Lenovo ThinkPad T520i review
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.
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 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.
|Warranty||3 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||374 x 246 x 40mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i3-2310M|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel HM65|
|SODIMM sockets free||1|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||Intel HD Graphics 3000|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||298GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk||Seagate Barracuda 7200.12|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Replacement battery price ex VAT||£31|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£37|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||yes|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||3|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad, trackpoint|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||1.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||6hr 26min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 58min|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||26fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.57|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 7|
|Software supplied||Lenovo ThinkVantage|
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