Lenovo ThinkPad T420

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.

Editors' Rating
7.8 Overall

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Review

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.

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Specs / Prices

  • Brand Lenovo
  • Type Core i5
  • Installed Size 4 GB
  • Edition Windows 7 Professional
  • Capacity 500 GB
  • Diagonal Size 14 in
  • Chipset Type Mobile Intel QM67 Express
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