.0 ports, the E420 has 3 USB 2.0 ports
  • The E420s has no ExpressCard expansion slot, the E420 has a 34mm ExpressCard expansion slot.
  • The E420s starts at $699 and the E420 starts at $599 (at the time of this writing on Lenovo.com)
  • The E420s uses aluminum and magnesium for some parts of its construction, the E420 does not.

ThinkPad Edge E420 Design and Build

The ThinkPad Edge E420 strives to be a little different from the ThinkPad T420 design wise, but still maintain enough of the same characteristics to make it unmistakably a ThinkPad.  The first difference you’ll notice are the curved edges at the front as the Edge tries to gain a bit of design flair over the standard ThinkPad look.  Also unique is that he “i” in ThinkPad lights up in red, which is either corny or cool depending on your viewpoint.  Upon opening the lid the chiclet keyboard is definitely a non-standard ThinkPad touch you’ll notice but one that’s more common among consumer laptops these days.  It’s certainly a more modern look.  Outside of that the Edge E420 is still all black and uses the same logos as other ThinkPad’s, it has the red pointing stick and red and blue striped mouse buttons common on all ThinkPads.  Bottom line, the E420 won’t be mistaken for a Lenovo IdeaPad laptop and has a professional and classy look but with a bit of an edge (ha).

ThinkPad Edge E420 lid ThinkPad Edge E420 light
ThinkPad Edge E420 ThinkPad Edge E420 bottom

The lid for the Edge E420 has a rubberized texture top to make for easy grip when carrying and a silver plastic trim along the sides of the lid.  When opening the lid there is no latch mechanism to use like you get on regular ThinkPads, you just flip it open.  A nice touch is that when closing the lid it features a soft close hinge.  The hinges themselves are very strong, there is no screen wobble at all and they hold the screen firmly down when closed.

DSC_3155

The ThinkPad Edge E420 is about average in weight for a 14” laptop at 4.6 pounds (4 lbs 10 ounces), the Edge E420s weighs a half pound lighter at 4.1lbs.  It’s actually lighter than the 4.8lb weighted ThinkPad T420 I recently reviewed, this is likely because the T420 uses more metal in the design which thereby makes it more rugged, but at the same time heavier.   The E420 can’t be called a thin and light computer, that’s reserved for laptops around 4lbs or lighter, but it’s still portable and won’t weight down your backpack too much.

ThinkPad Edge E420 Screen

The 14.0” 1366 x 768 Edge E420 screen is definitely not going to provide any wow factor, it’s very average.  Average level brightness, average viewing angles, average screen resolution and average color depth.  This is what you expect in this price range laptop.  The good thing is that the screen is matte instead of glossy, I personally find glossy screens a strain on the eyes after several hours of viewing.  The Edge E420s has an infinity screen that is a somewhat glossy finish, so if you really hate screen reflection the cheaper Edge E420 might actually be preferable for you.

Some different angle pictures of the ThinkPad Edge E420 screen:

Edge E420 screen Edge E420 screen straight on
Edge E420 screen tilted back angle Edge E420 screen tilted forward angle

The Edge E420 has no screen upgrade options, you can choose whether to have a built-in camera at the top of the screen (I did not), but that of course will not affect screen quality.  So if you’re a person that loves higher resolution screens or more expensive IPS technology screens you’ll have to up your budget and look at something like the ThinkPad X220 or ThinkPad W520.

ThinkPad Edge E420 Performance

The performance on the ThinkPad Edge E420 is quite amazing for the price.  Considering you can pay close to $500 and get the latest Intel Core i5 2nd generation processor, a fast 7200RPM spinning hard drive (the fastest hard drive you can buy, only SSD is faster) and ample 4GB of RAM you’ll be more than set for blazing through your everyday school computing tasks.  The Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics will even be good enough to do some gaming, although serious gamers playing the latest 3D based games would need a faster dedicated graphics card not available in the Edge E420.  For 90% of students though, this laptop is going to provide more than enough power and not be outdated 4-years from now as you’re getting the latest processing technology inside.

For those that like to see benchmark scores for an idea of performance, I ran the Windows Experience Index and also PCMark Vantage to give an overall idea:

- A 5.9 score on Windows Experience Index (scores range from 1.0 to 7.9, higher is better).   Each component scores quite impressively, there is no Achilles heel for performance on the E420.

image

- A 6,056 PCMark score, a very good score for this class of laptpop, a comparison chart sourced from laptopmag.com is here for comparison scores to what other laptops in this class range got.  It performed above the category average of 5,457.

image image

You’ll have zero problems multi-tasking and having several browser tabs open with the E420 processing power when equipped with an Intel Core i5.  HD video playback will be excellent, many people mistakenly believe Flash video (which is what a majority of online streaming video sites use) needs a good graphics card to run smoothly, but in fact processing power is more important.

Edge E420 Keyboard and Touchpad

The ThinkPad Edge E420 keyboard uses a chiclet style keyboard, which is quite popular for many laptops today. This is one main difference between the regular ThinkPad and the Edge line, the enterprise targeted ThinkPad’s stick with a trusted and true keyboard design. To be honest, I prefer the regular style ThinkPad keyboard, from time to time I do find myself catching a finger under a key. Since keys have more space and clearance under them with this design I have experienced catching my finger under the “J” key as I move from having pushed the “M” key and move up to pushing the “Y” key. Take a look at the keyboard layout and you might imagine how this happens, it’s a little hard to put in words.

Other than that minor complaint that is related to chiclet keyboards in general, this keyboard is very good. It feels much like a regular ThinkPad keyboard — each key has a nice travel distance and a very solid stroke, there is no flex or “clickety-clack” going on at all. The keyboard allows you to move your fingers fast and the noise is minimal even if you’re a key punishing typist like myself. The PgUp and PgDn keys are ridiculously small and poorly located, there’s no way you’ll be able to use them in a touch type fashion. The top row of function keys are also shrunken to fit the keyboard, this isn’t a big deal but if you’re clumsy or have big paws then it could be irritating to have to peck at such small buttons to adjust things such as volume and screen brightness.

The touchpad on the E420 is very generously sized which is nice for moving the cursor around the screen if you prefer the touchpad over the pointing stick. Personally I prefer the red pointing stick Lenovo puts in the middle of the keyboard, it’s nice to have this feature on a laptop that cost just over $500 – generally it’s reserved for expensive $1,000+ business laptops. Either way, having multiple methods of mouse input means you can choose which works best for you and that’s a plus. The touchpad and mouse buttons overall work great, the touchpad offers scrolling and zooming gestures. The only minor knock I can give is that the two mouse buttons below the touchpad are rather chintzy – use the red striped buttons above the touchpad and you’re set as they’re excellent and easy to reach while touch typing.

ThinkPad E420 Battery Life

You can configure the Edge E420 with either a 6-cell or 9-cell battery, I went with the 6-cell.  It’s nice to know you can upgrade the battery or buy a replacement down the road if you want, the Edge E420s has a sealed battery like the MacBook Pro so you cannot upgrade or easily replace the battery.

Using a battery rundown test in which I opened a browser window and set the browser to refresh every 60 seconds, set the screen brightness to an above medium setting (7/12), left wi-fi on and set the power usage to “Maximum Battery Life” in the software settings I got 4 hours and 9 minutes of battery life.  This is a decent battery life amount, in a more demanding scenario in which screen brightness is cranked all the way up and you’re downloading a lot of files or watching video you’ll probably end up with closer to just over 3 hours of battery life.

