Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E430 and E530 Hands-on Overview

We recently had the opportunity to try out the upcoming ThinkPad Edge E430 and E530 laptops at a Lenovo sponsored event.  These new ThinkPad Edge laptops will serve as updates to the current ThinkPad E420 and ThinkPad E520.

ThinkPad Edge E530 Overview

The ThinkPad E530 is a 15.6” screen small business targeted laptop.  The ThinkPad Edge series is very similar in design to the regular ThinkPad line, but certain design touches do separate the two.  For starters, you get a red color option for the lid, so you’re not restricted to just the all black finish used on a normal ThinkPad.  Below you can see a picture of an E530 sporting the red lid:

E530 with red lid

Another thing you might notice is the fact the “i” in ThinkPad has a red lit dot forming part of the letter, you get this design touch on both the lid and keyboard deck area.

ThinkPad E530

On the ThinkPad E530 pictured above you’ll notice the generously sized speakers flanking each side of the keyboard.  Lenovo has also improved audio quality through use of built-in Dolby Home Theater v4, while audio is not a top priority of many business users it’s always nice to see improvements and have the option of watching movies on your laptop without the need for headphones.

You might notice that in the E530 pictured above with the large sized speakers on the side there is no number pad like we saw present on the E520 we reviewed.  Lenovo has decided to offer a configuration option in which you can select a number pad, but lose the side placement of the speakers.  An E530 with a number pad was also on display so you can see the difference between the two options:

ThinkPad E530 with number pad

It’s not clear how this difference will be marketed and how it will be made clear during the online configuration process what the options are, quite obviously the functionality and look changes quite a lot with the E530 depending on whether you get the number pad or side speakers.

The ThinkPad E530 is solidly built, but uses a mostly plastic case and is not quite as solid as the regular ThinkPads.  There is also no docking station solution that some business users rely on.  One feature some might consider an advantage is the fact the E530 has an HDMI port while the regular ThinkPads use DisplayPort, many consumers that want to output video to their TV rely on having an HDMI port available.

According to Lenovo representatives an AMD version of the E530, which will be sold as the ThinkPad E535, will go on sale mid to late summer depending on when AMD updates their processors.  AMD should be bringing out their Trinity family of processors this summer that will serve as an update to the current Fusion line.

As far as known specs on the E530, here’s what is confirmed:

  • Screen: 15-inches 1366 x 768 resolution
  • Processor: Intel 3rd Generation Core processors (Ivy Bridge) and current 2nd Generation Sandy Bridge
  • OS: Windows 7 (Windows 8 when released in Fall 2012)
  • Memory: 8GB RAM max
  • Storage: HD, up to 1TB
  • Weight: 5.4 lbs
  • Dimensions: 14.84” x 9.65” x 1.13” (W x D x H)
  • Ports: USB 2.0 (1), USB 3.0 (3), Ethernet, Monitor out, HDMI, Microphone, media card reader
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, WWAN
  • Price: Starting at $549

The starting price of $549 will likely feature an older Intel Core i3 or i5 Sandy Bridge processor.  The upcoming Ivy Bridge platform, still to actually be announced by Intel, will not bring out budget offering Core i3 processors until later on.

ThinkPad Edge E430 Overview

The ThinkPad E430 is essentially a 14” screen smaller size version of the E530.  The design look is the same, you’ll get the option of a black or red lid and the illuminated “i” on the ThinkPad branding is still there.

ThinkPad E430

Since the E430 is a smaller sized laptop it will not have room to offer a built-in number pad like you can get on the E530.  The E430 is targeted towards small business users that need a portable laptop at a budget friendly price but without making a bunch of quality sacrifices.   You still get the ThinkPad pointing stick, top notch keyboard and strong build you’d expect from any laptop sold under the ThinkPad line.   The ThinkPad E420 we reviewed was very popular and actually found a strong interest from students, the release of the E430 should be in time for back to school buyers so we expect the E-series will once again find a following among the off to college crowd.

ThinkPad Edge E430

Here’s a full rundown on the specs for the E430:

  • Screen: 14-inches 1366 x 768 resolution
  • Processor: Intel 3rd Generation Core processors, Sandy Bridge processors also available
  • OS: Windows 7  (Windows 8 in Fall 2012)
  • Memory: 8GB RAM max
  • Storage: HD, up to 1TB
  • Weight: 4.7lbs
  • Dimensions: 13.35” x 9.21” x 1.13” (W x D x H)
  • Ports: USB 2.0 (1), USB 3.0 (3), Ethernet, Monitor out, HDMI, media card reader
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, WWAN
  • Price: Starting at $549

Once the E430 and E530 are released in the June time frame we’ll make sure to do further coverage and review these laptops.

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