Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13 Review

Lenovo sent us this ThinkPad Edge 13 a few weeks ago and it’s actually the most intriguing laptop we’ve had to review for sometime now. Check our full review of this thin & light Core i5 notebook.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13 looks the same as the first generation ThinkPad Edge back in January. The main differences are all found under the hood and among them is the ultra-low voltage (ULV) Core i5 470UM running at a just 1.33GHz.

The thin and light category of laptops was never lost with low-powered Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Solo (running 1.3GHz and 1.4GHz). Even the new Core i3, i5 and i7 processors from by Intel also have similar equivalents.

The ThinkPad Edge’s edgy design is somewhat reminiscent of original line of ThinkPads; only this time, they’ve added some eye-candy and color. It’s either you like it or you don’t — and I seem to be leaning towards the latter.

Nevertheless, once you open up the lid, you’ll be greeted with that familiar keyboard-trackpad-trackpoint combo that’s always a signature of Thinkpads since the days of IBM. To those unfamiliar, that small red dot in the middle is the trackpoint (also sometimes called the nipple mouse). I think ThinkPad owners seldom use that but it’s been an iconic design accent for many years so it will stay there even if un-used.

Great keyboard, though the layout is a little different especially with the Fn key on the lower far left end which is a bit annoying if you’re used with the Ctrl button in there (and I’ve told Lenovo execs about this a couple of times). It’s got a generously sized trackpad and you get a double serving of the click buttons (both above and below the trackpad).

The glossy 13.3″ display has a resolution of 1366×768 and is clear and crisp although I found setting the brightness to the highest level doesn’t produce the brightness I expected. The glare and smudges that’s attracted by the screen is very common to glossy displays so that’s to be expected.

The specs of the unit is a mix of good stuff and not so impressive ones either. The Core i5 processor used in this unit is pretty interesting — an ultra-low voltage dual core (with HyperThreading) running at 1.33GHz that can Turbo Boost to 1.87GHz which consumes less power to help increase battery life. And while the Intel HD Graphics isn’t that impressive, it was a logical move to make the system guzzle as very little power as possible.

Rounding up the complete specs are the following.

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13 specs:
13.3″ display @ 1366×768 pixels
Intel Core i5 470UM @ 1.33GHz (Turbo Boost 1.87GHz)
500GB SATA HDD 7200rpm
Intel HD Graphics
WiFi 802.11n
WWAN (Qualcomm Gobi 2000 HS-USB Mobile Broadband Device 9205)
Bluetooth 2.1
Gigabit LAN
2 x USB 2.0 ports
eSATA port
HDMI port
6-cell Li-Ion battery
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

Note: This review unit was for the US market so the specs will be a little different when it hits commercial release this October. For one, that Qualcomm Gobi modem will surely be absent.

Windows Experience Index shows us these scores with the graphics getting the lowest sub-score of 3.2 while the CPU got a good 5.3 rating.

Performance scores on PassMark tests shows pretty decent numbers. The lower scores for the Core i5 CPU (compared to the regular Core i3 and Core i5 we’ve tested in previous laptops) is primarily due to the ULV nature of the model.

PassMark PerformanceTest:
CPU Mark: 1564.7
2D Graphics Mark: 165.1
3D Graphics Mark: 148.8
Memory Mark: 684.8
Disk Mark: 690.0
PassMark Rating: 643.4

As for battery life, this unit is probably the only Core i5-series laptop I have tested that was able to last over 3 hours on regular use (the benefits of using ULV and Intel HD Graphics combo). BatteryBar gave a decent rating of 3 hours 40 minutes full lifetime. The 6-cell 5600mAh battery protrudes towards the bottom, not the back so there’s an open space for better ventilation.

When Lenovo first introduced the ThinkPad Edge series early this year, the whole line was running on low-powered Intel Core 2 Duo and AMD processors. The upgrades to Core i5 is a pleasant addition to the line especially for those looking to get some power and portability on a notebook. There’s also no built-in optical disk drive (ODD) in the thin and light category so that’s one drawback to consider.

Coming out this October, the Intel-based Lenovo ThinkPad Edge will come in a variety of configurations with a starting price of about Php38,000.

*via: YugaTech


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