The Good The ThinkPad T420 has several things going for it: performance, plenty of ports, excellent battery life, and a very comfortable keyboard.
The Bad The design of the bulky, business-oriented T420 is positively Stone Age. It's also priced well above similar consumer laptops. No HDMI, no USB 3.0.
The Bottom Line The Lenovo ThinkPad T420 is as straight-up and unassuming as a business laptop can be on the surface, souped up with faster performance, long battery life, and a flexible selection of ports under the hood.
Lenovo ThinkPad T420
Compared with laptops seen at CES 2012--ultrabooks and other sleekly designed variations--the ThinkPad T420 is a dinosaur, from the outside, at least. Thick and bulky, with a keyboard studded with enough auxiliary buttons to look like a space shuttle control panel, the T420 is as old-school as a laptop can be. It's also solid as a tank; not a rugged laptop per se, but outfitted with a spill-resistant keyboard and magnesium roll-cage chassis that most laptops don't have. And it's got more ports and features than most laptops, fighting the currently popular minimalist style.
The ThinkPad T420 is the laptop that escaped from your IT department, and might even be sitting on your desk as we speak. Lovers of older laptop tech won't be disappointed: a rubberized trackpoint sits in the middle of a set of thick, tapered keyboard keys, while large extra trackpoint-controlling buttons sit above the touch pad. You can light your keyboard with a top-mounted LED light next to the Webcam, thank you very much--no backlit keyboard here. Older ports are also here in force: everything from eSATA to ExpressCard, and even FireWire, is included. And, obviously, there's an optical drive (another feature frequently missing from laptops nowadays).
It feels unfair to attack the design of the ThinkPad T420 too much, because it's clearly not meant for the average consumer--this vPro-equipped laptop is all business. However, we can ding the T420 a little on price: our configuration's priced climbed above $1,000, although the ThinkPad T420 starts as low as $749 on Lenovo's Web site for an entry-level version with a Core i3 processor and fewer bells and whistles.
Microsoft adds Chemistry to Minecraft, $190 Lenovo laptop
Microsoft's first education announcements of 2018 run the gamut of ages and tools.
Laptop team-ups power new PCs at CES 2018
Whether it was Intel and AMD, laptop bodies and smartphone brains, or Alexa and everyone, the story of new computers at CES was a tale of team-ups.
PC-phone convergence is happening, but not how you think
Instead of phones becoming more multifunctional and replacing laptops, new computers at CES 2018 are embracing the best phone features.
CES 2018 PC preview: What to expect from laptops, desktops and tablets
From hybrid designs to hybrid components, everyone is taking an expansive view of what makes a PC.
25 best battery life laptops for 2017
If you're shopping for a holiday laptop or hybrid, these are the models that offer the longest battery life.
AMD Ryzen processors want to power your next skinny laptop
AMD's Ryzen 5 and 7 mobile chips, based on its Zen processing and Vega GPU cores, will arrive first in ultrathin models from HP, Lenovo and Acer.
Intel CPU names: Solving a mystery for the ages
Figure out exactly what you can expect out of that Core processor -- and whether it’s worth the money.
Microsoft Surface Book 2 is bigger and better
A new 15-inch size, updated Intel CPUs and gamer-ready Nvidia graphics hit Microsoft's pro-level Surface two-in-one.
ThinkPad Anniversary Edition 25 looks like an expensive oddity
You have to be a hardcore fan to spend $1,900 for this odd amalgam of old designs with modern components that Lenovo's offering.
Satya Nadella talks up mixed reality for IT
At the Microsoft Ignite tech conference, CEO Satya Nadella shows off mixed reality's benefits for collaboration and security.
Microsoft Ignite 2017: Everything that was just announced
The company's big IT conference in Orlando is brimming with news about enterprise-level products.
Want innovation? Upgrade your PC, not your phone, says HP
Ron Coughlin, head of HP's personal computer group, believes his industry is sizzling, not stagnant. Also: Touchscreens beat Apple Touch Bars.