Lenovo ThinkPad T520i review

Price when reviewed

When most people think of business laptops they invariably think of ThinkPads, as few brands are as consistently reliable as Lenovo’s flagship. The ThinkPad T series is often the best of the lot, and the T520i effortlessly continues that fine tradition.

It’s a traditional 15.6in laptop, and it bears so many of the hallmarks that make the brand so popular: the curved protective lip on the lid and base, the red trackpoint partnered by a trio of dedicated buttons beneath the keyboard, and that instantly recognisable logo in the corner of the wristrest.

Lenovo ThinkPad T520i

It’s classic rather than stylish – especially compared to the A-Listed Sony VAIO S – but the ThinkPad outstrips the dearer Sony when it comes to build quality. That’s in part due to its larger dimensions, as a 15in, 2.9kg laptop is easier to make sturdy than one at 13.3in and 1.69kg. But the construction is excellent throughout: there’s hardly any give in the wristrest and base, and the lid is strong, requiring a hefty prod to produce any show-through on the display.

Lenovo ThinkPad T520i

Lenovo has stuck with a traditional keyboard layout rather than following the current trend for Scrabble-tile keys, and as such it offers a deep, comfortable and responsive typing action. The left-hand side of the keyboard suffers from a slightly bouncy base, but the right side is rock-solid, and we didn’t notice the difference in general use. The trackpad, meanwhile, is modestly sized but paired with clicky, comfortable buttons.

As with the Sony, the T520i’s screen has a matte finish to suit the bright lighting of an office, but the quality is merely reasonable. Its measured maximum brightness of 219cd/m[sup]2[/sup] and contrast ratio of 217:1 are both disappointing, and a decent average Delta E measurement of 6 isn’t enough to prevent the Lenovo from looking pretty pallid and muted on the whole. The native resolution of 1,366 x 768 is also disappointing for a 15.6in laptop. In the Lenovo’s defence, the screen is also the Sony VAIO S’s weakest point, and since neither is meant for entertainment, it isn’t a deal-breaker.


Warranty3 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions374 x 246 x 40mm (WDH)
Travelling weight2.9kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i3-2310M
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM65
RAM capacity2.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free1
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetIntel HD Graphics 3000
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity298GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskSeagate Barracuda 7200.12
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Replacement battery price ex VAT£31
Replacement battery price inc VAT£37


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots1
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
FireWire ports1
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad, trackpoint
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.3mp
Fingerprint readeryes
Smartcard readerno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use6hr 26min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 58min
3D performance (crysis) low settings26fps
3D performance settingLow
Overall Real World Benchmark score0.57
Responsiveness score0.69
Media score0.58
Multitasking score0.43

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodPartition
Software suppliedLenovo ThinkVantage

One thought on “Lenovo ThinkPad T520i review”

Boobesh says:
T520i have any discrete graphics card like nividia,Amd,etc

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