If you get the 9-cell battery you can assume you’d get around 6-hours of battery life.

ThinkPad E420 Input and Output Ports

The input and output ports you get on a laptop is of course an important aspect.  The E420 has a generous array of ports that will fulfill most student needs.  We’ll take a tour around the E420 and detail what port is located where:

ThinkPad Edge E420 left side

On the left side you get a VGA monitor out port, 3 USB 2.0 ports one of which is a combo eSata / USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port, headphone/microphone combo port and media card reader slot.

ThinkPad Edge E420 back side

On the back of the laptop you just get an Ethernet port, it is Gigabit enabled

 

ThinkPad Edge E420 right side

On the right side you get a 34mm ExpressCard slot for expansion, 1 USB 2.0 port that is powered so you can charge devices such as a SmartPhone via USB even when the laptop is turned off.  The powerjack is on the back right side.  Notice the optical drive is here on the right side too.

 

ThinkPad Edge E420 front side

There are no ports located on the front of the Edge E420, the forward facing speakers are located here

The only thing I can think that some people might miss is having a USB 3.0 port as that’s the latest and greatest in USB technology.  However, having an eSata port will allow for fast data transfer with external storage devices and the HDMI port will give you fast video output transfer so for most this port selection will suffice.

ThinkPad Edge E420 Heat & Noise

The Edge E420 uses a large vent on the back left side and since this isn’t an extremely thin laptop there’s plenty of ventilation for the components inside which results in an overall cool running laptop and legs that remain burn free.  The fan rarely came on during normal everyday usage, so you won’t have problems with being that person in the classroom with a laptop that distracts everyone due to its noise.

ThinkPad Edge E420 Review Conclusion

If you’re on a budget, as a majority of students are, then the Edge E420 with its quality build and latest Intel processor technology is a great buy in the mid $500 range.  As a student it doesn’t make sense to buy a $2,000 laptop that may or may not survive the rigors of 4-years on campus, after all it’s a lot of money to replace a $2,000 laptop if it gets stolen (common on college campuses) or simply gets used and abused so much it breaks down on you.  The E420 is simply a practical laptop for those on a budget but who still want something that’s going to last and won’t be outdated technology wise in two years.  Even though it’s a little more modern with its design than the classic ThinkPad, it’s still probably not going to turn heads in public.  If you want something more flashy looking you’ll likely need to look at a consumer and not business targeted laptop, but then you lose the advantage you get with build quality and support offered by business class laptops.  It’s really up to the individual as to what’s more important to you in a laptop, but if you’re a practically minded person looking to get the most for your money and don’t need something terribly flashy then the ThinkPad Edge E420 should be on your short list of laptops to consider for school.

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111 Responses to Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420 Review

  1. Nick June 18, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    What a fantastic and informative review! Seriously one of the best I’ve found. Its so hard to actually find a review that points out ALL the differences between the regular model and the “s”. My college offers a choice between last years Macbook, an edge E420 with the base i3 processor (other wise same config as yours, 4gb ram, integrated on-die gpu, etc…), or a T420 with the same config BUT an i5. I am REALLLLLY torn between my options. I am definitely not getting the mac…so its either an edge with a slightly weaker processor, or a big “ugly” ..heavier yet more powerful i5 equipped T420. Any suggestions? I really don’t want to carry around a heavy brick all the time…the lighter I go, the better…but I wonder if the added performance of the i5 is worth the extra weight (literally).

    Thanks for your input!

    • AJ June 18, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

      Thanks Nick. If the pricing is the same between the T420 and the E420 (or they’re included in cost of school) I would go with the T420 simply because the Core i5-2410m supports Turbo Boost while no Core i3 processor does — turbo boost allows overclocking of the standard speed and could come in handy down the road if you need boosted performance with some software. The T420 is also going to be a bit more durable, at the expense of being heavier of course. However, the weight difference between the E420 and T420 is only a few ounces and nothing drastic. Now, if you have to pay more for the T420 and it’s a significant price difference (over $200 say) then I’d probably go for the E420, especially if you prefer the design more. Good luck!

    • Calvin October 11, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

      Honestly the best of both worlds is the x220. It’s small (12.5 inch), but big enough for people with gorilla hands like myself. It’s capable of having an i7 also (I have i5). It is really ideal, fast, and really not to bad looking.

      It’s about 3lbs to carry around as well

      Go for it :)

  2. Eric June 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    Great review! I was looking into getting a Lenovo, either a Thinkpad E420 or Ideapad Z370. I’m leaning towards the former, but have read some comments that the build quality was subpar (full plastic construction, flexing, etc). Did you happen to find this to be the case?

    Also, I had thought the ThinkLight (red glowing i-dot) was only limited to the E420s? I was originally slightly disappointed after hearing this, but from your images it seems the palmrest logo does appear to light up. Does your cover ThinkPad logo have the light as well?

    • AJ June 20, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

      hey Eric, thanks. I would disagree that the build quality was subpar, yes it uses plastic for a lot of the construction but it did not feel flimsy to me and I found no point in particular that suffered from flexing. If you push hard anywhere of course there will be give, but it takes a lot of force. The red glowing dot did light up on the lid as well yes.

  3. Ben June 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    Hey AJ,

    Thanks for the review, I just purchased on of these from TigerDirect (link below) for $549 + $9 shipping with the following spec changes from your configuration. I think its a steal for my grad student needs.

    Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420 1141-57U Notebook PC:
    Intel Core i3-2310M 2.10GHz
    4GB DDR3 RAM
    500GB 7200 RPM HDD
    Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
    Bluetooth 3.0
    Integrated Webcam

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=554282&sku=T70-140027

    • AJ June 21, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

      Thanks Ben. I agree, that’ll suit most student needs nicely and the web cam is one thing I think most people should go for, at some point you’ll need it even if you don’t regularly Skype etc. Nice size HD too and the 7200RPM speed is noticeable in helping bootup speed. Hope it works out for you!

  4. Yahya June 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    Hey AJ, Really great informative review. I can see that E420s can accommodate an i5 2410M 2.33 can be boosted to 2.9 GHz. I think it gives the Edge advantage over T420, with the E420 out running the Ts in HDD, RAM, weight and size. While the T420 still out runs the Es in durability, battery life, mobile broadband and a bit in processor’s frequency but for an extra price of 150$. Do you think that T420 is still the better choice if still covered by my budget?

    • AJ June 27, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

      hi Yahya, for the difference of $150 when you’re spending around $800 for a laptop is about 20%, so the question is will the T420 be 20% better than the E420? Not really is my answer, especially if you’re getting better technical specs (though not build) with the E420. The Core i5-2410m is a great processor option because as you say it can be overclocked if necessary, which the Core i3 cannot, so it’s totally worth upgrading too.

  5. Zaerru July 8, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Hey so I just configured one of these, but it’s a 750 gig 5400rpm instead, only option. I upgraded to the i5. And added on bluetooth, because heck, it’s cheap, why not. (Same with 9-cell).

    But I was wondering, I’m going into 12th grade now, and do you think this would be ‘future-proof’ enough to go threw 12th and through 4 or so years of college? I don’t know whether I should just hold out for next Summer to buy for college with Windows 8 and better processors and all. (Especially with things changing like with Solid State and all)

    Any advice? Thanks man, awesome review, been a lot of help already.

