The Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420s would never be accused of being pretty, though it is worth noting that the ThinkPad range has come a long way since Lenovo acquired it from IBM. They’re still built like tanks though, and the E420s is built to shrug off some battering on its travels.
For old-school laptop users Lenovo provides a choice of input methods. There is a trackpoint for controlling the cursor, placed in the middle of the keyboard, along with left and right-click buttons just below the spacebar, or you can use the more popular trackpad with buttons at the bottom, it’s up to you.
Given that it isn’t the widest chassis on test, typing on the keyboard is relatively comfortable, but you need to learn to avoid accidentally knocking the trackpoint if you don’t want your cursor scooting off at inconvenient moments.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad Edge is aimed at people who want a laptop to use on the move, weighing just 2kg, so it seems strange to us that it should have such a poor battery. In our tests, the ThinkPad only ran for two and three quarter hours before expiring, almost two hours short of the next worst models in this batch.
But it has plenty of grunt, scoring 119 points in our WorldBench 6 tests. It also comes with a standalone graphics processor, the AMD Radeon HD 6630, although we’re not sure that many gamers would consider purchasing this model.
The hard drive is frustratingly small. Although 320GB should be plenty for users who keep on top of their file management, it is the second smallest model in this group test.
The 14in screen is another oddity. Lenovo has opted for a glossy finish, which isn’t great for a work-focused laptop, and viewing angles aren’t great either. But there is a fingerprint reader for additional security, useful for a business laptop on the move.
The ThinkPad E420s couldn’t be much different from the excellent Lenovo IdeaPad G570. To be fair to the ThinkPad it is a very work-focused model, but the poor battery life, lack of storage space, mediocre screen and relatively high price all count against it. It is quick, though, and the robust construction means it can withstand a knock or drop without too much bother.