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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy and cool with i5 and integrated graphics
I am an IBM employee and as such I enjoy a discount on Lenovo purchases. With my corporate discount, the price comes down to what you would find on newegg, tigerdirect, or amazon, but with the ability to customize the system. When I was building mine, even with the discount, the upgrades that I wanted were too expensive, so I ordered a basic configuration plus some...
Published on July 19, 2011 by Stanislav Gatev

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great machine with a few misses
Custom configured T420s on lenovo website. Wish I would have just bought it from Amazon and did a few upgrades myself.

My machine:
2.5 Ghz Core i5
8 GB Ram
320 GB HD

Exterior:
This machine is very nice looking, with a good design and solid feel. It's incredibly light (3.9 lbs), such that I have to double check that I actually...
Published on December 11, 2011 by Wes "Sunny Florida" D


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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy and cool with i5 and integrated graphics, July 19, 2011
By 
Stanislav Gatev "Stan Gatev" (North Chelmsford, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Thinkpad T420S 14" 320GB 4GB (Personal Computers)
I am an IBM employee and as such I enjoy a discount on Lenovo purchases. With my corporate discount, the price comes down to what you would find on newegg, tigerdirect, or amazon, but with the ability to customize the system. When I was building mine, even with the discount, the upgrades that I wanted were too expensive, so I ordered a basic configuration plus some upgrades from the sites mentioned above. My system arrived with i5 2520 CPU (the lowest possible frequency), 320 GB hdd, 2 GB RAM, and an integrated video card. Separately, I ordered 8 GB RAM, Intel 320 series SSD (160 GB capacity), and a cheaper 32 GB mSATA SSD drive (a mini-PCI card, the T420s has a slot for it), which I use for swapping and temporary files.

I purposely ordered the CPU with the lowest possible frequency, and no dedicated video card. In my career, I have built and used probably two dozen different systems, and in each and every case, the CPU has never been a bottleneck, nor has been the video card. Most video cards today have GPUs which consume an enormous amount of power, need extra cooling, and drain your battery while heating your lap. I have to mention that I use computers for software development and other casual uses, but not for gaming. I could not care less how many frames per second a given game would render (TO ME it is all crap, and so far from being realistic that it is not worth the hassle -- TO ME a 1980's console Packman is more real than most of the games I see nowadays; call me old fashioned, I don't care). I want a system that would run one or more virtual machines, a development environment, and a database of a size which only the most rich and prestigious universities could afford only a few years ago. The T420s does that.

It runs very cool, is fast, and is sturdy. On occasion, the fan engages, but so far it has been running only at a low speed which is not disturbing (I compare it to my T60p system with dedicated graphics which was very noisy).

The keyboard is outstanding. Better than any Thinkpad (I have owned five) so far. I only wish it was back-lit. The little light on the top of the lid does a good job at illuminating the keyboard, but again I would have still preferred a back-lit one.

The preloaded software is not too intrusive. If I had an option, I would never buy a system with preloaded software, but unfortunately even with this high end business system a clean build was not an option. I have made the habit of wiping off every new system I receive and install only what I need; with this one, I have not done it yet. Probably I will, once I have the time to gather all drivers. But so far it is good, I don't feel slowness, maybe also because the system is so fast.

The screen is nice. It is matted, so it is easy on the eyes. If I had an option, though, I would go with 4:3 screen, which is much more convenient for writing code, but nobody makes these nowadays. I wonder, why all manufacturers think that laptops are only for watching movies?

Speed. With the two SSD drives configured as a master and swap, the boot is blazing fast. I installed the second, smaller and cheaper SSD as a swap and temp drive in order to preserve the more expensive Intel drive. Windows 7 boots in 20 seconds, and an XP virtual machine boots in 8 seconds.

Build quality. The MacBooks have been a standard by which I have measured the build quality and ergonomics of every other laptop, and I have to say, the T420s is better in most departments. It does not flex, it stays cool (the MacBook I compare it is a Core 2 Duo which runs hotter), and is lighter. The MacBook has a back-lit keyboard and a truly amazing display (Lenovo's display is matted which is good, but does not provide the same level of contrast).

There are several things that Lenovo could have done better:
1. 4:3, higher contrast screen
2. back-lit keyboard
3. a minimal install with no preloaded software (although this system is not as crapified as some Sony's or Dell's I have seen lately)

Overall, I am very pleased with my purchase. I highly recommend it. My current configuration is very expensive and is comparable to a 15" MacBooPro's price, but I still prefer it. I have to mention that this is the first laptop I buying with my own money, if that makes my review more trustworthy. If Windows is not essential, get a Mac. For Windows, I doubt that there is a better highly portable system on the market as of today.

I give it 4 stars, as there is still room for improvement. For a comparison, I would also rate a MacBook Pro at 4, and any other laptop I have found at Staples, BestBuy, Costco, etc. scores no higher than 3.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast and light, May 28, 2011
By 
This review is from: Thinkpad T420S 14" 320GB 4GB (Personal Computers)
This thin and light -- and fast -- Lenovo T420s laptop is at the top of its class. The Lenovo brand runs under the radar screen for many consumers, but builds top-technology laptops that last next-to-forever. The T420s is sick fast with a 14" screen, but only weighs 3.9 lb. You can find other lighter weight laptops, but only with dinky little 13" and 12" screens -- which is just too small to be productive and with toys for keyboards. You can look, but I don't think you'll find a better 14" laptop that is under 4 lb.

The T420s also has space for three (yes three) hard drives -- the primary drive, the ultra-bay, and the mSATA slot. I bought an 80GB Intel 310 flash drive for the mSATA slot, and loaded Windows 7 on it to make it my boot drive. Then, I put all my applications on the flash drive, too, so that loading Windows and even the biggest app is lightening fast. I loaded all my docs and pictures and music on the primary drive, so I have plenty of room for more. I left the optical drive in the ultra-bay for now, but it has the option of being swapped out for a hard disk or flash drive, or a second battery. The system is whisper quite -- you can't hear the drive and the fan, when it's on, is only a faint background whirr.

The best part, though, is the keyboard -- I never knew that I could type so fast. The words just seem to flow up on the screen with no effort and few mis-spellings. Crazy good. After pounding away on other keyboards for years, this one is a joy. Textured track pad works well, too, and maybe someday I'll start using the little-red joystick that others seem to like.

This thing is durable, too. It was designed in the vein of the original clean-and-black ThinkPad by the legendary designer Richard Sapper. You can easily find cheaper laptops, but not ones that will last for years like this one.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best portable laptop of 2011, August 10, 2011
This review is from: Thinkpad T420S 14" 320GB 4GB (Personal Computers)
Have been using this for about a month.
Purchased customized one (i7 2620 processor and dedicated nvidia graphic card) thru lenovo. This thing is fast!!

Added OCZ vertex 3 SSD using ultra bay and it rocks! The ultrabay supports sata 3, FYI.
Used ebay ultrabay adaptor with this SSD without a problem. The installation(hardware) was done within 5 mins and clean OS installation(win7) onto SSD took like 5 mins.
Much cheaper than ordering SSD version from lenovo (I heard that the SSD from factory is intel's which uses sata 2 connection).
You spend less money and get newer & better SSD.

Had to give up DVD-rom but who cares!(I rarely use it). The overall weight slightly increased but still not a big deal.
Applications like autocad, 3ds max, adobe suites load up instantly!

Also, you don't need to order higher RAM from lenovo.
Get aftermarket RAM and add it. It also saves your budget a lot.

1600*900 display's awesome. Not being 16:10 screen? Not a problem for me.
USB 3.0 blows with compatible flash drives and external harddrives.

Light weight, 2nd generation processor, sandybridge chipset, high resolution screen, various expansion slots(mSATA, ultrabay), USB 3.0...what else do we expect for a laptop this year?
1 star deducted due to relatively POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE.

Overall, despite this thing is quite expensive, I'm very satisfied with the performance. You get what you pay for! -]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great machine with a few misses, December 11, 2011
This review is from: Thinkpad T420S 14" 320GB 4GB (Personal Computers)
Custom configured T420s on lenovo website. Wish I would have just bought it from Amazon and did a few upgrades myself.

My machine:
2.5 Ghz Core i5
8 GB Ram
320 GB HD

Exterior:
This machine is very nice looking, with a good design and solid feel. It's incredibly light (3.9 lbs), such that I have to double check that I actually put it in my bag. The build quality is excellent. 5*

Screen:
Love the 1600x900 display resolution and the matte screen. Screen is beautiful and brilliant, as good as my MacBook Pro. 5*

Software:
Standard Win7 + all the Lenovo bloatware. After 7 months still haven't figured it all out. Thinkpad technologies seems like a waste especially when many of the functions are supported internally by Windows. 3*

Battery Life:
Here's the shocker. It's 2011 and I have the same battery life as I did with my first Dell lappy in 2003. Unacceptable. I'm doing good to get 2 hrs from a full charge, and normally it's like 1.5. I had to play with the setting to get it up this far. ThinkPad software has lots of customizations but the computer was practically unusable for any real battery life. Horrible. 1*

Hard drive:
The standard SATA 320GB 7200 RPM drive is a dog. 1*

Lenovo issues:
Computer has had video card, BIOS, and numerous update issues. I was able to fix them all with a little research on the internet but a $1300 machine shouldn't have these issues that I never had with a $499 Dell. 1*

Overall:
3*. A good notebook at the right price, which is $999. Any more and it's just not worth it. The quality and weight is good but I certainly don't get the warm and fuzzies I expected from the Lenovo brand.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice performance Terrible fan noise., December 8, 2011
This review is from: Thinkpad T420S 14" 320GB 4GB (Personal Computers)
Nice performing laptop with Nvidia graphics and I5 processor. Solid state drive.
Ordered DVD bay battery (good idea).

The problem with this laptop is the noise emanating from the fan.

My hearing isn't overly great and to me it is ridiculously loud.

No notebook of this type should have such a shoddy design in that area with a fan sounding like a hair dryer 80% of the time.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice laptop, solid quality, December 25, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Thinkpad T420S 14" 320GB 4GB (Personal Computers)
Looked at many laptops to replace an old Lenovo Idepad that had the cover hinges fail after about 3 years. Had thought about other brands and even ordered an HP business class laptop to compare. But when it came down to the red navigation pointer (which are carried only on a few laptops and mosttly Lenovo's) and the one of a kind Thinkpad keyboard itself ... we went with this model. Very nice screen, excellent build quality, minimum amount of bloatware. A good choice and the always excellent amazon service ... Fast shipping and the most liberal return policy in the business. This was a good purchase in the end at a very reasonable price.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Overpriced built quality, November 30, 2011
This review is from: Thinkpad T420S 14" 320GB 4GB (Personal Computers)
Good points:
Slim, light, nice looking, works great. Nice feel of relief touchpad.
The largest disappoint is the feel of soft laptop body. It has a solid frame but the plastic case around it makes the feel of something not well built and cheap. The housing bends when one presses near the ThinkPad shield at the right side and at the Windows 7 logo at the left, just a regular carrying case.
They keyboard (one the main reasons to by the laptop in the world of other ugly flat keyboards) has some gaps near the Enter button and at the top where resides sound and power buttons. So when I touch keys in those areas the I feel the free space between the keyboard and a laptop body.
The plastic around UltraBay also bends. When I take the laptop I till how it bends having about 1mm gap between dvd drive and the outer case plastic.
The display part between hinges also is not tought. Taking the closed laptop I always thinking on how to take it carefully and not to break the display accidentally. I can't see I am able to break it that way, but it brings the uncomfortable feel of something fragile.
Giving 2 start because of the case for the higher price and disappointment.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No longer a solid IBM product -- this is a cheaply built look-alike now, November 27, 2011
By 
AMG (Massachusetts) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Thinkpad T420S 14" 320GB 4GB (Personal Computers)
It has been several years since IBM sold its PC division to the Chinese manufacturer Lenovo, but after owning several ThinkPads over the years, I have unfortunately concluded that the ThinkPads of today are no comparison to the solidly built IBM products that earned ThinkPads their sterling reputation in the past.

I have owned this T420s for a few months and have disliked it since the day I pulled it out of the box. I don't hate it, but it's just not worthy of its price tag. Two examples of how cheaply built it is: (1) The superb ThinkPad keyboard feel is gone, replaced by a cheap look-alike that isn't nearly as nice to type on and makes a distinctly annoying noise when you hit certain keys near the edge of the keyboard; (2) the on-screen volume indicator, which worked perfectly for years on my last ThinkPad, works only intermittently on this one.

I wouldn't buy this computer. Instead, you could spend far less and get more.

UPDATE: MAY 7, 2012:

After using this product for six months, this Think Pad died yesterday. The screen shows a "disk error" message, and the only options it is offering are to (1) erase everything on the hard drive and start over; or (2) to shut down the system.

What a horrible piece of junk.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Hardware except Display, October 30, 2011
This review is from: Thinkpad T420S 14" 320GB 4GB (Personal Computers)
I've been using Macbook Pros and iMacs for the last several years. But due to Microsoft's inability to write a stable and compatible version of Microsoft Office, I find myself needing Windows. Windows 7, btw, is a very good operating system.
Bought the T420s direct from Lenovo and added a MSATA SSD (80gb from Intel). The laptop screams and is very stable. I love it except... in comparison to the amazing Apple displays built into the Macbook Pro and Air lines, the T420s display is horrible to use. The display makes me think I am looking through mosquito netting.
I am going back to Mac.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Expensive piece of top of the line garbage - I miss my T410s, November 26, 2011
This review is from: Thinkpad T420S 14" 320GB 4GB (Personal Computers)
Good computer but for one fundamental flaw: the VOIP experience is DISMAL. The microphone could not be any worse. I consistently get horrible rain in the background and strange noises coming in and out. Furthermore the T420s dims the sound of the keys when typing, instead of eliminating it like the T410s did. End result: the listener can hear you when you type, just like it happens on any cheap computer.

Lenovo, what have you done? You have upgraded the T410s and made it as good as a regular laptop.

I also experience pretty serious keyboard flex on the left side, and it should be mentioned that the new 16:9 format (supposed to be an upgrade from the 16:10 the T410s had) is a true pain.

IF YOU HAVE A T410S DO NOT UPGRADE

I rate it with one star because I hate having upgraded to this piece of garbage.

Note: I am Windows computer savvy.
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Thinkpad T420S 14" 320GB 4GB
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