    • AJ July 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

      Zaerru, it’s tough deciding whether to buy now or wait for newer technology. It’s guaranteed that 1-year from any time you buy something new will be out that’s slightly better. The question you have to really ask is can you use the laptop (E420 in this case) for the next year and be more productive and happy than the alternative of just using whatever you have now. Think about it in terms of buying a digital camera, you can wait a year for newer and better technology, but think about all those pictures and memories you might lose during that year of waiting, is it worth it? Senior year is important, you can take AP classes and get a jump on college by earning credits so don’t dismiss this year as being any less important than the 4-years you’ll spend in college. If buying the E420 now will help you with your school work this year, it’s probably wise to buy now. Whether a laptop will last 5-years is a tough call, it depends on how you treat it and how much you use it. If you put it in a sleeve and keep it well protected, use it on flat surfaces most of the time and don’t drop/toss it around while in your backpack it then it’s possible for it to last 5-years. Good luck with your decision!

    • Zaerru July 10, 2011 at 12:46 am #

      I pulled the trigger and ordered it, I feel like it was a good choice, because I’ll have it a year before college I’ll have time to customize it and get comfortable and not be fumbling with it as I enter college. Plus, more time to enjoy it.

      It’s amazing that at a 699.99 configuration is better than the cheapest Macbook Pro, (1,199.99). Same processor, same graphics card, same RAM, same speed of hard drive, but more gigs. 500 less dollars for equivalent or better? Cool with me. (especially since the battery is accessible and such.)

      But anyways, I just wanted to thank you on your thorough response and how quick it was! If I had any money left I’d donate to this site, and very well may down the road. Thanks a bunch.

  6. eRok July 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Hi, I’m actually in the same exact boat as Zaerru, and on top of asking that same question, I was also wondering which edge laptop you prefer more. (e420 vs e420s).. I noticed that on your “best 2011 laptops” article, you included the e420s and not the e420. Was there a reason that you chose that model?

    I read that the e420s is made with more metal and less plastic, and also that the hinges are metal as well. But, I don’t like the fact that the battery can not be replaced/upgraded. Which is better?

    Thanks!

    • AJ July 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

      hey eRok, I need to update the best laptops 2011 article (which will be done this weekend) to include the E420 as well. At the time I had not used the E420 and thought the E420s would be superior due to the lighter weight and thinner design. Personally I also hate the idea of a sealed battery and also prefer a matte screen and so I’d go with the E420, the fact it’s cheaper also makes me lean that direction. Now, the E420s does have some features that others would say are more important of course, there is more metal in the construction which theoretically makes it more durable (we can’t do drop tests to prove that, but on paper it’s the case), the E420s design is also nicer with the infinite glass screen cover and thinner design. But some complain that the glossy infinite screen makes viewing tougher, so there’s a pro and a con to that feature.

    • eRok July 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

      Hi, thank you so much for the help. So, I just discovered something magical that you should know. I went to the lenovo website, and under the search bar, I put “student discount.” It then showed me a link called Lenovo Student, and that took me to a page where it asks what college you go to, and it’s ok if its not listed. After that, I went to the next step, and Lenovo is offering amazing discounts. Right now, as of this moment, the starting price for a Thinkpad T420 is only $605! Please take a look.

    • AJ July 8, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

      ha ha, yeah, I should make sure to link to the article I wrote about the Lenovo student discount from any review. It’s been around for some time, here’s the article I wrote about it: http://www.studentbuyingguide.com/2008/04/lenovo-student-discount/ They have better prices indeed, sometimes there are coupon codes that work better and that can’t be used on the Student discount area though. Right now there’s a $50 off coupon for the E420 you can use: EDGESAVE50 (expires on 7/10) and there’s a 10% off coupon for the T420: USPTXSAVINGS (expires on 7/13). Again, those coupons don’t work on top of the student discount, just the regular Lenovo.com, just compare and see what deals you can get.

    • eRok July 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

      Thank you for the help. I just have one more question. My eyes are set on either the edge e420 and the t420. In the long run, I would like to know which you would say is worth more. The e420 is cheaper, which allows me to spend the money that is left on upgrading specs such as the proccessor and battery. The t420 is more expensive, not leaving me much room for upgrading, but it is built better and has much better battery life with just the standard 6 cell battery.

      If you were in my shoes, which laptop would you buy? Do you think I should buy the cheaper edge, where I can upgrade it..or do you think I should buy the more expensive t420 which seems to be more built to last? I’m hoping to have a laptop, that will last me through my last year of high school and hopefully through college. (Or most of college..) Thanks.

    • AJ July 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

      It’s good that you’re not just focusing on price but on value in the long run. If you have the money and can afford the T420 with decent specs now (at least Core i5-2410m processor or above) then it is built to last and will have a better chance of still serving you well 5-years from now. Also, the ThinkPad T-series holds its value well so if you say decided to sell it on eBay 4-years from now you would still be able to sell it for a decent price. The T series is also bought a lot by enterprise customers (think IBM, American Express — big company buyers) so Lenovo will have to keep upgrade parts around for several years to keep those companies happy so that’s a plus.

  7. Jeff July 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    Hi, is there a slice battery for this edge series? The reason I’m asking is because on the picture you took of the lenovo website page, it says “up to six hours battery life with slice battery.” But, I can’t find a slice battery for the edge series anywhere. Do you think it was a typo?

    • AJ July 9, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

      hey Jeff, nice catch on noticing that reference to the slice battery for the E420, however that’s an error on the Lenovo.com site at the time or something, the E420 does not support an add on slice battery, the ThinkPad T420 does though.

  8. Netsman July 10, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    Great review! Im a student and have just a couple of questions. I’m deciding between the 420 and the 420s and I’m leaning towards the 420 due to the antiglare screen. I’m upgrading to i5 as well. Should I get the 9-cell battery? Will it add too much extra bulk(making the laptop over 5 lbs)? Will it cause heat issues? And I know you said about 6 hrs, but is that accurate?
    Finally, I was wondering why there was a difference in the performance benchmarks between the 420 and the 420s and was it significant?
    Thanks!

    • AJ July 10, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

      thanks Netsman, the 9-cell is a $50 upgrade right now. To get the 6-hour estimate I did some crude math estimating it’s about 2-hours of battery per 3-cells so that gives you 6-hours for the 9-cell. I think it’s actually conservative and you’d probably get a bit over 6 hours. Now, is it worth a $50 upgrade considering it also adds weight? Depends on your personal usage, frankly if you just don’t know if you’ll need that battery life I’d save my money and then if in a year you decide a 9-cell is useful purchase that battery then — or ask for it as a holiday gift etc. (yeah, exciting gift I know). eBay can often be a great place to find cheaper battery replacements and upgrades than via Lenovo.com where they often mark up significantly.

      For the performance difference numbers on Futuremark between the E420 and E420s, it’s only around 200 points which is off by about 3% so I wouldn’t worry about it, there’s no way you’d notice that difference. The benchmark numbers for the E420s came from the laptopmag review of the e420s and they may have uninstalled some software to get better results. http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptops/lenovo-thinkpad-edge-e420s.aspx

    • netsman2415 July 11, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

      Ok, thanks a lot for the help man!

