Lenovo ThinkPad T520i review

Price when reviewed

The ThinkPad T520i is an office laptop, so performance is solid without being spectacular. With a 2.1GHz Intel Core i3-2310M processor and 2GB of RAM, it scored a modest 0.57 in our benchmark tests – that’s around the same as the recent MacBook Airs, so not exactly top-end power. As you’d expect, Lenovo has stuck with the integrated graphics, so you won’t be using this laptop for anything more than casual gaming in your lunch break.

Elsewhere, you get a 320GB hard disk and a TPM chip for added hardware security. There’s a single-band 802.11n Wi-Fi chip, and 3G can be added if necessary for an extra £76 inc VAT when you configure the T520i on the Lenovo site.

Lenovo ThinkPad T520i

That isn’t the only upgrade available. Opting for a Core i5-2410M – the same processor as the Sony – is an additional £76. Upping the display resolution to a more suitable 1,600 x 900 costs £52, or a less reasonable £196 for Full HD. Doubling the RAM is £32, which we’d advise paying, while 8GB of DDR3 memory will set you back an extra £96, and replacing the hard disk with a 128GB SSD costs £259. Happily, the three-year warranty comes as standard.

Lenovo ThinkPad T520i

You can also upgrade to a nine-cell battery for £31, which we’d recommend: the six-cell unit included with our review sample lasted for 6hrs 26mins in light use. We’d expect that to rise to around nine hours with the upgrade, but that can’t come close to the near-17-hour life of the Sony with its optional battery slice.

Still, six hours of battery life and fair performance are complemented by the tremendous build quality, to make the Lenovo ThinkPad T520i a solid all-round business laptop. Budget dictates it isn’t the best-equipped machine on the inside, but it can be upgraded to be, and its reliability and design make it an attractive alternative to the excellent Sony VAIO S.


Warranty 3 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 374 x 246 x 40mm (WDH)
Weight 2.900kg
Travelling weight 2.9kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i3-2310M
Motherboard chipset Intel HM65
RAM capacity 2.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 1
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel HD Graphics 3000
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0


Capacity 320GB
Hard disk usable capacity 298GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
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
802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support no

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch yes
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem yes
ExpressCard34 slots 1
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 3
FireWire ports 1
eSATA ports 1
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel 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
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp
TPM yes
Fingerprint reader yes
Smartcard reader no

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
Responsiveness score 0.69
Media score 0.58
Multitasking score 0.43

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Partition
Software supplied Lenovo ThinkVantage

One thought on “Lenovo ThinkPad T520i review”

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

Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos