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Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E520 review

A portable powerhouse that's as good for work as it is for play

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Good office and graphics performance
  • Battery life
  • Usability
  • Features

Against

  • Ctrl and Fn keys swapped

Lenovo's ThinkPad range is traditionally aimed at business users, but has recently taken a more consumer-friendly turn, with less imposing builds and price tags. The ThinkPad Edge E520 is one of the more powerful laptops in the range and can keep you entertained on the move as well as at home.

The excellent performance is down to the latest Intel Sandy Bridge technology. This means you can do almost anything on this laptop, with incredibly fast response rates. Even complex editing software opens in seconds and happily runs alongside web browsers, media players and other applications. You won't need to replace this laptop for a long time.

This laptop also scored high in our graphical tests, beaten only narrowly by the Acer Aspire 5750G. We tested out some recent games and found they ran smoothly, although we occasionally had to turn down detail levels.

You can also check out and play around with your photos or home movies. Of course, if you'd rather relax with a film, the Lenovo won't let you down. High-definition (HD) films play perfectly and look good on the 15.6-inch widescreen display.

However, while many other laptops use Super-TFT screens, which use a glossy surface layer to produce richer colours, the Lenovo has a matt TFT display. Images aren't quite as vibrant as a result but, on the flipside, the screen isn't reflective, so you can use the laptop outside.

If you do want a portable to keep you entertained out of the home, this laptop has a lot going for it. Firstly, while the Toshiba Satellite L730-10G is a fair bit lighter, the Lenovo's solid frame weighs just 2.5kg. We comfortably carried it around all day in a backpack.

Even better, we were able to watch an entire three-hour movie before the battery died, and lighter use will prolong the battery life by almost two hours.

TechRadar Labs

Tech labs

Battery Eater '05: 183 minutes
Cinebench: 9431
3DMark 2006: 7167

An isolation-style keyboard is in place. It's one of our favourites with firmly set keys that are very comfortable to type on. A separate numeric keypad is included, along with various shortcuts – you can lock the laptop, search your files or bring up the calculator with a press of a button.

Our only complaint is that the Left Ctrl and the Function keys have been swapped around. This won't bother most people, but anyone who uses Windows shortcuts will be constantly frustrated when they hit the Function key by mistake.

Love or hate?

Lenovo thinkpad edge e520 review

The touchpad covers a wide area and you get the trademark nipple in the centre of the keyboard, which can also be used to move the on-screen cursor. We can't stand the thing, but we're sure that some people out there might prefer it.

Features are comprehensive, from the 500GB of storage to the eSATA port which can be used to transfer data at high speeds with external hard drives. There's also an ExpressCard slot for expanding the laptop's potential, but most people will never use it.

The ThinkPad Edge E520 is a mobile machine that's as good for work as it is for entertainment. If you need something to keep you busy on the move, this is one of the best laptops here.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity320 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 3000
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time4.20 Hour
Finger Print ReaderNo
FireWire/i.LINKNo
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
eSATA/USB ComboYes
Product FamilyThinkPad Edge E520
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor Modeli3-2310M
ColourMidnight Black
Operating SystemWindows 7 Professional
Brand NameLenovo
Processor Speed2.10 GHz
Processor TypeCore i3
Screen Size39.6 cm (15.6")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory2 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.62 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityEPEAT Gold, ENERGY STAR, RoHS
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM65 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD±R/±RW
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
WWAN SupportedNo
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 3.0
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports4
Memory StandardDDR3-1333/PC3-10600
Height33.7 mm
Width380 mm
Depth248.5 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesE520
ManufacturerLenovo Group Limited
Product Model11433JG
Product NameThinkPad Edge E520 11433JG Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad, Trackpoint
Product LineThinkPad Edge
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberNZ33JUK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.lenovo.com/uk/en/
Marketing Information

Optimized for business...
Advanced technology and built-in conveniences boost your productivity and streamline your workday. The Edge Series offers innovative solutions and productivity-enhancing technology in a versatile, reliable, easy-to-use laptop.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • ThinkPad Edge E520 11433JG Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year