    • Jackson D. August 29, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

      I am in grade 11 and I have been using an old X61 for 4 years and I think it is time to upgrade to a more modern laptop, as the 2.1 GHz Core 2 Duo is starting to show its age. I had pretty negative experience with ThinkPad batteries, which lose capacity severely over time(my X61 lasts barely 5 minutes). I am deciding between an Apple MacBook Pro and the ThinkPad E420. I know they are lightyears away from eAch other in terms of price range, but I really loved Mac OS X lion and the solid unibody construction on the MBP. but it is indeed quite expensive for it’s specs. I am not surewhat to get now :(

    • Andrew August 30, 2011 at 6:55 am #

      hey Jackson, 4-years old for a laptop is about as long as they tend to last so the X61 has done well. Batteries generally need replacing after 2-years so that’s not unusual for the X61 battery to be virtually useless at this point. Sounds like you want the MBP, you are eligible for the Apple Academic Discount which would knock $100 off the price of a MBP, but it’s still expensive and buying from Amazon might still be cheaper as they charge no tax. You could also check out refurbished MacBooks at Apple to save a little money, but they’re still pricey :( Or, you could go with the ThinkPad Edge E420 for half the price, it’s a great laptop in and of itself, just can’t run Mac OS X, and then in a couple of years when you go to graduate ask for an MBP from some generous family member as a graduation gift :D Seriously though, the E420 is a practical choice and it’s not worth going in to debt and paying financing on a credit card if you can’t afford the MBP at this point. If you can afford the MBP but would have to sacrifice on purchasing some other things to get it, well, it’s a great laptop and it sounds like that’s what will make you most happy but deciding whether it’s worth taking up such a large part of your budget is a personal decision.

  9. Scott July 17, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Andrew:
    What a fantastic service you provide for those of us who are trying to make an informed decision. Thanks.
    I just bought one of these bad boys for my daughter (H.S.Sr.) to use in college. Seemed like a heck of a deal for an i5 at $449 (Office Depot online)
    Re: Bluetooth. My configuration does not come with it. Why would I need it? If it is necessary, can I add it later as a hardwired adapter? I know there are BT USB adapters as well.
    Your thoughts on this are appreciated.

    • Andrew July 17, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

      thanks Scott for the feedback and I think that’s a great choice and deal you got on the E420 at Office Depot, can’t believe that offer they have going right now. As far as Bluetooth goes, it has been around for sometime but has never really become a huge hit among consumers. Bluetooth is basically a short distance wireless technology that is designed to make it easy to do peer to peer connections among computers and peripherals. For instance, some printers, smartphones, mice and remote controls use Bluetooth wireless. You can communicate and exchange files with devices using Bluetooth — some cars even have Bluetooth now and you can use it to make hands free calls on your phone using the car dashboard. As far as installing Bluetooth after market, yes you can easily do it using a micro USB stick such as this Kensington one for $10: http://www.amazon.com/Kensington-K33902US-Bluetooth-Micro-Adapter/dp/B000YA1XU2 it’s a very small adapter that goes right into a USB port and you never have to take it out. If you want to install Bluetooth inside it’s a little more work, possibly a lot more, you’d have to find a “tear down” guide for the laptop you own and order the right Bluetooth module and install it correctly and then get the correct drivers installed. At the end of the day it’s easier just to buy a $10 USB solution.

    • Scott July 17, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

      Re: the deal at Office Depot. I spoke too soon.
      After reading the fine print on the rebate form, it said for “post-secondary” student. My high school student did not qualify (I called Office Depot to give them a chance to allow it, but no luck), so cancelled the order.
      Then called Lenovo to see if they could match the Office Depot deal after rebate, but they couldn’t come close.
      Will probably try to pick up a Dell when they discount them.
      At least I know more about Bluetooth technology than I did before.
      Thanks again.

    • SSS July 17, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

      Is your daughter in-between senior year and college, or is she on her way to college in a couple of months? The rebate says you can use an acceptance letter in lieu of a college ID

    • Scott July 18, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

      Daughter will graduate HS spring 2012, so no acceptance letters yet. Thanks for mentioning that possibility.

  10. Oren July 19, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Thanks for the great review. Just curious about upgrading RAM. If I increase the RAM to 8GB, what kind of improvement will I see in the performance? Will a RAM upgrade also improve graphics? 1 additional question is for $20 less, do you go for a 500GB 7200 HD or pay up for 750GB 5400 HD? IS there a significant difference is speed? I purchased the webspecial from Lenovo a couple days back with a 750 5400 hard drive. Not sure if I can still change the drive to a 7200 speed, but should I try?
    Thanks.

    • Andrew July 19, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

      hi Oren, 4GB is a decent amount of RAM, 6GB is probably optimal and 8GB is for most people overkill and unnecessary. Very few applications you use on a laptop gobble up a lot of RAM, servers on the other hand such as those that run big databases can easily use as much RAM as you can throw at them. Basically I would say that an upgrade to 6GB is what you should aim for if you want to. It could help graphics a bit as the Integrated graphics does borrow directly from the shared memory (Integrated graphics card means it doesn’t have its own dedicated memory) but it’s not going to be a big difference. I do prefer going for the faster hard drive over bigger size, to me speed is more important and 7200RPM can help you bootup a few seconds faster. However, if you ordered a web special I believe they are generally set configurations and can’t be configured so you might just have to go with what you’ve got. You can always upgrade the hard drive by replacing it later on if you want to, unlike a processor or graphics card the memory and hard drive are generally easy to replace.

  11. Jon July 23, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    I bought this laptop in May, for 529.99 in the lowest configuration possible. Yes it is missing Bluetooth, but its something I don’t use, and a nearly microscopic 2$ usb dongle can add this feature should I ever need it. I was coming from a much older Dell product, which had a track stick that I became very comfortable and fast with, this E420 was the only product in this price range with a track-stick. One disappointment for me was lack of USB 3.0, however, again nothing for this price range (except dell vostro which doesnt have the trackstick) has it. Build quality wise, it feels well built, with the exception of the plastic around the dvd rom clicking/popping when you grab the computer from the right side. Don’t be fooled, this is no proper thinkpad with a rollcage. Still MUCH better than junk sold at Best buy in this price range. I would have to say that the screen is the biggest disappointment. Mine has the matte finish, but I find that the colours leave A LOT to be desired. Side by side with my much older notebook, the Lenovo’s screen is the loser. I find that the blacks are washed out to a satiny grey. This effect is compounded with a Gloss finish, so beware if you’re looking at one of those. All in all this computer will get the job done, and has more than ample power at a good point. A good on the go laptop, but not something I would want to use as a full desktop replacement.

    • Andrew July 23, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

      Great feedback Jon, can’t argue with any of your points there on the E420. I haven’t found any 14-inch laptop with a really good screen on the market right now, seems like you have to move up to 15″ to get that, so the E420 isn’t really a whole lot different to the competition there. The trackstick is important to me too, can’t believe Dell left it off the Vostro.

  12. Alex July 25, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    Great review, really professional and insightful.
    Personally I’m trying to decide between the e420 and e420s, the big trade-off as I’m seeing it is the battery vs. the design.
    If I get the e420 I would definitely go for the 9 cell battery option because its offered, helps a lot that it is removable too. On the other side, I really love the slim design of the e420s, not to mention it seems more durable with the metal too. However, its the battery life that I’m worried about on the e420s, I’m not sure if only 4-cells will be enough.
    Do you have any thoughts on the decision or anything you’ve heard about how bad the battery really is on the e420s?? Thanks!!

    • Andrew July 25, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

      hey Alex, most people have been reporting around 5 hours of battery life on the E420s that I have seen. That includes anecdotal reports from forums and professional reviews, so it’s probably about right. I consider 5 hours good. However, in 2-years time that will be greatly reduced as the battery wears and you’ll have to pay a lot to get the battery replaced. It will also mean shipping it to a Lenovo service center and paying them to do it. I hate the idea of that personally, but obviously all those people buying MacBook Pros are ok with it so I may be a minority. If you’re ok with the idea of having to rely on a service center to replace the battery when it is worn down then I think the E420s is a good choice for you — if the design is appealing and portability is a major factor for you then by all means it’s the better of the two. However, if battery upgrade/replacement potential and matte screen are important factors then the E420 might be better. I’ll mention the ThinkPad T420s as an option for you too, I know it’s a whole lot more expensive than either the E420 or E420s but it offers a slim and light 14″ design and the battery is replaceable plus you can get a “slice” battery to put in the optical drive to help boost battery life.

    • Alex July 26, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

      Andrew,
      Yeah, after looking around more it seems like the battery isn’t as bad as I thought, so I went with the E420s because it just seems like a much better built and a more functional machine. I bought the extended 3yr/battery warranty to be safe though because it wasn’t too expensive.

      With the 10% off coupon that you get by signing up with your email (its very easy and advertised pretty clearly), I was able to get the E420s w/ the i5 processor, 320GB 7200rpm hard drive, the free upgrades until 7/27 to 6GB of ram and Bluetooth, and finally the 3yr depot/battery combo warranty for a grand total of only $808 before taxes.

      Only $800 for all that and a pretty good warranty, was a great deal in my opinion, especially with that 10% off and that free 6gb ram upgrade. Definitely reasonable for a college student like myself. Thanks again for your help.

  13. Nik July 28, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    Can you tell me how much the taxes were?

    • Andrew July 28, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

      It varies by state, for instance Delaware has 0% tax so there’s $0 tax while California taxes are close to 10% so it’d be $50 in taxes on a $500 laptop. The average state tax is around 6% so figure it’s at least +$30 on top of the price.

  14. Paul July 28, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    Hi Andrew,

    Awesome review! Just ordered a E420 for AU$629 (US$ ) with the follwoing spec:

    Intel Core i5-2410M Processor (2.30GHz, Turbo Boost up to 2.9GHz)
    Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit)
    14.0″ HD (1366×768) LED Backlit Display, Anti-Glare, Midnight Black
    AMD Radeon HD 6630M (1GB VRAM, 128-bit GPU, switchable)
    4 GB PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz SODIMM Memory (1 DIMM)
    500GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm
    DVD Recordable
    6 Cell 2.2Ah Li-Ion Battery
    Broadcom Bluetooth 3.0 with antenna
    ThinkPad 1×1 b/g/n

    It would have been $699, but I used the discount code of ‘THINKDO’ to get 10% off.

    I also got a 320gb portable hard drive for $1.

    Amazing deal! Thanks for your review.

    Cheers,
    Paul

    • Andrew July 28, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

      hey Paul, that configuration should work out nicely, not a bad price at all with the AMD Radeon card included for extra graphics power. A $1 for a portable hard drive? That’s cheaper than I can buy a candy bar for these days!

  15. Prashant August 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    HI Andrew,

    thanks for the great review, it helped me in choosing between E420/E420s/T420.
    I spent around 1.5 hrs browsing about these models but this single page was like the ultimate input.

    I just ordered it and I got it for $593 with NC state tax free week and student discount.
    my configuration is as follows:

    Processor

    Intel Core i5-2410M Processor (2.30GHz, 3MB L3)

    Operating system Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64

    Operating system language Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64 English

    Display type 14.0″ W HD (1366×768), AntiGlare, Midnight Black

    System graphics Intel HD Graphics 3000

    Total memory 4 GB DDR3 – 1333MHz (1 DIMM)

    Keyboard Keyboard US English

    Pointing device UltraNav with TrackPoint & touchpad plus Fingerprint reader

    Camera 720p HD Camera

    Hard drive 500 GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm

    Optical device Multi Recorder Optical Drive (12.7mm)

    Battery 6 cell 2.2Ah Li-Ion Battery

    Power cord Country Pack North America with Line cord & 65W AC adapter

    Bluetooth Bluetooth 3.0

    Integrated WiFi wireless LAN adapters ThinkPad b/g/n

    Language pack Language Pack US English

    • Andrew August 7, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

      hey Prashant, that’s a great deal (high five, no taxes!) and you’ve got a nice configuration there. Glad that the info here was so helpful to you! Good luck with your work and studies, hope the E420 works out well for you.

  16. dhruv August 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    i m buying E420 for watchin movies, ssurfing net and working on msoffice.is the following configuration enugh -

    win7 home premium 64 bit
    i3 2.20ghz
    2 gb ram
    320gb hdd 5400rpm ?

    • Andrew August 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

      Yes, that’s enough of a configuration for the tasks you need. I would purchase 2GB of RAM from http://www.newegg.com or http://www.crucial.com after you purchase this, it’s only a $20 upgrade to add 2GB to boost overall amount to 4GB. Good luck!

    • dhruv August 11, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

      thanks a lot…. n thanks for ur article…i have heard the screen is no good…. i have Y500 ryt now. do you think its gonna b better den this?

  17. dhruv August 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    thanks a lot…. n thanks for ur article…i have heard the screen is no good…. i have Y500 ryt now. do you think its gonna b better den this?

  18. dhruv August 11, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    @andrew which one shud i buy ? d one with matte screen or glossy ? i want a better screen to watch movies.
    thanks

  19. Andrew August 11, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

    In general, the colors are more vibrant on a glossy screen and therefore better for movies. However, you will need to be viewing in a darkened room to avoid reflection on the screen that is a side effect of a glossy screen finish.

  20. dhruv August 11, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    so if a watch it in a room wid no direct lite on the screen…i shud buy a glossy one?

  21. Andrew August 11, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    yes, that would be my advice!

  22. dhruv August 11, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    thanks…have u ever used y3000 500.

  23. dhruv August 11, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    i m sorry but i m still confused between d screens>>>thats the only thing holdin me from buyin it… :(

  24. john August 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    great review . I want to buy a laptop for college and i`m not sure whether to buy a E420 or an Ideapad V570 . both price around 880 bucks on lenovo.com , the v570 has 1GB of graphics but i won t do gamimg so it`s not that important and also has RPM 5400 which i m not happy with . Also the v570 has intel i5 2.3 while the e 420 has i5 2.6 and 7200 rpm . From the specs i should go for the e 420 / 520 (haven t decided the size yet) . What s your opinion ?At this price and specs would you recommend me this laptop or another one ? (lenovo , dell , sony ) Thanks

    • Andrew August 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

      hi John, I would go with the E420 / E520. I’m not a fan of the styling on the V-series, though that’s a personal preference, I prefer the classic ThinkPad look at the E420 and E520 have. I also like the pointing stick on the ThinkPads, the V-series does not have that. If you don’t need dedicated graphics then the extra power is just going to needlessly drain the battery more. The fast 2.6GHz Core i5 processor and 7200RPM hard drive will be a lot of speed for day to day tasks so that’s a great configuration. If you need more portability go with the E420, if you’d like a built-in number pad and don’t mind the extra size the E520 is certainly a good choice too. Good luck!

  25. john August 12, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    forgot to say that they both have 6 GB of RAM .Cheers

  26. eric August 12, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    i m taking windows 7 home premium or professional 64 bit but only 2 gb ram ryt now bcoz of limited usage. i ll upgrade it to 4 gb later.. but will dere b any problem usin 64 bit with only 2gb ram

    • Andrew August 12, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

      No, that’s fine, the only thing that matters is that the processor is 64-bit capable (which any new processor is).

  27. Mattaust August 14, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    Hey Andrew, I purchased the E520 awhile back and can’t wait for it, am expecting it tomorrow: Specs are:

    AU$650 Total

    Intel Core i5-2410M Processor (2.30GHz, Turbo Boost up to 2.9GHz)
    Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit)
    14.0″ HD (1366×768) LED Backlit Display, Anti-Glare, Midnight Black
    AMD Radeon HD 6630M (1GB VRAM, 128-bit GPU, switchable)
    4 GB PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz SODIMM Memory (1 DIMM)
    500GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm
    DVD Recordable
    9 Cell 2.2Ah Li-Ion Battery
    Broadcom Bluetooth 3.0 with antenna
    ThinkPad 2×2 a/b/g/n

    + the $1 hard drive deal (have received this and it’s great)

  28. Mattaust August 14, 2011 at 6:38 am #

    EDIT:

    Make that the

    15.6″ HD (1366×768) LED Backlit Display, Anti-Glare, Midnight Black

    • Andrew August 14, 2011 at 7:15 am #

      Awesome, good luck with the E520 Matt, looks like you put together a very well rounded configuration. Post back after you get the E520 with your thoughts on it!

  29. michael August 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    great article !! m goin to buy one soon !

    i just wanted to know that if i buy it without windows 7 and purchase it on my own , will i still be getting the pre loaded applications in my laptop like adobe acrobat , msoffice skype etc..which the brochure says…?

  30. Luan August 16, 2011 at 2:56 am #

    Hey Andrew I had a question for you about the screen. Did you notice that your screen was a little bit darker on the right side? Mine is like this and I was trying to figure out of this was normal or should I send it back to get it fixed. Thanks in advance!

    • Andrew August 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

      Hi Luan, I didn’t notice such a thing and that sounds pretty odd. The screen uses LED backlighting so it would be odd that an entire set of lights go out on one side, but that does sound like the issue. I’d give Lenovo support a call and describe the symptom, they’ll have you run a few diagnostics and unless they can give some fix that you can do yourself they’ll just have you mail it into them. They send you a pre-labeled box next business day, then you put the E420 in that box and off it goes to a repair shop. The big downside to that of course is you have no laptop during the repair period :-/

    • Luan August 16, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

      I will try giving them a call and see what they can do. I need it for school but the screen being darker on one side bugs me enough for me to try to deal with not having it for a few days or weeks. Thanks again!

  31. Mash August 18, 2011 at 1:33 am #

    Very helpful review. I’m actually buying a laptop for law school and don’t know which one to go with between the Edge 420 & 420s. W/ the specs that I want there’s only a $45 difference between the two, 420 = $782 and 420s = $827, so I’m really stuck between the two as to which would be the better choice and was wondering if I could get your thoughts?

    Furthermore, do you think the Macbook Pro at $1,049 (w/ same specs) is worth considering?

  32. Andrew August 18, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    A few things to consider based on your preferences really. You’ll be taking a lot of notes for law school, so a comfortable keyboard and good screen is most important. All three laptops you’re considering provide that, though personally I use a trackpoint so I wouldn’t get the MBP. However, if you prefer a touchpad then the MBP has probably the best touchpad of any laptop on the market. The problem I have with the E420s and MBP for long periods of taking notes is the screens are glossy and reflective so it could cause eye strain. The E420 has a matte screen, so no reflections and less eye strain. For that reason I’d go with the E420 myself. The design of the MBP is more appealing to many and I assure you many of your classmates will have a MBP, so if you want to “fit in” and go with what many of your classmates will have then that also gives weight to the MBP. At the end of the day, I think all three will serve your needs just fine, ThinkPads and MacBooks are the best built laptops on the market and will last you throughout law school. If price is no concern and you’re not considering that, then go with your gut feeling of what will make you most happy to have.

    • Mash August 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

      Thanks much for the input Andrew. One other question, given that Lenovo’s are well-built, do you think it’s safe to pass on buying a warranty extension, etc?

    • Andrew August 18, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

      I would agree with that statement, however it’s easy to get a 1-year warranty extension for free if you use the right credit card to make a purchase. Visa calls this their “extended protection” feature, American Express also will extend your warranty by a year if you use their card to make the purchase. Master Card also offers the 1-year warranty extension free if you use their card to make a laptop purchase. After the first year of your warranty the credit card company then covers you for the same terms in the second year and will reimburse for any repairs needed that is typically covered in the mfr. warranty.

    • Mash August 21, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

      Andrew thanks again. I went through my options and played around w/ both laptops at Office Depot & OfficeMax. I came to realize that the chiclet keyboard is a little annoying, that’s the only major drawback of the E420. As for the E420s, it’s keyboard was slightly better but it has to have the glossiest screen (w/ bad color quality) I’ve ever seen in my life — it was sitting next to another Lenovo w/ a glossy screen and in the E420s I could see my face in complete detail versus just my silhouette in the other.

      Now I’m trying to decide between the the T420 and L420. I really like the T but it seems quite a bit more expensive than the L, I was wondering if you know what the difference is between the two or what your opinion is on them and what you would recommend?

    • Andrew August 22, 2011 at 9:14 am #

      Mash, the ThinkPad L420 vs. the T420 makes for a very similar comparison but there are differences. The L420 is much thicker than the T420, here are the exact thickness dimensions:

      T420: 1.18″-1.20″
      L420: 1.26″-1.42″

      So the L420 is about 0.2″ thicker. The L420 uses more plastic in the construction but it is still very well built. Also, there is no option for a high resolution 1600 x 900 screen on the L420, while the T420 does offer that. I believe the battery life on the L420 is around 4 hours while the T420 is about 6 hours. Also, the longest warranty you can get on the L series is 1-year. I’m not sure if there is a docking solution for the L420 but I know there is one for the T420 (I doubt that would be a factor for you). All in all, I believe the T420 is the better buy even though it may be a bit more expensive, but if you can’t afford the T420 then the L420 is certainly a great alternative at a lower price.

  33. Emily August 19, 2011 at 3:26 am #

    Hi Andrew,

    Really appreciated the review. I’m really choosing between the E420, the E420s, and the HP DM4-2070US. It has not been an easy decision. Both the E420 and the HP model have great deals going on at Office Depot currently – $549.99 and $599.99 respectively, and a $100 visa card back with a student ID – while I’m looking at about $750 for the E420s through the Lenovo website (with no visa giftcard back).

    Here’s what I need out of it: ideally, I’d like the laptop to last me 5 years (I know that’s asking a lot). I’d like an i5 processor and at least 4 GB memory (which all of these have). I don’t do gaming, but I tend to have a lot of programs running at once. I’d like it to be reasonably portable (which each of these are) and I’d like it to be well built. I also really like the glossy screens on the E420s and the HP model, and that has been enough for me to feel less enthused about the E420.

    I know a lot of this comes down to opinion, but what would you do if you were in my shoes? What’s the best computer of this bunch, and what would provide me the most satisfaction over the next 5 years? Are there any that you would really avoid?

    And referring to the previous question you answered, does HP have a warranty deal with AMEX as well? What do I have to do to get either deal with either company (should one exist with HP)?

    Thanks so much Andrew!

    • Andrew August 19, 2011 at 6:41 am #

      hey Emily, good questions. The deals at OfficeMax right now are amazing. The E420s is nice, but I don’t think it’s $200 – $300 nicer than either the E420 or the HP dm4-2070US. So focus on the deals at hand. I believe both the E420 and dm4-2070us are great choices, and if you like the glossy screen, which actually a majority of people do because of the greater contrast and vibrant colors it offers, then I think it’s enough to go with that. The added bonus with the dm4-2070us is that it’s lighter and has better battery life than the E420. Now, if you really liked the trackpoint and matte screen the E420 has then that might make you go with that instead, but I don’t think those factors are a big deal for you, so the dm4 it is. In terms of performance, both are almost exactly the same with the Core i5, so that doesn’t tip the scales in either direction.

      As far as the Amex warranty extension of 1-year, it works with any manufacturer warranty for the U.S. and most certainly HP. Amex does not enter a relationship with each company for this, if your laptop were to break in the 2nd year you would just call Amex and say you purchased this laptop with your Amex and it now needs repairs that would have been covered by the original 1-year warranty and they’ll reimburse you, any repair costs can be charged on the Amex. You can call Amex customer service to find out more about how it works if you have specific questions, but definitely if you make a purchase of either the Lenovo or HP from OfficeMax (or wherever) you’ll get that benefit.

  34. Peter August 23, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    Quick question, but probably with a long answer from the experts. How does the E420 perform with photos and website projects? Thanksfor your feedback.

  35. Andrew August 25, 2011 at 1:10 am #

    Peter, what do you mean exactly by working with photos, programs like Adobe Photoshop? As far as web site projects, you’ll have no problem doing code development or whatever else you need to do in regards to developing a website using the E420. Just need the right software and it’ll fly on the E420 with the 2nd generation Intel Core i3 or Core i5!

  36. Anoop September 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    Hi,

    I just purchased an Edge E420 two days ago. The Indian consumer market is much different from that at the states. Here we can’t buy online and there is no choice in configuration. Here, I got a configuration that includes, Core i3-2330M 2.2GHz, 2GB RAM, which I upgraded to 4GB, 320GB 7200rpm harddisk, 14 inch screen with built-in camera and microphone, Intel HD 3000 graphics, HD sound, Wifi(a/g/n), 1Gbps LAN and quite surprisingly without even the slightest mention in the catalog, an ericcsson mobile broadband modem, which I can’t get the drivers for since I only own a windows vista business and not a windows 7. The laptop came with just DOS and no other OS and because of that, lenovo didn’t even provide any driver disks. So, I had to download them, some from lenovo itself, and the others, like the HD graphics driver from the respective manufacturer’s website.

    About battery life, I find that on the “Maximum Battery Life Setting” I am getting around 5 hours and 30 minutes with the standard 6-cell battery. This is with the Wifi on and Bluetooth turned off. When the bluetooth and wifi both are on, then the battery runs for about 4 hours and 30 mins. The selective USB suspend feature is a pain at times, especially if you are booting up with a device attached. When this happens the other ports are turned off and it requires another reboot to get them turned on. So, I ended up disabling that feature in the advanced settings of the power manager.

  37. Andrew September 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    Thanks for your comment Anoop, interesting to hear how things are different when buying there in India. Quite a bit of manual work in getting the E420 setup! It’s probably more expensive too, I’ve had Indian friends take back electronics and other gifts to family from the U.S. simply because things are generally cheaper here (not always). That’s pretty good battery life you’re getting, surprising Bluetooth would have such an effect.

  38. Abe September 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Just purchased the E420. Has the i3, 500 GB HDD (7200RPM), and 4GB of RAM. I’m a college student so I plan on using it for school (word, excel, music, movies, internet) in addition to a lot of coding using code composer studio, I’m not a gamer so I won’t be doing anything major like that. I’ve read a few places talking about the i3 being a poor processor and that i5 should be the way to go. I just want my machine to run fast and efficient for my needs, so I guess I’m just making sure that my set-up should be just fine right? Or should I have gone with the i5?

    • Andrew September 9, 2011 at 10:02 am #

      Abe, you’ll be just fine with the i3-2310m if you’re just using it for the uses you mention. I think some people that might be a bit tech snobbish (hey, I’m somewhat guilty) will always tell you to get something that’s faster and has more impressive on paper tech specs than you might actually need. The Core i3 is way better than a budget level Pentium processor and I would advise people to avoid the Pentium line unless they really need to save money or simply need something cheap for browsing the web, but by going with Intel’s premium processor line you’re getting great performance even on the “low end” of that processor family. Good luck with the E420 and your studies!

  39. Rian October 2, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    Hi Andrew,
    Great review. Would you share to us, whether the full suite of ThinkVantage is available to E420? Based on some pictures I was, I cannot find a dedicated “blue” ThinkVantage button usually found in ThinkPads.
    And how about ThinkVantage Rescue & Recovery? How many disk space does the recovery image took on the E420′s harddrive?
    Does the factory default E420 harddrive is only partitioned in one drive (C) or perhaps two partition (System and Data) as some manufacturer now tends to do.
    Many thanks in advance!

    • Andrew October 4, 2011 at 8:36 am #

      Hi Rian, yes the full suite of ThinkVantage software is on there, there is a recovery partition labeled the “Q” drive that takes up about 10GB of space.

  40. Finlay October 12, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    Hi Andrew,

    Great review above. I’m hesitating about an E420 with i5, 6630m graphics, because of the 1366*768 screen.

    I was initially looking at getting a 15″ but the standard 1366*768 res seems like a complete waste of space – very low for the screen size – might as well get a 14″. The e420 has an anti-glare screen which i’m after for the odd bit of work outside. But will it be bright enough? can’t tell from the review if it’s too poor for that, seems strange now that screens are all LED based!

    Any advice greatly appreciated! Cheers!

    Finlay

    • Andrew October 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

      Hi Finlay, I hear you on the screen resolution take, if you’re only getting 1366 x 768 on a 15″ then might as well reduce the size to 14″ and save some weight. As far as outdoor usability with the E420, there is the possibility of using it in the shade or on a cloudy day outdoors, but if the sun is out I’m afraid that the backlight is just not going to be strong enough to make for easy viewing even though it does have a matte screen. There aren’t many laptops that can offer the 400-nits of brightness it really takes to have a truly usable outdoor screen. If you’re willing to squint a bit you can get by though.

  41. abhay October 20, 2011 at 1:46 am #

    Andrew,

    I am not a student, but may be you can help me out — I am looking for lightweight 13.3 or 14 inch laptop. My final list is — Toshiba R835, Inspiron 14z, Vaio S (13.3″), T420, HP Dm4x (and may be XPS 14z!)

    Now, I am looking for a laptop which has quiet (fan) and remains cool at the bottom (inspite of continuous 1 to 1.5 hr usage when placed on lap). Can you order them based on your experience (in descending order, starting with quiet most)?

    If you have access to these models, can you try a playback of 15 min AVCHD 1080p (60 or 30 fps) video clip and see what happens to fan noise?

    Definitely appreciate your reviews. They are very helpful (especially since most of these laptops are not directly sold in stores)

    BTW, where did you buy the weighing scale? :)

    Thanks,
    –Abhay

  42. Scott November 8, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    Just found a good deal on this E420 laptop at Lenovo’s outlet site. Has i5-2410M processor, 500GB HDD, 4GB RAM, webcam, bluetooth, fingerprint reader, Centrino WiFi, 65W charger/adapter, for $475 ($514 after tax). As of this posting (11-08-11 at 9:35a.m.CST) they show 18 in stock.

  43. furrybender November 8, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    hi andew, just read you insightful review for Lenovo Edge e420. I bought one myself off a their site with a core i5 for only $ 421.00. I’m so far pleased w/my purchase. I would just like to ask you regarding the preinstalled bloatwares that comes w/it. Which should i remove & which should i keep?thanks alot & more power!

  44. Jayson November 10, 2011 at 12:26 am #

    I recently bought E420 with i7, 8Gb RAM, 720Gb RDD. 2×2 Wireless and 9 cell battery in just 890, way cheaper than other brands in the market plus IBM thinkpads are famous for performance. Performance is key for me within budget than looks.

  45. dhruv November 17, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    hey i jus checked lenovos us website E420 doesnt hv blutooth n wwan….

  46. ipo December 1, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    Hi,
    Thanx for the very useful review! :)
    I just have one doubt, before buying this guy’s bigger brither, the E520: shoul I, for the same price, opt for a i5 processor with intel HD graphics, or should stick to i3 and dedicated/switchable?
    I’ll be using the machine mainly for movies/work in office/internet, no heavy gaming.
    Best,
    Ipo,
    Romania

    • Andrew December 3, 2011 at 7:58 am #

      Ipo, go with the i5, it doesn’t sound as if you need a dedicated graphics card and the Core i5 will serve you better. Good luck!

  47. ipo December 1, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    *sorry for the typos, my old Thinkpad T30 keyboard is getting even older. :)

  48. Sara December 6, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    This was a great review. Very informative. I’m a graduate student, transitioning into the workforce, so I need a laptop with the processing power to manage my graduate reports and research, as well as the occasional work from the office. Looks like the i5 will be a good choice.

    • Andrew December 6, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

      Agreed Sara, the E420 will server well for any remaining school and certainly for work. Good luck!

  49. Jason December 10, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    Hi Andrew, thanks for your great review, it helped me a lot in my decision to get a ThinkPad E420. I was shopping around and found out that Office Depot was selling one with an i5 processor, 500GB 7200 RPM hard drive, 4 Gigs of ram… etc. for $550. I figured this was as close to the bottom of the price I can get for those specs right now. About 4 months ago me and my wife got her a new computer from Best Buy, a Samsung, with the same specs for a tad bit over $700, so this price for a ThinkPad is pretty good.

    So far I love this computer. It feels sturdy and will probably last for a long time physically. Especially in comparison with my 3 year old HP that felt like very cheap plastic. They keyboard is great. Perhaps not as amazing as the traditional keyboard on the T series, but the keys feel great and have a nice tactile feedback that I love.

    I would definitely recommend this computer to anybody else, a great budget computer.

    • Andrew December 11, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

      That’s great to hear Jason, happy the E420 is working out for you and that the review helped!

  50. Anil December 28, 2011 at 7:35 am #

    Hi,
    anybody can tell. how can connect remote desktop in E420 lenovo laptop with windows 7.

  51. Vinodh February 3, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    Post your reviews, I am super-thrilled to get myself a E420. I have been using my E420 for 2 months now.. As AJ/Tom rightly pointed out, one has to clearly understand the purpose of getting a commercial laptop. If you are looking for a budget-yet-feature-rich kinda machine.. then I would highly reccommend you to stay off thinkpads; as each one of these comes with a purpose! You must neither expect a Hi-Fi surround sound blasting off from your E420 nor a glossy screen nor a glossy finish! But yes, if you are ready for my kinda taste where I would appreciate my E420 on the following points, then YES you are making a right choice indeed;)
    - phenomenal multi-tasking with ease..
    - a portable one to carry around
    - thinkvantage even for the cheapest thinkpad yet! (The tools are so damn sophisticated yet client friendly, I indeed got bowled over; be it the airbag protection or the client security interface!)
    - my ThinkNav Trackpoint! (better than a conventional touchpad navigation.. anytime!)
    - Keyboard Keys Feedback (Here in India, we use to get TVS Gold keyboards which use to rule the roosters when IT revoultion began here.. has same sort of feedback.. u will luv ‘em)
    - Durability and Ruggedness (One cannot finish a thinkpad review without appreciating its build.. Super rugged make!)

    In India I got my piece for Rs.34500/- (inclusive of an additional 2GB RAM for ThinkPad Edge E420 1141-BMQ) Definitely on a higher price range than the comsumer models sold with the same HDD/RAM/PRCCESSOR characteristics.. but YES it is worth it!

    • Gagan March 29, 2012 at 9:36 am #

      Vinodh,

      I am buying this laptop from US. Can anyone tell me whether this laptop have warranty coverage in India if bought from US. Also I have a Win 7 professional purchased copy. Would it be wise to install OS on your own on the E420 without any pre-installed OS

    • Andrew Baxter March 29, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

      ThinkPad warranties are international. If you buy the E420 in the U.S. then you’ll get Windows 7 with it, there’s no way to buy it without!

  52. Jeremy February 4, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    I have been researching laptops for the past week, and I’ve spent more hours than I care to count reading reviews on various websites. This was, by far, the most thorough and useful laptop review I came across in my research, and it helped me make the decision to buy the e420 (which was an amazing deal at $440 on Newegg!) Thank you so much! It really helps to have stuff like this when you’re not able to touch and test the computer in a store before you buy!

    • Andrew February 5, 2012 at 1:54 am #

      Thanks for the feedback Jeremy, glad the review helped and you got an awesome deal on the E420 at Newegg.

    • Vinodh February 6, 2012 at 8:56 am #

      Yupp! the only downside of these commercial ones is to depend exclusively on user reviews and ratings.. and websites like these help a ton in making decisions..!

  53. David donut February 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    This laptop is great, pretty design with strong processor! In my opinion, the only bad thing about this laptop is screen quality. Anyway, I’m considering for buying this laptop for schoolwork.

    • Andrew Baxter February 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

      It’s a good choice as a school laptop, 14-inch is the perfect size and it has the durability needed for the moving around being at school involves. The price is reasonable too.

  54. Jess Fuentes February 17, 2012 at 1:03 am #

    Spot on with the review. I bought the E420 in September, just after buying a Toshiba Satellite. I was disappointed immediately with this purchase. All was fine and excellent except for the placement of the touchpad control – right at the edge. I just that is in vogue now. This placement forces me to use the thumb for the controls and moves me away from the keys.

    I bought the E420 to address this problem. Fixes this with the eraser head and dual controls at the top and the bottom of the touch pad.

    I agree with you on the keyboard. Conventional keyboard was what I look for. I got the touchpad control that I was looking for and gave up the keyboard placement.

    Oh well, the function keys requirement to use the “f’ key in conjunction is annoying. Although, I read that this can be reset in the BIOS.

    One other point, Video streaming halts a great deal. I have lowered the video specs to 16bits and to lesser resolution and I have use turbo boost from the USB thumbdisk which seems to make a difference.

    I see from your review that video streaming is a function of processing power, yet I can get constant streaming. I upgraded your reviewed configuration to 8gb RAM with some improvement.

    Overall I choose to use E420 to my 17″ Toshiba for convenience and I may get use to the keys. But then again I now use the Toshiba (raised keys and standard placment except the spacebar) with a optical mouse to avoid the touchpad.

    Cheers for options. I will fix these issues with my next Lenovo Enterprise addition which has standard keyboard and versatile touchpad controls. Maybe I can read a review that tells me that the streaming is great on an Enterprise version.

  55. Dr Sha February 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    Thanks for the info regarding thinkpad E 420 with an i5 processor.
    Pls tel me from where I could order one E420 with an i5
    and what wil b the price in india

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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